Men’s tennis team back to OVC action


Dillan Schorfheide

Eastern’s Gertjan de Wilder returns a ball in a match against Jacksonvile State March 22 at the Darling Courts. Eastern plays Tennessee Tech and Alabama A&M this weekend.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

After its first home conference match of the spring season, the Eastern men’s tennis team hits the road once again for two more matches. The Panthers will battle the Golden Eagles of Tennessee Tech Saturday at 12 p.m. and Alabama A&M Sunday at 1 p.m.

Eastern has been in a little bit of a rut in its last couple matches, winning one of four matches after taking victories in its first three matches of March.

That should not stop the Panthers from what they’ve accomplished so far this season. They have 10 wins, their most since 2009, and many players have increased their win totals from last spring.

Junior Freddie O’Brien is 11-6 this spring at No. 1 singles and 13-10 overall, compared to 13-15 overall and 11 wins last spring season.

Sophomore Logan Charbonneau has notched nine victories during the spring, compared to three last spring. Overall, this year, Charbonneau stands at 11-15, he was 5-23 last campaign.

Despite having a broken finger, junior Braden Davis has a 7-6 record this spring. He did have four last year, but Davis is near a return, which could mean he could see those numbers improve.

Davis said it’s hard being out and not helping the team, but throughout this process, he’s as ready as ever.

“I’ve been working on making sure my cardio and endurance is still match-ready even with this long break,” Davis said. “I’ve had to make sure I’m ready to play if called upon, and it’s been a big mental obstacle of having to be out, but I’ve been OK because I know that God has a plan for everyone and know that small setbacks make for big comebacks and just thankful that my injury wasn’t more serious than it could have been.”

For the new comers, sophomores Mike Jansen and Daniel Hernandez have 18 wins combined in different singles positions, and junior Gretjan De Wilder has six wins in his first season in the Panther blue. 

Another veteran on the team, junior Gage Kingsmith, has enjoyed a nice season as well, sitting at 8-13 overall this season, as opposed to 6-21 last season.

The doubles point will be crucial for the Panthers to get to earn their first Ohio Valley Conference match Saturday.

After Kingsmith and De Wilder’s match at No. 1 doubles at Jacksonville State, Kingsmith said he likes his chances going forward. 

“We played aggressively at the net, which gave us an opportunity to win a lot of points,” he said. “We need to take that same aggressive mindset into the next match to hopefully come out on top.”

Looking into the double’s statistics, Charbonneau and O’Brien have been the most lethal tandem on the Panther squad so far with 12 doubles wins, while Jansen and Hernandez are behind them with eight, and De Wilder and Kingsmith have five.

Tennessee Tech comes into the match Saturday at 4-12, and as losers of its last four matches. The Golden Eagles are 0-1 at home. 

Senior Wenceslao Albin leads the way for the Golden Eagles with seven singles wins in different slots, and sophomore Gonzalo Garcia trails him with six. 

On other hand, Alabama A&M has a little more success at 7-6 this spring, winning five in a row after a 2-7 start.

The Bulldogs are also 0-1 at home.

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