Men’s tennis team heads into final home matches

Tyler McCluskey, Staff Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team will have their last two home matches this weekend.

They will be facing Jacksonville State (7-12) on Friday at 11 a.m. in Champaign at the Dodds Tennis Center and then take on Tennessee Tech (9-6) on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Danville Tennis Center.

The matches were moved because of the weather forecast.

The Panthers (3-12) are 1-4 in Ohio Valley Conference play. That lone win came two weeks ago against Murray State when the Panthers won 5-2. The Golden Eagles are undefeated in the OVC with a 5-0 record. The Gamecocks are 3-2 in OVC play.

Senior Robert Skolik has won his last six singles matches. It started on March 12 when he defeated DePaul’s Sten Leusink 6-4, 7-6 (5). He then beat Southern Illinois-Edwardsville’s Tristan Houle 7-5, 6-2. He also defeated Will True of Murray State 6-4, 7-6.

He also came away with a victory against Austin Peay’s Almantas Ozelis 6-4, 7-6 (10-4). Skolik rolled over Belmont’s Robin Demasse 7-5, 6-2. And last week he defeated Tennessee State’s Shashank Nautiyal 6-3, 6-2.

“I think I’ve gotten some luck sneaking a few of the close ones out recently,” Skolik said. “A lot of them could have gone either way.”

Skolik said with only a few remaining matches left, he focuses on being confident and to trust what he has been working on for over the past four years here at Eastern.

The Panthers have faced both Belmont and Tennessee State and lost 4-3, while the Gamecocks and Golden Eagles won against both teams, 6-1.

The Panthers have never won against the Gamecocks, going 0-12 all time. They have lost the last three matches, 5-2. Senior Rui Silva and senior Ryan Henderson are the only ones to have a singles victory against the Gamecocks.

Against Tennessee Tech, the Panthers are 1-15 all time. The only win was in 2014 when the Panthers pulled out a 5-2 victory and a sweep in doubles play. Skolik, Silva, and Henderson both won their respective singles matches. Last year the Panthers were swept, 7-0. The Golden Eagles will take on Southern Illinois-Edwardsville before taking on the Panthers. The Panthers lost to the Cougars, 4-3, in their first OVC matchup this season earlier this year on March 20.

The Panthers last four out of five matches have been very close, losing 4-3. They also lost 4-3 earlier this year to Saint Louis.


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