Men’s tennis team extends losing streak


File Photo

Freddie O’Brien returns a hit during the Eastern men’s tennis match against Belmont in March 2018. Belmont swept Eastern 7-0.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

So far this spring season, the Eastern men’s tennis team has found itself in unfamiliar territory. Two weeks ago, the Panthers were riding high at 6-4, but since then the team struggled.

Eastern has witnessed its longest losing streak of the season which stands at four matches. The Panthers sit at 6-8 on the year, but they still have tied their previous win total from all of last season.

Over the weekend, Eastern faced Dayton on Friday and Northern Kentucky on Saturday, which resulted in two losses for the Panthers.

The Flyers handed Eastern a 4-0 defeat and the Norse took home a 4-1 win.

Dayton took home two of the three matches in doubles action to secure the match’s first point. The Panthers once again saw the doubles tandem of junior Freddie O’Brien and sophomore Logan Charbonneau picking up a 6-0 decision at No. 3 doubles, earning their seventh win.

They also clinched another win against Northern Kentucky at No. 3 doubles to secure their eighth win as a doubles team.

“Starting off strong is huge in doubles because it’s only a set and one or two breaks of serve can easily determine who wins the (doubles) set and the (doubles) point is crucial to winning matches,” Charbonneau said. “It definitely gets things started on the right foot taking the dubs point.”

The Flyers would eventually capture the match winning three points in singles play, leaving three matches unfinished after the Flyers reached the deciding point.

Eastern, on the other hand, started strong against Northern Kentucky notching the doubles point, with sophomores Mike Jansen and Daniel Hernandez winning at No. 2 doubles over Nathan Schwartz and Blaine Carr, 6-4, their seventh on the campaign.

After that, the Panthers spiraled in the wrong direction. To start singles play, junior Gage Kingsmith lost to Carr, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 3 singles. The Norse would go on to win the match after securing the No. 5, No. 6 and No. 2 singles. 

Ultimately, Northern Kentucky earned a win thanks to Nathan Schwartz at No. 2 singles topping Jansen 6-3, 7-6, improving its record to 2-5 as a team.

O’Brien and Hernandez were the only players for Eastern whose matches went unfinished.

Even though Kingsmith has not produced the results he would have liked, he is still seeing light at the end of the tunnel.

“So far, our season has been okay, but everyone along with myself is ready to step it up,” Kingsmith said. “We have huge potential this season and I know we’ll do well. We just need to start recognizing the great team that we are, so we can start taking down these bigger teams, instead of losing closely.”

Kingsmith also added that the team is ready for the challenge in this upcoming part of the schedule.

“We have amazing coaches that believe in us and push us to be better than we are,” Kingsmith said. “These next couple weekends we will all be ready to prove to everyone what kind of team we really are.”

Eastern looks to rebound this weekend with its first home match of the season at the Champaign Dobbs Tennis Center against Milliken University at noon, and the Panthers have a date with North Central College Saturday at three.

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