Men’s tennis struggles continue in defeat at Oral Roberts

Vince Lovergine, Men's Tennis Reporter

The Daily Eastern News
Dillan Schorfheide | The Daily Eastern News
Freshman Pau Riera executes a backhand return during the Eastern Illinois Fall Invite in Sept. 2019 at Darling Courts.

A 5-0 start to the season is now a distance memory for the Eastern men’s tennis team.

Eastern did not have multiple matches like the last couple weekends, having just one match against Oral Roberts on the road. The Panthers lost 7-0.

Only so many players on the roster can play, and some players stayed back like junior Mike Jansen, who is dealing with the same wrist injury he was dealing with last year. 

During the offseason, Jansen got surgery to repair that injury, but it has come back. Jansen said he was unable to move his wrist in practice and now is going to wait and see if he is able to compete in practice this week and in upcoming matches. 

The Panthers have now suffered their third straight loss and drop to 7-4. A similar losing streak occurred last season for Eastern when the team lost four in a row and followed that up with three straight wins. 

Oral Roberts took home the doubles point, winning at No. 1 and No. 3 doubles. Reigning OVC Player of Week junior Daniel Hernandez and freshman Pau Riera could not seal the deal with a 7-6 loss at the No. 1 doubles position. 

The team of senior Gage Kingsmith and freshman Rohan Srivastava have paired up quite often in recent weeks, but they could not grab a win, falling 6-4 at No. 3 doubles. 

Senior Freddie O’Brien and freshman Christos Kyrillou had their match at No. 2 doubles go unfinished.

Singles action was no different for the Golden Eagles, who had their way with Eastern, sweeping all matches in straight sets. 

Riera kicked things off at No. 5 singles where he lost 6-3, 6-1. Hernandez at No. 2 singles did not find much success either, taking a 6-1, 6-3 defeat. It was a match consisted of mostly freshmen the rest of the way with Kyrillou, Thomas Wallace and Max Pilipovic-Kljajic. 

In fact, Riera, Kyrillou and Pilipovic-Kljajic had the same results dropping their matches 6-1, 6-3. 

O’Brien pushed his second set at No. 1 singles before falling 6-3, 7-5.

“We did not compete well in this match,” head coach Chris Tolson said. “We were close in doubles, unfortunately we could never win the big points. Hopefully we have a good week of practice and next Friday we come out aggressive against Northern Kentucky.”

Eastern should not hit the panic button just yet, as it remains in second place in the OVC standings, only trailing Jacksonville State who is 5-1. It seems to be a three-team race as Belmont slips in at No. 3 with its 3-3 record. 

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