Men’s tennis team successful at Illinois State

Parker Valentine, Tennis Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team completed its fall invitational schedule over the weekend.

The Panthers competed in the Redbird Invitational at Illinois State on Friday and Saturday.

The Redbird invite consisted of teams from Eastern, Illinois State, Marquette, and Butler.

Senior Trent Reiman and sophomore Freddie O’Brien, two of the Panther’s more consistent players this fall, both earned singles and doubles wins.

O’Brien finished weekend play with a record of 2-1 in singles play.

The sophomore defeated Illinois State senior Andreas Boers (6-2, 7-5) to open tournament play Friday morning. O’Brien earned a single win Saturday as well. He defeated Marquette sophomore Alexander Warstler in a tight second set (6-2, 7-6).

Reiman continued his hot fall campaign as well, against a familiar foe. The senior defeated Warstler in a second set tie break (6-1, 7-6 [5]).

The win gives Reiman at least one victory at all three of the invites the Panthers have competed in this fall.

O’Brien and Reiman continued their productive play as a duo. The pair matched up for two tough wins in doubles play, one on Friday, one Saturday.

On Friday, the duo defeated Marquette freshmen Eddie Griesedieck and Julian Robinson 8-7. On Saturday, they defeated Marquette sophomore Brandon Shanklin and Warster by another 8-7 score.

O’Brien and Reiman were not the only Panthers to gain a win in doubles play. Sophomore Gage Kingsmith and senior Jared Woodson won one of their doubles matches as well. They beat Shanklin and Warster 8-3. The loss was Warster’s fourth of the day to a Panther.

Coach Sam Kercheval was very pleased with the performance of his team after their matches.

“This was the best, most complete weekend we have had all fall. The big thing for us was to come out and execute, and frankly perform better than we had, and we did that,” Kercheval said.

Kercheval said that even in some of the Panthers close losses over the weekend, his athletes played some of the best tennis they have played all fall, although there are still dips to work on.

With the Redbird invite complete, the Panthers fall season is complete. The next time they see the court in competitive action will be in mid-January.

Kercheval says two months is a lot of time in between matches, but he is cautiously optimistic about the future.

“I don’t want to get overly confident yet because it takes a good two months of work here, but I certainly think we’ve taken the steps we need to, but there are a couple more to take. Two months is a lot of time to get better, or worse,” Kercheval said.

The next time the Panthers hit the court will be Jan. 15., when they are in Bloomington, Ind. taking on the Hoosiers.

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