Men’s tennis team loses to UIC

Tyler McCluskey, Staff Reporter

The men’s tennis team lost to the University of Illinois-Chicago, 6-1, on Saturday.

The Panthers were swept in the doubles competition, losing all three matches. That was the tone for the rest of the match. Sophomore Grant Reiman and senior Jacob Wendell kept up with their opponents Andy Page and Nate Campanile, but could not come away with a win, losing 7-6.

“We showed that we can compete, that we are able to play with them and that’s what we talked about before starting the singles,” coach Sam Kercheval said. “But competing is not enough and hard to stick to that mindset when you don’t win any of the close ones.”

For the rest of the Panthers in doubles, seniors Robert Skolik and Rui Silva lost to Christopher Cole and Mitch Granger, 6-3. Senior Ryan Henderson and freshman Ognjen Jevtic lost 6-2 to Marcelo Dib and Carl Hedstrom.

“Once we win a couple of the close ones, singles or doubles, then you know you can do it rather than hope you can do it which is where I think we are now,” Kercheval said.

One of the biggest factors from this match was the energy component, Kercheval said.

“We were right there in doubles, right there in most of the singles matches but didn’t keep our energy up throughout,” Kercheval said.

The Flames had a loud home crowd and it was the first time the Panthers had experienced that.

“I think we gave into that too much despite playing well at spots,” Kercheval said.

For singles matches, at the No. 2 spot Henderson continued winning, making it his fifth straight singles win. Henderson defeated Page 7-5, 6-1. Henderson won Ohio Valley Conference Co-Player of the Week last week.

“The most important thing is not to overthink things and keep sticking to what works,” Kercheval said.

Skolik, at the No. 1 spot, took his match to three sets but could not close out, losing 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to Hedstrom. Silva, at the No. 3 spot, also took his match to three sets against Cole but lost 1-6, 7-5, 10-2.

“Rui and Rob both played well against tough opponents, and it was a matter of a few points here and there,” Kercheval said. “Certainly those matches were close and we needed them, but there were other spots we needed to compete better as well.”

Jevtic lost 6-2, 6-4 to Granger. Reiman was defeated by Dib 6-4, 6-1. Sophomore Jared Woodson lost 6-0, 6-0 to Max Cederkall.

Coach Kercheval said that he saw some things that the team worked on in practice came out in this match.

“We expect to see improvement each day through and when it comes to the end of the week test, the match, we expect it to show under pressure,” Kercheval said.

The Panthers will focus on the mental aspect this week in practice.

“The strokes and decisions are improving but we are going to really attack the mental game,” Kercheval said.

The Panthers head to Valparaiso, Indiana to take on Valparaiso Friday at 2:30 p.m.


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