Fall training gets underway for tennis team

Parker Valentine, Men's Tennis Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team started training for the 2017 fall season this week.

Under the tutelage of head coach Sam Kercheval, the Panthers look to build on their spring season with seven returning athletes.

Along with seniors Jared Woodson and brothers Trent and Grant Reiman, sophomores Braden Davis, Marko Stefan Janjusic, Gage Kingsmith, and Freddie O’Brien are returning for their second year as Panthers.

The team has two freshmen. Logan Charbonneau and Kaisei Kuroki are the Panthers new athletes for the fall season.

After a couple weeks of training at the Darling Courts, the Panthers will be on the road the weekend of Sept. 15 for their first matches of the fall.

The River Forest Tennis Club will host the Panthers’ fall opener. They host their annual Collegiate invitational Sept. 15-17. The tournament consists of eight teams, all warming up for their 2018 spring seasons.

Along with Eastern, the universities rounding out the event are Marquette, Northern, St. Louis University, Detroit Mercy, UIC, Valparaiso and Youngstown State.

All though fall matchups are official events, the scoring and match set-ups vary greatly from spring play.

Fall invitational matches are set up in tournament style, unlike the simultaneous six match set up of spring play. All schools play each other with randomized slotting, in the closest thing to a friendly match you will get in college tennis.

“Our expectations (for fall) are to keep things simple,” Kercheval said. “I expect for everyone in the program to work hard, be passionate, hold each other accountable for their actions and training . . . we all have to stay humble and hungry no matter what happens.”

With the matches set up the way they are, it will not be unlikely for two Panthers to end up playing each other in the tournament, as they have in past fall seasons.

Two weeks after the River Forest invitational, the Panthers will be back in Charleston for their annual alumni matches at the Darling Courts.

The alumni matchups are a non-competitive event for past and present Panthers to get to know each other and form bonds on the court, while enjoying lunch and conversation afterwards.

The week after their alumni matches, it’s back to work for the Panthers. The will be heading to Indiana for the Valparaiso Fall Invitational.

Like the River Forest invite the event will be in tournament style with multiple other universities in attendance.

After the Valparaiso matchups, the Panthers take a break from fall play. In their final matchup of the fall season they head to rival Illinois State for the ISU Fall invitational the weekend of Nov. 3

Play ends Nov. 5, at which point the Panthers will have a two-month break before spring training begins in January.

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