While the men’s tennis team fell to Virginia in the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament semifinals, the Hurricanes still have a chance to make an NCAA Tournament run.
The entire team has been successful, but seniors Eric Hechtman, John Hoyes and Tim Krebs will graduate with extra satisfaction.
For these three athletes, tennis at Miami was not easy. Hoyes said his first two seasons were forgettable and hard on his psyche.
All three agree that tennis was anything but fun during early on, but this quickly turned around when Head Coach Mario Rincon was hired.
For Hoyes, his first meeting with Rincon is something he will always remember.
“I could feel a connection right away,” Hoyes said. “I knew Coach Rincon would be taking us places.”
Two years later, Rincon has the team in the hunt for a national championship, as Hechtman, Hoyes and Krebs have soared to new heights.
The three have played marvelously this year, turning in a number of dominating performances during the regular season. Hechtman finished 22-8 in singles play, while Hoyes and Krebs were 21-7 and 23-7, respectively.
They attribute their elevated performances to mental growth. The three hope to finish a memorable season on a winning note, by serving up an ace at nationals.
“That would be the ultimate vindication, as, two years ago, under Coach [Bryan] Getz, none of the players could have imagined being in this position,” Hechtman said.
Each player plans on pursuing a professional tennis career for at least a year, but before that hope to leave behind a legacy at UM.
Hechtman said he would like to be known as “a fighter on and off the court.” Hoyes wants to be remembered as “someone who would take one for the team.” Krebs said he would like acknowledgment as “one of the players who helped to turn things around.”
It has been a bumpy ride for Hechtman, Hoyes and Krebs, but it would be validated by a national championship.
“When we walk into stadiums, people just stare at us,” Krebs said. “They get jealous that we are from UM. When I walk into a stadium, I am proud to have the U across my chest.”
Pravin Patel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.