The Eastern men’s tennis team lost its fifth straight match against Northern Illinois Sunday 7-0. The Panthers also played Friday against Northern Kentucky in a much closer affair, but it still resulted in a 4-3 loss. After starting the year at 5-0, Eastern now sits at 7-6.
Things started out well for the Panthers when they claimed the doubles point with seniors Gertjan De Wilder and Gage Kingsmith, earning a 6-2 win at number three doubles. Senior Freddie O’Brien and freshman Christos Kyrillou also earned a doubles win at the No. 2 slot, 6-2.
Singles play saw Eastern come away with some wins with O’Brien picking up a victory in three sets at No. 1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. Freshman Cameron Slabbert got himself a win at No. 6 singles, 6-3, 6-4.
But from then on, Eastern couldn’t seal the deal, suffering four other losses.
Slabbert said if the team cleans up the small slip ups, they will be OK.
“I would say the team is doing very well and the losses have come down to the wire on many occasions with small mistakes being the downfall,” he said.
Slabbert added he is acclimating well to college tennis and he has seen the improvement.
“I’ve felt like I’m constantly growing and maturing, learning what to do to win more matches and what I can improve on, and I’m excited to get back out there next weekend to prove myself again given the opportunity,” he said.
As for the Northern Illinois match, De Wilder and Kingsmith notched the only win for Eastern at No. 3 doubles, 6-2.
Last year and this season De Wilder and Kingsmith have been paired quite often and for De Wilder it feels natural with the success their having.
“Having a good friendship, we understand each other on and off the court,” he said. “The combo of him having big shots and my touch works out great.”
In singles action, the Huskies nabbed the first five points, winning No. 1 through No. 5 with Northern Illinois winning all of those matches in straight sets.
Even though O’Brien went 1-1 on the weekend, he said a turn around needs to come and he continues working on his preparation before every match.
“Been a tough couple of matches for us as a team, so we need to bounce back now,” he said. “I need to try and get my game plan sorted out earlier in the matches as I am getting behind in the first set and it is making it harder for me to get through my matches and win, so if can get that under control I’ll be able to turn these loses into wins.”
Vince Lovergine can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]