Three games in two days for men’s tennis

Dillan Schorfheide, Men's tennis reporter

Coming off its second win of the season, Eastern’s men’s tennis team will face one of its biggest challenges of the season this weekend.

Eastern lost to Southern Illinois Carbondale Friday and defeated St. Joseph’s College (Indiana) Sunday, improving its record to 2-8, but this weekend Eastern has three matches in two days.

Friday, Eastern will play who head coach Samuel Kercheval called “possibly the strongest team we will play all year”: The University of Wisconsin Badgers.

Wisconsin is 6-2 on the season and 4-0 on their home courts, where the match will be played Friday.  Wisconsin’s team is also ranked No. 31 in the country.  They defeated No. 43 Clemson earlier this season, and lost to No. 24 Cornell by a single point.

Saturday, Eastern has a double header in Chicago.

At 9 a.m., Eastern will play the University of Detroit Mercy as the home team.  Eastern has done well so far this season as the home team, earning a 2-0 home record.

The University of Detroit Mercy is 3-6 this season and is coming off a loss to Toledo University from Feb. 22.  Saturday will mark the first time Eastern has faced Detroit in its history, much like Eastern’s match Sunday with St. Joseph’s College.

Detroit is 0-4 on the road, which is the role they will take in the match against Eastern.

The second game of the double header for Eastern is at 5 p.m. Saturday against Chicago State.

Chicago State is 4-8 so far this season, coming into Saturday with a three-game win streak under its belt.  Chicago State, who has a 2-4 home record, will be the home team against Eastern.

Eastern has a history of competing against Chicago State: Eastern holds a 14-1 series lead and the Panthers have a chance to extend a three-game win streak over Chicago State that dates back to 2012.

Both Chicago State and Detroit will see competition before they play Eastern.  Chicago State and Detroit face each other Friday at 10 a.m.  Then Chicago State will play Elmhurst College Friday at 2 p.m. to finish its double header.

Coach Kercheval has said a tough schedule is a main reason his team has struggled so far this spring season, and facing the No. 31 team in the country and playing a double header the day after does not help.

After Eastern’s matches last weekend, Kercheval said this week will be a huge test for his team’s mental fortitude.

He said facing Wisconsin is already a challenge in itself, but the double header Saturday will test his team’s physical and mental strength.

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