Men’s tennis team short-handed this weekend


File Photo

Eastern junior Freddie O’Brien returns a ball in a match last spring at the Darling Courts. O’Brien and Eastern have two matches upcoming this weekend.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

The injury bug has hit the Eastern men’s tennis team, as sophomore Mike Jansen and junior Braden Davis both will not suit up for the Panthers.

Jansen has been dealing with a nagging wrist injury since he was back in his home country of the Netherlands last year, but a little over month ago, it started bothering him again, which has resulted in a different injury.

Besides all that, Jansen is still optimistic for his teammates this weekend.

I’m out for the entire week and will not play this weekend in order to be fully healthy for the important matches and conference coming up,” Jansen said. “I still except that we will go 2-0 this weekend with the team.”

Davis broke his finger last week during practice and he is expected to miss four-to-six weeks.

Davis said he broke his left pointer finger from doing a reflex volley drill at the net and the ball caught the tip of his finger and broke his middle knuckle.

“The big thing is with my expected recovery time; I’ll be back in time for conference and to focus on that with keeping the right mindset while I am recovering,” Davis said.

While Eastern deals with players on the shelf, the Panthers focus on snapping a four-game losing streak with two more matches looming this weekend.

Eastern takes on Milliken University in a “home” match at the Dodds Tennis Center in Champaign on Friday at noon, and they face North Central College Saturday at 3 p.m.

This is the first time the Panthers will face Milliken in several years, but Eastern did have a date with North Central College last year and won with ease, 7-0.

Despite this losing streak, sophomore Logan Charbonneau thinks the past will help with the future.

“I feel like our mentality going into this week is to use it as a stepping stone for getting better and breaking through the rut we found ourselves in last weekend,” Charbonneau said.

The Panthers have yet to play at Darling Courts at Eastern this spring, but they hold a 4-8 record on the road and 2-0 at neutral matches.

Milliken comes into the match 2-2 this spring, winners of their last two matches. In those matches, they’ve won by 9-0.

For the Cardinals of North Central College, they have been hot as anyone. After losing their first match of the spring season, North Central reeled off seven straight wins, two of those coming on the road.

If Eastern can pull out a win in one of the matches, it will surpass its win total from last season, which was six.

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