Men’s tennis team finding groove in singles

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter


In singles competition over the last couple years, the Eastern men’s tennis team has seen improvement from its younger and older players.

For sophomore Freddie O’Brien, in his freshman year, he earned four wins at the No. 1 singles position. This year, he has already improved that by six.

Even though O’Brien was out the latter half of the season because of injury, knowing his game helped him through that process. 

“I’ve had the experience from last year, and being able to have chemistry with my teammates, and get to work a little more this year,” O’Brien said. “I’ve believed in myself more in bigger matches this year compared to last year where I would lose a couple matches by a couple points. And I’ve found a way to find those points.”

“I want to be more dominate with my game and I’m working on my volleys and my approach at the net,” O’Brien added.

Another player who has seen growth in wins is sophomore Braden Davis. Last year, Davis notched one win, but compared to this spring season, he has compiled four wins in different singles positions.  

“Getting accustomed to college tennis, the physicality and speed, has been the biggest thing for me,” Davis said. “When I joined a fraternity, it really helped me mentally and helped me realize tennis is just a game. You just got to have fun with it.”

Even for sophomore Gage Kingsmith, it is more of the same. In 2017 Kingsmith got three wins, but this season he has earned four in singles play. 

Now, for these players and the rest of the team, there is one match remaining this Saturday these numbers could change and build confidence for the OVC tournament. 

Eastern coach Sam Kercheval said it is about the little things that will help improve the players’ games, and he has seen that in both O’Brien and Davis.

“(Davis) does the little things really well,” Kercheval said. “Stretching appropriately, guys going to rehab when they have rehab, stuff like that I think that’s helped him a lot, and he’s been a model for that, and that’s translated on the court.”

As for O’Brien, Kercheval said in the beginning of the year he “got on a roll” and had no doubt he could win things. 

“More recently he started slumping with his serve, he embraced it and did extra work on his serves. Freddie matured this year and understood a little more how to handle being the number one.”

Some other Eastern players such as seniors Jared Woodson, Grant and Trent Reiman joined the Eastern men’s tennis team in 2015. All three players have seen improvement in singles play. 

When these players were freshmen they did not play a lot of matches, but as they got older more matches resulted in more wins.

In 2015 Woodson did not earn a win, but in 2016 he notched two wins and in 2017 he climbed to six. This spring he has struggled a little, but still won three matches.

As for the Reiman brothers, in 2015 Grant started with four wins, in 2016 he earned five wins, in 2017 he had four and this year he has three. 

Trent earned one win in 2015, three wins in 2016 and he improved that to six wins last year.  He currently he has three wins.

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