High spirits despite rough start for men’s tennis

Dillan Schorfheide, Men's Tennis Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team has started the spring season with an 0-4 record after facing tough opponents, but the team still has high spirits and high drive.

Eastern has only won three team points so far in their four matches, while giving up 25 to its four opponents.

This week in practice, the team worked a lot on ownership and accountability.

“They were challenged to take charge of their training a bit more and work on leading each other,” coach Samuel Kercheval said.

The ROTC came and did some work with the team while they were practicing Monday, mostly on leadership, teamwork and communication. Kercheval said the help from ROTC was valuable and fun.

“It was a bit eye opening for us to realize how poorly we communicate in some situations and how well in others,” Kercheval said. “It gave everyone the responsibility to step in to a leadership role at one point and it was harder for some than others but an experience everyone needs.”

The team also focused on sticking to patterns more and having better discipline with decisions, especially in doubles. Kercheval said these are nothing new but were at the forefront of the team’s training during the week.

Despite the 0-4 record, Kercheval believes his team is handling the tough start pretty well.

Kercheval said his players knows they have played tough opponents, but they also know they have had some missed opportunities.

“We have talked about the process of getting better, how long it takes to get to where we want to be, how much work and time it takes,” Kercheval said. He added that he told the team they have to have patience as well.

Eastern has two matches this weekend: Friday they host the University of St. Francis in Champaign, Illinois, and Saturday they travel to Normal, Illinois to face Illinois State University.

St. Francis has a six-man roster with five players returning from last year; Friday will be their first match of the spring season. St. Francis also just named their new head coach for the team early Thursday morning. Illinois State has a seven-man roster with five players returning from last year. Illinois State has a 2-3 record to start its spring season.

“We have entered every match with a belief that we can win it and that can never change,” Kercheval said. “The energy and way we competed has been improving, as well, and needs to continue.”

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