Men’s tennis starts season with losses

Dillan Schorfheide, Men's Tennis Reporter


Eastern’s men’s tennis team dropped its first two matches of the spring season, after losing to Saint Louis University 6-1 on Friday and being shut out 7-0 by Ball State Sunday.

Coach Samuel Kercheval said there were some nerves going into Friday’s match, and the team has not played against another team since October.

Eastern only recorded one team point Friday, losing five singles matches and the doubles match.  Freshman Marko Stefan Janjusic, in the No. 6 spot for Eastern, recorded the win after defeating SLU’s Justin Nogalski in three sets: 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“Overall, we had opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on and guys know that and understand where we need to improve,” Kercheval said.

Eastern freshmen Freddie O’Brien and Gage Kingsmith won their doubles match debut by defeating Charlie Parry and John Nogalski of SLU 6-4.

Kingsmith and junior Jared Woodson lost in three set singles matches, both of which Kercheval said could have gone either way.

The young Eastern team then faced a tough and experienced Ball State team Sunday; Ball State returned all six starters from last year, all of whom Kercheval said got a lot better since then.

The two bright spots for Eastern came from O’Brien and junior Grant Reiman.

Reiman forced a third set against his opponent Nemanja Guzina, and O’Brien played against Ball State’s best player, Lucas Anderson who defeated the No. 49 player in the country the day before, and played a tough first set against him.

Reiman lost his match 6-2, 4-6, 1-0, and O’Brien lost 7-5, 6-1.

“It was tough for us to get going at most spots because they hit at a pace we haven’t seen yet this year.  I was really proud of how the guys carried themselves and their self-talk on court,” Kercheval said.  “We focus on that a lot and overall they were pretty positive.  We had to try changing our game and doing things that we normaly wouldn’t do so I like our approach to it overall.”

Overall, Kercheval said the weekend was tough but that’s great.  He said his team saw a lot of things over the weekend and knows where it needs to improve.

Because of the two losses, Kercheval said his team is motivated to work hard this week, especially because his team will play at Indiana University and host University of Illinois-Chicago this Saturday; two tough teams.

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