Road ahead not easy for Eastern

Dillan Schorfheide, Tennis Reporter

After two season opening losses to Saint Louis University and Ball State, Eastern’s men’s tennis team has two matches Saturday against Indiana University and University of Illinois at Chicago.

Eastern’s two losses this year were both by big margins, 6-1 to SLU and 7-0 to Ball State.

Eastern head coach Sam Kercheval said he was pleased with how his team performed in their first two matches, despite the losses.

He said the team had not faced an opponent since October, so there were some nerves in the matches.

Kercheval talked about the things his team has been working on in practice this week as preparation for their weekend matches against Indiana University and University of Illinois at Chicago.

He said the focus this week has been handling pace, especially with doubles matches.

“Ball State had some power we hadn’t really seen much of and we know that Indiana in particular will have some big hitters as well, so we are trying to work on that,” Kercheval said.

Kercheval said the doubles point in college tennis is very important, so his team needs to be able to play all styles, not just when they are comfortable.

The team has also focused a lot on bringing energy as a team throughout the match.  This is the biggest thing the team has realized, Kercheval said.

“Dual matches are different than the individual tournaments we play in the fall,” Kercheval said.  “We realized success will be hard to come by if we don’t work together more, our focus and effort giving energy has to be there regardless of what the score is.”

IU is 2-0 so far in the spring season, and UIC is 0-2.  UIC has five of its players from last year still on their roster, while IU has nine of its players returning from last year; Eastern has four players from last year’s roster playing this year.

Eastern plays in Bloomington, Ind. against IU at 10 a.m. Saturday, then stay there to play UIC at 6 p.m.

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