Lindenwood tops men’s tennis team over weekend

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

After winning two of three matches coming into the weekend, the Eastern men’s tennis team did not get the results they wanted this past weekend. 

The Panthers lost the first of two weekend matches against Illinois–Chicago, dropping the match 6-1 on Saturday at the Hinsdale Tennis Center.

Sophomore Freddie O’Brien continued his solid season, scoring the lone point for Eastern playing at No. 1 singles. O’Brien needed three sets to defeat sophomore Niko Wasilewicz 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.

This spring so far, O’Brien is 8-3 at the No. 1 singles, leading his teams in wins.

For the first time this spring, O’Brien teamed with freshman Logan Charbonneau at No. 3 doubles winning their match 6-3. The Flames claimed the doubles point by winning at No. 1 and No. 2 doubles.

“I just followed Freddie’s lead and was happy I got to play with him,” Charbonneau said. “He’s the kind of guy you can really trust on the court with you.”

Charbonneau pushed his No. 3 singles match to three sets against junior Marcelo Dib before losing in a tie-break 6-3, 3-6, 1-0.

For Charbonneau he sits at 1-3 at the No. 3 singles position, and 1-9 overall.

Senior Trent Reiman also pushed his match to three sets at No. 5 singles before falling to graduate student Marco Nanni 3-6, 6-1, 6-0. 

After Saturday, Eastern fell to 3-9 on the season, while the Flames earned its second consecutive win.

As for the match on Sunday, the Panthers had a quick turnaround, after hosting Lindenwood Sunday at the Dodds Tennis Center in Champaign.

Eastern went on to drop its second straight match to the Lions, 6-1.

Lindenwood won the opening point taking the No. 1 and No. 2 doubles matches. Eastern was leading 4-3 at No. 3 doubles when the point was clinched. O’Brien and Charbonneau were playing at No. 3 doubles with the advantage over sophomore Hector Horcajada and junior Theo Butaeye.

Charbonneau secured the Panthers’ lone point of the match winning at No. 3 singles in straight sets. Charbonneau defeated junior Michele Gaspari 6-3, 6-2. 

“My opponent had strong game all around but had a tendency to get tight when I’d pressure the net. I think being unpredictable was the best thing I had going that match,” he said.

Charbonneau improved his singles record at the No. 3 position at 2-3, and 2-9 overall.

Two singles matches were decided on a third set tie-break with both matches falling in favor of Lindenwood. Senior Grant Reiman lost in the third set at No. 2 singles to senior Naoufal El Idrisse.  Eastern sophomore Braden Davis fell in the third set at No. 6 singles to freshman Guillaume Teste.

Even though the Panthers lost two matches, Eastern coach Sam Kercheval said players played well this weekend while continuing to be tough.

“Freddie and Logan are both consistently finding ways to compete every time out,” Kercheval said. “Logan played well and is tough enough that he is always in it. Freddie didn’t actually play that well but was in there for both, and just found a way.”

Kercheval also credited Grant, especially his singles match on Sunday finding a way to make his match competitive even though he was sick.

The Panthers drop to 3-10 on the season, but with conference matches and outdoor tennis right around the corner, Kercheval said the team is ready.

“We’re excited to get to outdoor tennis,” he said. “When we start conference matches a week from Friday, weather permitting, we will be outside. Outdoors will suit us a bit better and our style. But we have to improve regardless of the conditions.”

Eastern heads on the road for two more road matches against Illinois State Friday, and Rose-Hulman Saturday.

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