Men’s tennis team gains experience during struggles


Justin Brown

Freshman Gage Kingsmith returns a serve during a practice Tuesday, Sept. 6. Kingsmith currently sports a 1-13 individual record and 5-9 in doubles play with different teammates.

Dillan Schorfheide, Men's Tennis Reporter

Eastern’s mens tennis team had lost three matches in a row going into spring break, and the team is coming out of spring break with an extended losing streak to seven games.

Coach Samuel Kercheval said a big reason the team did not have success over the break is all of the players on the team do not play their best at the same time.

“Everyone is getting out there and being competitive at times, just not as consistently as we need yet,” he said.

The team’s first match was March 10 against Dayton.  Dayton swept Eastern 7-0, tying the series record between the teams to three wins apiece. 

Kercheval said juniors Grant Reiman and Jared Woodson, along with freshman Braden Davis, battled well.  Reiman kept his singles match close, losing 6-4 in both sets.  Woodson and Davis both played competitive first sets, losing 7-6 and 7-5, respectively.

Eastern’s match against Wright State March 11 ended with the same score as the match against Dayton: 7-0.

Kercheval said in that match, Reiman, Trent Reiman and Woodson were the most competitive players.

Both twins forced their opponents to a third set in their singles matches.  Grant lost his match after winning the second set, 6-4, 6-7, 1-0; Trent also lost his match after winning the second set, 5-7, 6-3, 1-0.

Woodson also came close in the two sets he lost, 6-3, 6-4.

The duo of freshman Gage Kingsmith and Grant Reiman won the only match for Eastern against Wright State, beating their opponents 7-5 in a duals match.

Eastern’s first match of OVC Conference play came on Friday against Jacksonville State.

The Gamecocks defeated Eastern 6-1.  The solo point for Eastern came from freshman Marko Stefan Janjusic in the No. 2 position, after he beat his opponent in three sets, 6-2, 3-6, 11-9.

Janjusic continues to hold the best singles record for Eastern as he is now 7-9 on the year. 

The other victory for Eastern came from Trent Reiman and freshman Ferdinand Ammer as they defeated their dual opponents 7-5.

Eastern remains winless against the Gamecocks; the loss Friday gave the Gamecocks a 14-0 series lead over the Panthers.

Eastern’s last match of spring break came against Tennessee Tech on Saturday, and Eastern lost 7-0.

The 7-0 loss against Tennessee Tech marked the third sweep Eastern suffered over the break, as well as the eighth time Eastern has been swept this season.

Before the match, the Golden Eagles held a 16-1 record over Eastern.

Tennessee Tech dominated Eastern Saturday, not letting any Eastern player get more than three points in a single set and winning every singles match in straight sets.

The dual team of redshirt senior Jacob Wendell and Woodson were the closest to winning for Eastern, losing their dual match 5-3 before the match was unfinished.

Despite the losses, the team faced different challenges that gave the players experience.

“All four matches we played over the break were unique for us,” Kercheval said.  “It really covered a lot of scenarios and forced us to approach each match thoughtfully and with good focus.”

Kercheval also said the match against Jacksonville State was a big match for the team because the team realized where it was at.

Eastern will play its third OVC match of the season Friday against Eastern Kentucky, and it is also the first match Eastern will host on its home courts this season.

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