Men’s tennis team ready to begin season

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

Last season, the Eastern Men’s Tennis team finished 6-17 and clinched its first conference berth since 2014.

The Panthers won a big conference match against Tennessee State 4-3 to get to that point but lost in their first game against Jacksonville State 4-0.

Not to mention, that was Eastern’s first conference win in almost two years after topping Morehead State in 2016.

Despite having a losing record, it was a much-improved season for Eastern to say the least. The Panthers upped their win total once again after winning five matches in 2017, and they also saw their win total increase in road matches as well. Eastern won three this past year, compared to just one in 2017.

Eastern has seen this uptick in terms of improvements because most of the returning players continue to get better and better.

Junior Freddie O’Brien was the main man at No. 1 singles this past spring compiling a 11-9 record and 13-15 overall. His freshman season he had a 4-5 record but had to sit out the rest of season due to injury.

Junior Braden Davis has also seen his numbers rise. Davis finished his freshman campaign with one win but did not get much time on the court. This past spring he earned four wins and five overall.

Junior Gage Kingsmith was also a part of seeing his numbers improve. Kingsmith in his freshman season racked up three wins, but in his sophomore season, he reached four wins and six wins overall.

Also, sophomore Logan Charbonneau returns for his second season after earning three wins in the spring, and five overall.

And for Charbonneau, he cannot wait to get started.

“I’m excited for the new season and all I expect is to keep growing in terms of tennis IQ and abilities. We have four new guys this year, so I don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “I’m hoping to make it further into the postseason this year with the team.”

Another big reason why the Panthers were finding their groove was finding the right combinations in doubles play that clicked, and they found that.

Trent Reiman and O’Brien won seven matches in the spring as a double tandem leading the team.  Grant Reiman and Charbonneau piled up six wins as a team, while Kingsmith and Jared Woodson won five matches.

The Panthers this upcoming season will be without the Reiman brothers and Jared Woodson, who graduated.

Eastern also will not have Kaisei Kuroki and Marko Stefan Janjusic returning this year.

But, the Panthers have added four new players to his roster. The newcomers include two college transfers and two freshmen and some good rankings. 

Daniel Hernandez played last season as a freshman at NCAA Division I school Longwood University in Virginia. Hernandez finished with a 15-16 overall singles record including a 10-11 record in spring play. Most of his action came at No. 6 singles posting a 9-6 record.  He won eight of his final 11 matches helping the team reach the Big South Conference semifinals.  He was ranked as high as No. 217 in men’s open rankings in Spain.

Mike Remko Johan Jansen played his freshman year of tennis at Tilburg University in the Netherlands. He was slotted in the top 20 in the Netherlands in Juniors 18 and under. Jansen also played club matches at the second highest league in the nation.

Luka Knieling and Lucas Meneguim will join the team as freshman this season. Knieling ranked number two in the Bavarian Tennis Association for Juniors 18 and under during the summer of 2018, while Meneguim ranked as high as No. 44 in U16 play in Brazil and was as high as No. 70 in men’s open rankings.

Eastern will open the fall season September 14-16 in the River Forest College Invite, while the spring season starts January 20. 

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