Panthers seeing growth in conference play

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter


The Eastern men’s tennis team has four matches left this spring season, with three of those matches being conference opponents.

The Panthers have Belmont, Tennessee State and Austin Peay ahead, with Marian being the remaining match.

Last season, Eastern went 0-6 in conference matches, and are currently 0-3 in this spring season.

“We’ve faced some of the best teams in the conference already,” coach Sam Kercheval said. “Not that it gets much easier, but the guys know they need to stay with the process and work we are putting in. If we do what we are capable of doing, control the effort, work hard and play smart, the wins will take care of themselves.”

For freshman Logan Charbonneau, from playing non-conference opponents to conference opponents, he does not change his game, he just tries stay positive.

“Most players would stick to what’s working by now but it’s always good to have an open mind about your game,” Charbonneau said.

The Panthers’ last conference win in conference play was in 2016 against Morehead State with a score of 4-3.

In that match, sophomores, now seniors, Trent and Grant Reiman, earned a doubles point, and sophomore now senior Jared Woodson also notched a doubles point win (with then senior Ryan Henderson).

Grant also won at the No. 3 singles position, and two other Panthers earned wins in singles competition who have graduated or transferred.

For Charbonneau, in conference matches, it is all about being ready.

“I look forward to the intensity and competitiveness in conference matches,” he said.

In the Ohio Valley Conference standings, the Panthers sit in sixth place, with Austin Peay trailing in seventh.

The Governors have lost 11 straight matches, and has just one win all season, standing at 1-15 this spring.

Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech lead the way in the standings, with both teams at 2-0. Belmont Eastern Kentucky, and Tennessee State all have one win each.

Kercheval said as cliché as it sounds, Eastern has to prepare for each match as its own.

“Notes we have on particular teams or players can be great, but also need to be taken with a grain of a salt as a lot can change since the last time you saw them,” he said. “Conference match or not, we have to prepare and execute the game that best suits us.”

The last winning season in conference play for Eastern was back in 2008, where the team finished at 6-3.

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