Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 7, 2008

Men’s tennis in high hopes

This year’s men’s tennis team (5-5,1-0) prepares to become better than last year’s team (6-12,1-3).

Second year head coach Chad Eisele sees his team improving from last year. “Our philosophy is consistency and winning the tough matches,” said Eisele. “We have been able to win tie breakers. Our players have shown big improvements overall.” He told his team that no matter how good or bad their opponents are, they have got to stick to their game to be successful.

Recently, the Prairie Fire has dropped the last two matches to Lawrence University and Ripon College. Prior to their last two losses, Knox won three straight games. Knox looks to be contenders this year with the leadership of the four seniors Matthew Stockov, Josh Moten, Sam Gagnard, and Lance Hoffman.

This year, Jared Katchen, a Knox sophomore from Galesburg, will be the number one singles player again for the second straight year. He is already off to a great start winning his last five matches. Currently Katchens stands at 8-2 compared to last year’s 7-12 season. With a year of experience in the collegiate setting, Katchens looks to aim for the number one spot in the Midwest Conference.

Eisele said, “Jared always works hard. He has really worked on moving the ball around and keeping his opponents moving as well.”

Nick Craig, junior from Verona, Wisconsin, has a perfect record of 10-0. “He takes tennis more serious than last year,” said Eisele. For the Prairie Fire he is their #5 singles player. He has been relentless on the court, leaving his opposition with tough losses. “Nick has won seven third set tie-breakers. He has really improved his game since last year,” said Eisele.

Today they will travel up to Wisconsin to take on the Beloit Buccaneers (0-2, 0-0). Next Tuesday, the Prairie Fire will travel to play rival Monmouth, who they have not beaten in past three years.

LaVar Merrell

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