Men’s tennis team sees good chemistry this season

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

So far, the Eastern men’s tennis team has played in the River Forest College Invite and had its annual alumni match during its fall season.

This weekend, the Panthers continue the fall schedule with the Eastern Illinois Fall Invite on Friday and Saturday at Darling Courts.

Coming into the season, Eastern welcomed four new players to the current roster, an interim Director of Men’s and Women’s Tennis, as well as an assistant coach.

It came by surprise when previous coach Sam Kercheval left the program for a job at Notre Dame earlier this school year.

Looking forward to a new year and improvements from last year, it seems the Panthers are poised to have a big year. The coaches and players are starting to click with one another and striving for a similar goal.

Assistant coach Michael Munguia says the players are “gelling” well together and he wants that positive to play a factor all season.

“It’s really a family aspect,” Munguia said. “With the new players coming in along with myself, I wasn’t able to tell who the younger and older guys were which is a good atmosphere to have for men’s program and inviting to the new guys.”

Munguia also said the goal this season is to improve that record and be over .500 and come up with some big conference wins, while also exceeding in the classroom.

For returning players Freddie O’Brien, Gage Kingsmith, Braden Davis and Logan Charbonneau it has been quite a difference compared to last year but for O’Brien he can see those changes already.

“We’ve gotten along really well,” O’Brien said. “We’ve got quite good depth this year where our two, three and four positions were iffy but now it seems we have a strong two and three which will help our team a lot. 

O’Brien said he feels like the coaches have set a lot of “high standard goals,” which he said has been great for the team.

 “We want to aim high, so it’s been good,” O’Brien said. 

That same feeling has hit junior Braden Davis. 

He has noticed the new culture of the team has changed since a year ago.

“Chris (Tolson) wants us to make that big jump, Davis said. “When your setting such high expectations even if we don’t reach them we’re still going to do far better if we’re just trying to get a little better. Tennis is such a game of margins and improve a little bit will make those big strides.”

Eastern’s spring schedule does not start until late January, the Panthers wrap up the fall schedule with the Illinois State Fall Invite Nov. 2 and 4. 

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