Men’s tennis to continue long-road stretch

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

The Eastern men’s tennis team rolls on with its long journey of being on the road with two weekend matches upcoming. The workload is not too grueling this time around, after the Panthers played four matches last weekend. Eastern is set to face Illinois State Friday at 6 p.m. and University of Illinois at Chicago on Sunday at 1 p.m.

In the past, the Redbirds have been ruthless against the Panthers, winning six matches since at least 2007, including a 6-1 win over Eastern last season.

However, the tide has turned this season where the Panthers (5-0) are off to their hottest start since 1983, where they won their first eight matches.

Illinois State stands at 1-2 on the year, recently defeating Chicago State 7-0 Jan. 18.

University of Illinois-Chicago is another team off to a slow start, standing winless at 0-3, with its most recent loss coming against DePaul 7-0.

Senior Freddie O’Brien currently leads No. 1 singles players with a 2-1 record, but juniors Logan Charbonneau and Mike Jansen have also picked up wins at No. 1.

O’Brien and Jansen also have two wins as a tandem in doubles at the No. 1 slot, where Hernandez and freshman Christos Kyrillou secured the other No. 1 doubles victory.

Junior Daniel Hernandez and freshman Pau Riera lead the pack in terms of wins with three singles wins apiece. Hernandez is 3-0 with wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles. Riera on the other hand is 3-1 on the year with wins at No. 2 and No. 4 singles.

Senior Braden Davis also saw some action over the big weekend, hitting the court for the first time in a while, and the result was a positive one. Davis said he couldn’t be more thrilled.

“It was great to be back out there again and to get the win with my parents and grandma there, felt awesome,” he said. “I think it’s incredible how far this team has progressed in comparison to my previous years here because we are already 5-0 a week into the year where my freshman year, we only had five wins the entire season. So, I’m excited to see how far we are able to go this year because I certainly think this is the best team I’ve been on since coming to Eastern.”

Another senior in Gage Kingsmith is accustomed to winning a whole lot in his time at Eastern, but right now, the feeling hits differently.

“It means a lot to me and all of us to be seeing this kind of success,” he said. “It shows that all of our hard work is paying off. We have a great team culture, with belief in each other and tons of confidence. We’ll look to continue to improve throughout the rest of the season to continue our early success.”


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