Eastern men split weekend matches


Dillan Schorfheide

Eastern’s Freddie O’Brien serves a ball in the Panthers’ 6-1 loss to Jacksonville State on March 22 at the Darling Courts. Eastern beat Alabama 4-3 on Sunday.

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

In previous years, winning on the road was all too difficult for the Eastern men’s tennis team, but this spring season, that is not the case.

The Panthers are coming off another weekend on the road which saw a spilt in their matches.

Eastern did not have much luck against Tennessee Tech in a road conference match, where the Panthers fell 7-0.

Despite the Golden Eagles’ now 5-14 record, they still found success against a much-improved Eastern team.

But, there was more bad news for the Panthers. Sophomore Mike Jansen had to retire from his No. 2 singles match to an injury in his wrist that was bothering him earlier this season.

“I have a cyst in my wrist which disables me to play anymore,” Jansen said. “I couldn’t hit a forehand anymore, and my serve hurt as well. Therefore, I’m out of singles for now and trying to play doubles.”

Jansen also said he’ll be going to get an MRI tomorrow, but he plans on being out for another couple weeks.

As Jansen sits, another injured player, junior Braden Davis, is closing in on a return from a broken index finger, and he said he hopes this past weekend and looking towards the future will help.

“I’m just hoping to make an impact whether it’s in singles or doubles,” Davis said. “I’m hoping that through all the hard work I’ve been doing it will be able to help my team over the hump on a certain day and help prove that all that effort was worth it.”

Looking ahead to its match against Alabama A&M, the results this time around are a little better.

Eastern rallied behind sophomore Daniel Hernandez, who clinched the final point of the match at No. 3 singles defeating Fermin Ruiz Gespo, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Let’s not overshadow the production the rest of the team gave, including Hernandez and junior Gage Kingsmith winning No. 2 doubles 7-5, and the tandem of junior Freddie O’Brien and sophomore Logan Charbonneau taking the 6-3 win at No. 3 doubles to notch the doubles point.

Charbonneau also won another singles match at No. 5 singles, 6-3 and 6-2.

The biggest success for Charbonneau this weekend was his team.

“I’d say having the guys around me being loud and having solid energy was the biggest contribution for me,” he said. “Got me focused.”

O’Brien wins another match at No. 1 singles 6-4, 6-3, his 12th on the spring season.

Interim director of tennis Chris Tolson loved his team’s effort this weekend.

“We unfortunately came up short at Tennessee Tech, but it was great to see the guys come back, learn from mistakes we made the day before and we pulled out a huge win,” Tolson said. “I love the attitude and effort from the guys; we are learning how to compete like champions, fighting to chase down every shot and becoming a team where we will not back down and give away matches. I am excited to see how we finish out the year.”

With the 4-3 win over Alabama A&M, it gives Eastern an 11-12 record. And those 11 wins are two shy from tying its highest mark since 2008.

Eastern is now 7-11 on the road, which is most they have had since 2008 when they had 6. Put this into perspective as well: Eastern has more road wins this year then they did the last three years combined.

Eastern once again will be on the road for three matches this upcoming week, one of them being a conference match with Belmont Friday at 3 p.m., Tennessee State at 9 a.m. Saturday and Martin Methodist College Saturday at 4:30.

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