Men’s tennis team to face DePaul Saturday

Tyler McCluskey, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team will head to Chicago to face 3-11 DePaul this weekend. This will be the Panthers (2-7) last non-conference away game before they start to play at home and begin OVC play.

The Panthers are coming off a 6-1 loss to Marquette. Senior Ryan Henderson was the only Panther to get the win. He defeated Alvaro Verdu 6-3, 7-6 (7).  But there were three matches that went to three sets. Senior Robert Skolik lost to Daniel Fernandez 7-6 (9), 2-6, 1-0 (6). Freshman Ognjen Jevtic was defeated 3-6, 6-2, 6-1 by Andre Romanello. Sophomore Grant Reiman lost 5-7, 6-1, 6-4 to Mackenzie Stearns.

“Ryan is feeling good about his game and has great confidence in himself right now,” coach Sam Kercheval said. “He has done a good job figuring out each opponent as well which is important.”

This weekend is just another match on the schedule Kercheval said.

“Every match is important in it’s own way to give us the opportunity to show progress from week to week,” said Kercheval.

The Panthers are currently on a four-game losing streak and hope to turn things around. Kercheval said that streaks do not matter in tennis since it is a “rollercoaster” going from point to point and set to set. He also said that what has happened these past weeks have no bearing on how the team will play this week and wants everyone to compete well in the match.

“We know that we have been close and the guys have been pretty good about understanding where we are at,” Kercheval said. “We have been there at some spots each match but waiting for everyone to step up at the same time so that the pressure isn’t on just a couple guys each time to win their match.”

Competing has been the theme in practice this week for the team. Kercheval said that the team has been playing a lot of doubles and singles sets working on doing the right things under pressure.

“The past couple weeks we have shown that we can play with anyone we are going to see,” Kercheval said. “But we need to start winning those matches and that starts this weekend at DePaul.”

The Panthers and the Blue Demons saw a slice of action against each other earlier in the fall at the Valparaiso Invitational. Skolik was defeated 7-5, 6-2 by Sten Leusink. Paul John beat Henderson 6-4, 6-1 and also defeated senior Rui Silva 6-1, 6-2. Tim Corwin won over Jevtic 6-1, 6-1.Jevtic did win over Conor O’Meara 3-6, 7-6 (4).

“What we know is that DePaul will be very similar to the past matches so we know we will be right in there and capable of getting the win,” Kercheval said. “But we are an entirely different team now and I am sure they are too so we need to come out and compete.”

The Panthers are 0-3 all-time against the Blue Demons. The last meeting between the two was in 2005 where the Panthers were swept. Both teams have faced University of Illinois-Chicago so far this season. The Panthers lost 6-1 while the Blue Demons defeated the Flames 6-1.

The match will be in Chicago at 2:15 p.m.


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