Men’s tennis team to face Saint Louis

Tyler McCluskey, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team lost its season opener to Ball State last weekend, but will have a chance to bounce when it heads to Saint Louis to face the Billikens Saturday.

The Panthers have defeated the Billikens the past two times they met. In the season opener in 2014, the last time the two teams faced off, the Panthers won 4-3 thanks to the wins from the doubles matches. Ryan Henderson and Robert Skolik picked up singles wins in their matches when they were sophomores. Henderson and senior Rui Silva won their doubles match 6-3, while Silva lost in his singles match 6-2, 6-5 also as a sophomore. This will be coach Sam Kercheval’s second match of this season and his first time getting a look at SLU.

“We expect a tough, close match where we will have to have everyone up and down the lineup compete,” Kercheval said. “We need to compete well and not over think the things we have been working on.”

Henderson and Skolik, now seniors, look to continue their success against the Billikens. Skolik defeated now-senior SLU player Luis Miguel Flores 6-1, 6-1. Henderson won 6-4, 6-1 against Joe Flanagan.

Silva was the only Panther to win a singles match against Ball State winning in three sets 5-7, 6-4, 11-9 over Ball State’s Nemanja Guzina. This was the Panther’s first opponent since October. Henderson brought his match to three sets, the only other one to do so, but nonetheless lost 2-6, 7-6, 10-4. All other Panthers lost in straight sets. Freshman Ognjen Jevtic lost 6-2, 6-1. Sophomore Grant Reiman 6-2, 7-5, and sophomore Trent Reiman lost 6-4, 6-1. Skolik lost 6-1, 6-4.

“We competed well but just weren’t up to their level last weekend,” said Kercheval. “We learned we have a lot of work to do.”

The Panthers did not get a win in the doubles matches, getting swept in the three matches. The duo of Silva and Skolik were the closest, but lost 7-6. Henderson and Jevtic lost 6-3, and the Reiman brothers lost 6-3.

The doubles point will make things easier for the Panthers to gain momentum. Kercheval said that the team has been working on first serve percentages and getting more returns in play.

“Once we get a few matches under our belt we will make some quick strides just because we will feel more comfortable competing,” Kercheval said.

SLU is coming off a 6-1 win in their final match of the fall season against Lindenwood-Belleville in which SLU’s only loss was by default for not having a sixth player. Every player won their match in straight sets. David Farragut won over LU-B’s Rory Cunliffe 6-2, 6-3, John Nogalski beat Basile de Raemy 6-2, 6-1, Paarth Dodhiawala defeated Dennis Arnold 6-1, 6-4, Charlie Parry over Lucas Roman 7-5, 6-1, Miguel Flores won 6-3, 6-2 over Trai Thorney.

SLU will be coming off the ITA Central Region Championships and will be facing Olivet Nazarene the day before they face the Panthers. The match is at the St. Clair Tennis Club in O’Fallon, Illinois.


Tyler McCluskey can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]