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The Carletonian

Senior Spotlight: Hurley and Mei Lead Men’s Tennis to Successful Start of Spring

<an style="vertical-align: baseline">The Carleton men’s tennis team have been in full swing since the start of winter term, training for their upcoming season, including a training trip to their annual destination of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. Their hard work has paid off, as they have compiled an overall record of 14-2 (3-0 MIAC) so far this season. Their only losses have come against Coe College, ranked 39th in the nation in Division III, and University of Nebraska-Kearney, a nationally ranked Division II school.

As spring term starts, the men’s team will shift to playing MIAC opponents, where they aim to capture the MIAC regular season title for the first time in program history and contend at nationals for the 4th time in program history, first since their last appearance in 2010 when they won the MIAC playoff title.

Co-captains Kevin Mei from Ann Arbor, MI, and Kevin Hurley from Novi, MI, are the only two fourth-years on the team, and they look forward to creating a lasting impact in their last season. Both Kevins agree that it is extremely difficult to pinpoint an exact memory that has been their favorite, but both concurred that one of their favorite memories were the training trips that have occurred over the years, including visits to Switzerland, Hawaii and Hilton Head.

“Stephan (head coach) has a great sense of adventure, and this is reflected in all the activities and trips that we do as a team,” said Hurley. For Mei, he wants to enjoy his last season and prepare the team for the future. “This year’s team has been one of the strongest squads that I’ve been a part of during my time here, so aiming for good results is a big priority for the team right now,” Mei stated.

Meanwhile, Hurley aims to keep his undefeated doubles streak alive. “This season, my partner Xander Zuczek and I have been undefeated since the fall ITA tournament and my biggest individual goal is to keep that streak alive,” Hurley said. “As a team, the goal is always to win the MIAC. It’s a very tough goal, but it’s the next step and what we need to push for.

For both Kevins, tennis has played a large role in their lives. Both started playing at an early age and have played for their entire lives. Both even plan on playing tennis after graduation from college. For Hurley, tennis has taught him mental fortitude, as it requires focus and positivity each time you play.

However, for Mei, the individual aspect of tennis has been a blessing in disguise for him. “The nature of the game has you competing out there by yourself, with the exception of doubles, for most of the time, you learn how to deal with added responsibility that comes with that. Battling through moments of adversity on a more individualistic level has given me plenty of applicable life lessons and opportunities for personal growth,” described Mei.

With only two seniors on the roster, the team will be bringing back a strong roster next year with a healthy balance between underclassmen and upperclassmen. Both Kevins believe that the team will continue to excel next year, as a solid base, paired with strong recruits, will allow the team to flourish.When asked to pinpoint their favorite quote or event from their coach, Stephan Zweifel, both Kevins concluded that because there are so many moments that it is hard to pinpoint just one. For Mei, the one thing that has been entertaining has been Coach Zweifel’s enthusiasm for the team’s Instagram page.

“Sometimes, we think he goes a little crazy with it – like when he insists that we take a picture at a rest stop in Iowa in the freezing cold, or trying to snag an Insta right before a match,” recalls Mei. “It’s all in good fun though, and it definitely helps us remember to not take ourselves too seriously and have fun.”

For Hurley, one of the funniest moments, though not so funny in the moment, was with Coach Zweifel in Switzerland. “We had just gotten off a train and had to walk to where we were spending the night. Unbeknownst to us, we had a grueling 45 minute hike straight up a mountain with all of our luggage. Stefan will always joke about that hike as being character building even though we were less than pleased at the time,” recounts Hurley. “There are countless things that Stefan says during practice, on the road, and otherwise, that keep us laughing.

At the end of the day, it’s the culture and adventures he creates for us that allows us all to get along, have a laugh, and enjoy being on the team.”This season, the Men’s Tennis team has one home match left against St. Olaf on April 27th, 2018.

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