The Eastern men’s tennis team took away a victory and a loss over the weekend against Ohio Valley Conference opponents Murray State and Austin Peay.
The match against Murray State (2-13) was on Friday, and the Panthers (3-10) were victorious and secured their first conference win, winning 5-2.
“It’s great to get a win. We’ve been close for weeks and for us to close out matches that we got ahead in was key,” coach Sam Kercheval said. “It was a great team effort. I liked the energy we brought and kept throughout the match.”
There were some close matches in the singles play. Senior Rui Silva, at the No.4 spot had his match against Srdjan Trosic go to three sets, Silva ended up victorious, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“Rui’s win was big because he came back from a set down to win it,” Kercheval said. “It’s great for him to get that one back.”
Silva faced a freshman, and Kercheval said that Silva played the role of the senior well by remaining calm and focused and not letting the momentum swings effect him during the match.
Senior Robert Skolik defeated Will True 6-4, 7-6. Sophomore Grant Reiman beat David Schrott 6-2, 6-1. Sophomore Trent Reiman won over Daivid Hess 6-1, 6-2. Freshman Ognjen Jevtic was defeated 6-2, 7-5 by Javier Villar. Senior Ryan Henderson had his match go to three sets but fell to Marcel Ueltzhoeffer 6-7, 6-3, 7-5.
“Ryan’s match was very tough, and it was close the entire way,” Kercheval said. “A couple points either way and the match could have been a lot different but credit to Marcel for hitting some big shots late in the match.”
For doubles, Silva and Skolik beat Schrott and Ueltzhoeffer 6-3. The Reiman brothers won 7-5 over True and Villar. Henderson and Jevtic went unfinished.
“Everything tightened up on the scoreboard but the twins maintained their lead to win it,” Kercheval said. “That was a big start for building momentum going into singles.”
Kercheval summed up the victory by saying the team came up big and took care of business playing with confidence. But the next day the Panthers took on another OVC opponent in another close match but could not come away with the victory.
On Saturday, the Panthers took a close loss to Austin Peay, 4-3. After the loss the Panthers OVC record sits at 1-2.
The Panthers were swept in doubles play.
Skolik and Silva were defeated 5-2 by Manuel Montenegro and Aaron Jumonville. Henderson and sophomore Jared Woodson lost 6-0 against Almantas Ozelis and Aleh Drobysh. The Reiman brothers lost to Chad Woodham and Alex Kartsonis 6-3.
“After the doubles the word I gave the guys was ‘battle.’ We knew that we had the ability to get wins on every court, and we showed that with every score,” Kercheval said. “But we also knew nothing would come easily and that was also true.”
At the No. 1 spot, Henderson led the way taking his match to three sets, defeating Jumonville 3-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-2). Skolik defeated Ozelis 6-4, 7-6 (10-4). Jevtic beat James Mitchell 7-5, 6-2.
Trent Reiman lost to Woodham in three sets, 1-6, 7-6 (10-5) and 6-0. Grant Reiman also took his match to three sets but fell 6-7 (3-100), 6-3, 6-2 to Montenegro. Silva lost to Drobysh 6-4, 7-6 (10-5).
“Every match was tight,” Kercheval said. “We won five first sets, had leads in all second sets. But no lead was safe and it was indeed the battle we expected.”
Kercheval said that the loss was a tough one because it was so close and it looked like the team could of ran away with the victory.
“That’s the unique part about tennis is there is no clock so until the last point is won or lost you are in the match and have to stay focused,” Kercheval said.
The Panthers next match will be against Belmont at the Darling Courts at 2 p.m. on Friday April 1. They take on Tennessee State at 10 a.m. Saturday April 2.
Tyler McCluskey can be reached at 581-2812 [email protected]