7 players returning to roster for men’s tennis team

Parker Valentine, Tennis Reporter


Continuity is the name of the game for the Panthers, as seven of their nine athletes are returning after playing for Eastern last year. This year’s team consists of four sophomores, three seniors and two freshmen.

Men’s coach Sam Kercheval is returning as well; he will be in his third year with the Panthers.

The Panthers begin training for the fall preseason next week.

Eastern struggled in the spring last season with its young team filled with freshmen. The Panthers finished the spring season with a record of 5-19.

They did finish the season on a high note though, winning their last two matches.

“Last year was certainly a learning curve as we had so many freshmen who had to step right in and contribute to the lineup right away,” Kercheval said. “I was proud of how they handled the situations they were thrown in to.”

This year’s Panther team is led by three seniors. Jared Woodson and brothers Trent and Grant Reiman are gearing up for their swan song year as Panthers.

The two freshmen are Logan Charbonneau from New Albany, Indiana and Kaisei Kuroki from Tokyo. These two have already caught the attention of coach Kercheval.

“Logan and Kaisei both demonstrated they were guys of great character,” Kercheval said. They both showed great passion for the game while also having a hunger to continue to develop in a competitive team environment. With both of them, we saw right away they have strong character and have a lot to contribute to the development of our program.”

Sophomores Braden Davis, Marko Janjusic, Gage Kingsmith, Freddie O’Brien, fill out the Panthers’ roster.

Janjusic was the most productive Panther last spring season, finishing with a singles record of 11-13 after playing in all 24 of the Panther’s matches.

Fall play does not begin for another three weeks. When play begins the Panthers will head to the River Forest Tennis Club for a weekend competition against seven other teams.

Along with Eastern, the tournament will consist of Marquette, NIU, St. Louis University, Detroit Mercy, UIC, Valparaiso, and Youngstown State. Play begins Sept. 15.

The Panthers play three other meets this fall. The EIU Alumni match will be their only home meet for the season. The annual event at the Darling Courts consists of matches with Eastern alumni taking on current players.

The event is an opportunity for Eastern’s younger players to gain perspective into what life is like after graduation. The alumni matches are also a chance for current players to form relationships with past Panthers.

About a week after their alumni matches, the Panthers will head to Valparaiso for their fall invitational.

The Panthers finish off their fall season the weekend of Nov. 3 at rival Illinois State, for the Redbird’s fall invitational.

Parker Valentine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]