Men’s tennis team returning home for match with Lindenwood

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter


The Eastern Men’s tennis team added a road match to its schedule Saturday against University of Illinois — Chicago and will return to Darling Courts this weekend against Lindenwood.

Due to new banners being installed at Darling Courts, there is a possibility Eastern will play in Champaign and Eastern coach Sam Kercheval said the team will announce on Twitter if a change occurs.

The Panthers are coming off a weekend split against North Central College and Southern Utah, which has them standing at 3-8 on the year.

Eastern has more wins on the road at this point in the season then they did all last year.

Through 11 games to this point, Eastern has won two games on the road, already beating out its 1-15 record a year ago.

Consistency has been the problem for the Flames this season.

University of Illinois — Chicago lost its first four matches of the season, before notching its first win against Illinois State 7-0.

Before University of Illinois — Chicago takes on Eastern, they have a match with Chicago State at one, then hit the court at 6 p.m. against the Panthers.

The Flames currently are winless at home this year.

This spring has been difficult for the flames, earning just one win in singles play by sophomore Johan Hedstrom which came at the No. 3 singles position.

Hedstrom has been the Flames best player this year with a 2-6 singles record.

If the Panthers play at Darling Courts Sunday, the Panthers have come out with wins in their first home matches the past two years and this could mark another win in the books for Eastern if it defeats Lindenwood Sunday.

This season, a large part of Eastern’s success has come from sophomore Freddie O’Brien.

O’Brien leads the team in wins this spring, posting a 7-2 record at the No.1 singles position. Also, sophomore Braden Davis and senior Grant Reiman both have earned three wins a piece this spring.

Eastern coach Sam Kercheval noted earlier in the season the team’s doubles play needed improvement, and lately, it’s shown.

“There is a little different pressure having to play as the favorite team versus from playing behind and playing as the underdogs,” Kercheval said. “Doubles is still something were working on and will spend the next two days working on it before the weekend.”

In the Panthers last two wins, they have earned the point in doubles play, winning all three double matches.

For O’Brien and Trent Reiman, they lead Eastern with three doubles wins, while the teams of sophomore Gage Kingsmith and senior Jared Woodson, freshman Logan Charbonneau and senior Grant Reiman all have two wins and just one loss.

Lindenwood comes into the match with a 3-3 record, but in the spring, the Lions are 1-2.

Lindenwood has lost its last two road matches at the hands of Oklahoma Baptist and Drury University.

The Lions are 1-2 on the road, with its only win coming against William Jewel College.

“We’re going to have to come and play Sunday,” Kercheval said. “Lindenwood is one of the toughest D-I opponents this year. This game is almost called a ‘trap game’ where you know the name but you don’t know who your battling and we just got to prepare the way we usually do and be ready to go.”

Senior Andrei Masin is the standout for Lindenwood, posting a 10-1 overall record and a 2-0 record this spring in the No. 1 singles position.

Senior Naoufal El Idrissi and junior Antoine Barraud both have three wins a piece this spring, in a variety of different singles positions.

After these two weekend matches, Eastern is two matches away from conference play getting underway.

Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]