Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 30, 2008

Katchen reaches conference semis as men’s tennis season ends

The men’s tennis team finished up their 2008 campaign at the MWC Singles and Doubles Championships in Madison, Wis. The highlights of the weekend were some encouraging play towards the program’s future and the final matches of a few graduating seniors.

Sophomore Jared Katchen reached the semi-finals of the number one singles tournament. Katchen, who was the team’s only underclassman this year, defeated his play-in and quarterfinal opponents in straight-sets before falling 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to Lawrence University’s Ryan Dunn, the tournament’s eventual champion.

Katchen and senior Lance Hoffman also won a play-in match against Illinois College, 7-6 (5-0), 4-6, 6-2, to reach the quarterfinals in the #1 doubles tournament before losing 6-4, 6-1 to a Monmouth duo.

“This certainly proves that that Jared can compete with the top guys in the conference,” said head coach Chad Eisele. “I’m very excited about him playing next year.”

However, the weekend also marked the end of many of the team leader’s collegiate tennis careers. Some of the finales were bittersweet.

Both Hoffman and senior Matthew Stockov lost their singles contests in straight-sets and were later defeated in consolation matches.

On the doubles side, Stockov and junior Nick Craig lost their quarterfinal #3 doubles match. Seniors Sam Gagnard and Josh Moten lost in the quarters of the #2 doubles as well after winning a play-in.

But Moten and Gagnard, the team’s captains, did win consolation championships in the #3 and #4 singles tournament respectively.

“It was great for those guys to win their last collegiate singles matches,” Eisele said. “I know that must have felt good.”

As for next year Katchen, Craig, and junior Jim Michaux who spent this year abroad, will hopefully be joined by some new recruits said Eisele, who is in his first year coaching the tennis team. He also serves as the director of athletics.

“I definitely enjoyed coaching these guys, the seniors will definitely be missed,” he said. “But I’m also looking forward to next year.”

Chris Mouzakitis

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