Last season, St. Louis got the better of the Eastern men’s tennis team 6-1, but this time around the Panthers fell just short Friday, losing 4-3 to St. Louis.
Sophomore Freddie O’Brien continued his dominance during the spring schedule, winning his fifth straight match.
O’Brien also helped his team earn another win at the No. 1 doubles position with senior partner Trent Reiman, but it was not enough for Eastern to close the victory.
During O’Brien’s No. 1 singles match, O’Brien saved three match points and picked up a win over David Ferragut, a two-time first team All-Atlantic 10 Conference performer. O’Brien took the win in three sets 4-6, 7-6 (6), 1-0 (3) to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Eastern coach Sam Kercheval said O’Brien knew what to expect coming into the match, and it was a good win.
“Freddie was at another level against SLU,” he said. “He again was mentally tough, but more so physical with his game. It was fun to watch and he earned a good win against the reigning Atlantic 10 conference players of the year.”
O’Brien and Trent Reiman knocked off the Nogaski brothers, Justin and John 6-4, in the No. 1 doubles position. The Billikins won at No. 2 with David Ferragut and Oscar Pachon defeating freshman Logan Charbonneau and senior Jared Woodson 6-4. At doubles No. 3 Kenji Yanaba and Juan Calero took the win against senior Grant Reiman and sophomore Gage Kingsmith 6-3 to take the remaining two points.
The Panthers scored another point on the first win of the spring season by freshman Kaisei Kuroki. Kuroki came back to win in three sets against Oscar Pachon playing at No. 3 singles with a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win.
Kercheval was pleased to see Kuroki earn a win, and said it is a step in the right direction.
“I was pleased to see Kaisei come back and fight his way to a win even though it wasn’t his best tennis,” Kercheval said. “He really got into the match in the second set and found a way. This was a good step for his confidence to get his first win in a dual setting.”
Overall, Kuroki is 3-11 in singles play and stands at 1-0 playing at the No. 3 singles position.
In the other singles matches, John Nogalski topped Charbonneau 6-3, 6-0, Justin Nogalski defeated Grant Reiman 6-3, 6-2. Kenji Yanaba got the better of Trent Reiman, winning 7-6, 6-1. Kingsmith collected the final point with a default win at No. 6 singles.
While the Panthers ride a three-game losing streak, Kercheval said the team needs to keep working and looking for everyone to step up and play well at the same time.
Eastern fell to 1-6 on the season and will play at Valparaiso next Friday.
Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]