The Eastern men’s tennis team won one match out of two this weekend at the Darling Courts to finish out the regular season.
The Panthers defeated Morehead State Friday afternoon, 4-3, to keep their Ohio Valley Conference tournament hopes alive bringing their conference record to 3-5 on the season.
Eastern had to defeat Eastern Kentucky on Saturday to qualify for the tournament but the Panthers were defeated, 6-1.
Against Morehead State, Eastern failed to take the doubles point once again but battled back in singles matches to eventually win the match.
In the No. 1 doubles match, sophomores Ritchie Kruunenberg and Gabriel Ruiz defeated junior Robert Skolik and freshman Preston Touliatos, 8-6. The duo ended the season 5-10, which led the Panthers for the season.
In the No. 2 doubles match, Golden Eagle freshman Sabastian Penaloza and junior Nick Mercer defeated Eastern juniors Rui Silva and Ryan Henderson, 8-2.
Singles matches gave the Panthers the win with all four of their points coming from those matches. Henderson, Touliatos, Silva and freshman Grant Reiman all won their respective matches.
The points were scored in the No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and No. 6 matches. Three matches went to a tiebreaker, in which two of those resulted in Panther wins.
Skolik took the loss to Kruunenberg 6-4, 7-6 in No. 1 singles. Henderson defeated Penaloza 6-2, 6-4 in No. 2 singles. Touliatos defeated Ruiz 2-6, 6-3, 6-3 in No. 3 singles. Silva defeated Mercer in No. 4 singles.
Senior David Constantinescu took the loss 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in No. 5 singles, and Reiman clinched the victory for the Panthers over Enrique Samudio 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in the No. 6 singles matches to finish out singles matches.
Knowing they had to beat Eastern Kentucky to qualify for the OVC tournament was added on pressure for the Panthers.
The Colonels came in with a 15-7 record, which included an 8-1 conference record.
Before the match, Constantinescu was honored for his four-year career as a Panther.
Eastern Kentucky swept the doubles matches ending the doubles season for the Panthers at just 8-36 overall.
Before the match, Stark stated that the Colonels’ strength was depth and it showed with tough matches all the way through singles matches.
Touliatos was the only Panther to win a singles match against the Colonels with a victory over senior Daridge Saidi 6-3, 6-2.
The Panthers ended the season 4-15 with a 3-6 conference record and will miss the OVC tournament after making the tournament in the 2014 season.
Eastern coach Eric Stark said earlier this week the Panthers have competed in matches all year but never end up on the right side of the scorecard.
“We have competed extremely well and in a handful of points from being 5-2 range but we have been in every match, we just haven’t closed out matches,” Stark said.
Cody Delmendo can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]