Men’s tennis hosts first home match of season


Justin Brown

Freshman Marko Stefan Janjusic returns the ball during a preseason practice at Darling Tennis Courts. Janjusic and teammate Braden Davis share the top records for the Panthers at 2-1.

Dillan Schorfheide, Men's Tennis Reporter

After its first matches of the year at Valparaiso, the Eastern Men’s tennis team is hosting an invitational this weekend at the Darling Courts. The matches will be played on Friday and Saturday.

Eastern is scheduled to play McKendree University at the Darling Courts Friday at noon and Chicago State University at 10 a.m. and University of Missouri Saint Louis at 2 p.m Saturday.

The Saturday matches between McKendree and UMSL begin at 10 a.m. with McKendree and Chicago State starting at 2 p.m. at Charleston High School.

Eastern had a successful weekend at Valparaiso, but there were some things coach Sam Kercheval had the team work to fix in practice.

“Right after Valpo we met, we talked about what do we want to do. A couple of the things stood out,” Kercheval said. “We wanted to get in better shape, compete better and that starts with being more physical. So we added some additional conditioning, both mentally and physically to be able to compete better throughout long weekends or long matches.”

He said the team, especially the freshmen, has realized how much harder they have to work after playing their first matches.

Junior Jared Woodson and Freshman Marko Stefan Janjusic, who performed well at Valparaiso, discussed the team and how they are approaching this weekend.

“I think the most important thing for us is to think about is how much work we are putting in,” Woodson said. “Honestly, I think we’re looking past Valpo. Coach has incorporated some more conditioning for us and so I think now we are going to feel in better physical shape, because that really … hurt us a little bit at Valpo. But now that we are going to be more confident in our physical shape, we’ll be even more prepared mentally to do better this weekend. So I think we’re looking forward to being more confident overall.”

Woodson also said that he is looking forward to the competition this weekend, as well as playing in front of family, friends and fans he knows are coming to watch.

Janjusic is also looking forward to this weekend.

“I’m actually very, very pumped,” Janjusic said. “I’m looking forward for the weekend, and I think that all of us are looking forward to it, the entire team. We are all very excited to play.”

He also said with this weekend being only his second match of college, he hopes to gain new experiences and looks forward to playing against people from other schools. The Freshman also hopes to improve his match game and see how far he can go.

Kercheval said Valparaiso was a good start for his team, and is coming into this weekend with the same goals. He wants his team to work hard, gain experience and improve.

While Kercheval is not looking forward to playing any team specifically, he is looking forward to the challenge they all will present.

“It is very cliché, I mean you want to take it one game at a time, but each team’s gonna bring a different challenge,” Kercheval said. “I mean Chicago State’s D-1, the other two are D-2. Chicago State] is a very good team, we saw them two weeks ago.”

Kercheval said he knows very little about Mckendree and UMSL, so the team will have to go out there and figure out their opponents.

Kercheval added that not everyone will play in every match, but they may switch things up as they go. He said this weekend is for him to see what the team lineup will look like.

The invitational is set up so every team plays each other one time, in a structure called a “hidden dual”. This means there are no scores, and the schools play each other as teams. For each team match, there will be three doubles matches and six singles matches played with each lasting one set.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]