Sports / The Prairie Fire / April 10, 2008

Fire gets pounced by rival, future still bright

The men’s tennis team (6-6, 1-1) took a hard loss from rival Monmouth College (9-4, 1-1) but the men still have their heads up. Yesterday the Prairie Fire went into a hostile setting as they took on Monmouth to lose 8-1.

The only bright spot for Knox was sophomore Jared Katchens, the number one singles player.

“I started the match a little shaky in singles,” said Katchens as he lost his first set 1-6. He won the second set and the tiebreaker 6-2 and 10-8. “I was able to find my groove and had a huge boost of confidence,” said Katchens.

“I am going more for my shots this year. I am more aggressive than I was last year,” said Katchens. So far this year, Katchens (10-2) is staying more on top of his competition than he did last year.

“I am hitting my angles much better than last year and believe that is one of things why my performance has increased,” he said.

Nick Craig, a junior from Verona, was the number five singles player. He faced his first loss of the year in a 6-3, 2-6, 11-9 loss. He was able to take his opponent Ben Morrow into a tiebreaker. Senior Lance Hoffman was shutout 6-0 in both sets to Kevin Kamenjarin. Senior Josh Moten lost his matches 6-2 and 6-1 to Sam Graf.

In doubles, the Prairie Fire was outplayed as they lost 8-2, 8-5, 8-5 in all three matches.

“It was pretty rough out there,” said Katchens. “They move together a little better than we did.”

As head coach Eisele said, “If we play our game, no one can beat us.”

This was not the issue yesterday in Monmouth. After the game, the team was in a silent, defeated mood. “We really wanted to win this rivalry game,” said Katchens.

The Prairie Fire will rest on Thursday. Knox is looking past this loss and into this weekend as they take on Lake Forest College on Saturday, then come home to face St. Norbert College on Sunday. Come Monday, they’ll be back on the road to face Eureka College.

The next three back-to-back-to-back games will be a test for the Prairie Fire. “We should be able to win if we play consistently,” said Katchens.

LaVar Merrell

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