Men’s tennis set for two matches this weekend

Tyler McCluskey, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team will have two conference matches this weekend. The Panthers (3-10) are 1-2 in Ohio Valley Conference and will face Belmont (5-8) on Friday at 2 p.m. on the Darling Courts and then face Tennessee State (7-10) on Saturday at 10 a.m.

The Panthers are coming off a split last weekend, winning against Murray State 5-2 and taking a loss to Austin Peay 4-3.

Senior Robert Skolik won his fourth consecutive match with the most recent one coming against Austin Peay’s Almantas Ozelis 6-4, 7-6 (10-4).

“Rob has done a great job the past couple weeks,” coach Sam Kercheval said. “He has been right there with everyone all year and now he has cleared a bit of a hurdle and started getting the wins.”

Kercheval said Skolik’s forehand has stood out the last couple of weeks and is his weapon. He also said that Skolik can improve and can get more comfortable with his game.

Belmont, 1-3 in OVC play, has lost seven of the last eight matches. The Panthers have only faced the Bruins only three times and are winless in those matches. The Panthers lost last years match 6-1 with sophomore Grant Reiman getting the only win over Geoff Tulloch 6-1, 6-4. The Bruins are 1-3 on the road this season.

Tennessee State is 0-4 in OVC play and 3-5 on the road. The Panthers have never lost to Tennessee State, having a perfect record of 17-0. The Panthers won last year 5-1. Senior Rui Silva lost 6-2, 6-1 to Kyle Burton. The Tigers have had only four match points against the Panthers in those 17 matches.

The Panthers know the history, but the past does not affect the team, Kercheval said.

“We know the history but our team this year is very different from last year,” Kercheval said. “So what has happened in the past has no bearing on this coming weekend.”

Kercheval said that the team could only control how they compete and have to play well to have a chance at winning.


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