Summers returns to court for spring season

Dillan Schorfheide, Women’s Tennis Reporter

Senior women’s tennis player Grace Summers has worked hard during the four years she has been at Eastern, and she has cemented herself as a leader on the team.

“As any senior has, Grace has been through a lot and that experience is definitely important,” said coach Samuel Kercheval.

But during the fall season, she was not with the team for matches or practices for personal reasons she did not want to expand upon. Kercheval, who is now helping the women’s team as well, said Summers decided after the last spring season that she would not play in the fall.

But during the fall, it was mutually agreed upon that she would join the team during winter break.

Having one of the leaders on a team not present for an entire semester season is a potentially dangerous situation, especially for a young team where three freshmen play prominent parts.

Lois Alexis was named the women’s coach Nov. 1. But just as quickly as she was hired, she was gone. She had to take a leave of absence to finalize a new work visa.

This left the team without a coach for the time being, but Kercheval stepped up again, with the help of former Charleston high school tennis coach Kevin Hussey.

But despite the miniature coaching carousel and the young team, Summers and her team are ready for this spring season, and she is ready to be a leader.

“I just try to set a good example and be encouraging and positive,” she said.

Kercheval said her leadership and experience help her handle things that come up and help others as well.

“With a team that is more underclassmen than upperclassmen, that experience will certainly be helpful to the whole team,” he said.

And even though the team lost both opening matches to Illinois State and Illinois, Summers got some victories.

She defeated her Redbird counterpart in three sets 6-7, 6-1, 6-2. Then against Illinois, she and her dual partner, sophomore Stella Cliffe, defeated their Illini counterparts who were ranked No. 45 in the country for doubles.

Eastern lost to Illinois State 3-4 and was shut out 7-0 by Illinois. And now that she is back with the team, she said that the personal issues were taken care of and that everything is good.

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