Senior Ricardo Prince prepares for his match against Bucknell University on Tuesday, April 14, 2016, at the Ulrich Varsity Courts. Prince is a part of the No. 2 doubles team at Lehigh, which won its match against Bucknell. (Gaby Morera/B&W Staff)

Jeremy Kochman and Ricardo Prince: the bond between two seniors

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As the Lehigh men’s tennis team came from behind to win 4-3 over Bucknell University Tuesday at the Ulrich Varsity Courts, seniors Ricardo Prince and Jeremy Kochman cheered on their teammates in what will be their last regular season home match of their careers.

Senior Jeremy Kochman stands on the court during his match against Bucknell University on the Ulrich Varsity Courts on Tuesday, April 14, 2016. (Gaby Morera/B&W Staff)

Senior Jeremy Kochman stands on the court during his match against Bucknell University on the Ulrich Varsity Courts on Tuesday, April 14, 2016. Kochman plays in the No. 1 singles flight for Lehigh this season. (Gaby Morera/B&W Staff)

While the Mountain Hawks will return to Bethlehem for the Patriot League Tournament, Tuesday marked a milestone in their careers. For the two close friends, the four-year journey together has been one of their favorite experiences at Lehigh.

“(Prince) is one of my best friends that I’ve had here at Lehigh,” Kochman said. “We always kind of have meetings together about a lot of different things, always bouncing ideas off of each other. We’re always on the same page about things. It’s just a great relationship, and I’ve been really happy to have these four years to spend them with (Prince).”

Those four years have culminated in the two being the team’s only captains, as well as the only seniors. Prince said the journey started his freshman year when the team won the Patriot League Championship behind a successful group of senior leaders and mentors. He said he values this experience despite not playing any matches that year.

“I didn’t get a lot of playing time freshman, sophomore and junior year, and now senior year I get the chance to play doubles, and I’m loving it,” Prince said. “This is definitely one of the most fun seasons I’ve had, but every year’s been great.”

Kochman has risen through the ranks on the team as well, but has contributed in both singles and doubles since his freshman year. Kochman is now the team’s No. 1 singles competitor, posting a 7-7 record thus far. He’s 9-5 in doubles, also competing in the No. 1 flight.

He said he’s happy with the way this year has gone and especially appreciates the relationship he’s built with Prince over the years.

“With (Prince) being a senior, we’ve been together since the beginning,” Kochman said. “We’ve been through a lot, we’ve been through the ups and downs of being a college student athlete. We’re excited, the year’s been going great so far, we tried to really instill a good culture in this team. When we leave, the team’s going to be in a good place.”

Against Bucknell, Prince picked up a win in the No. 2 doubles flight, but Kochman lost his matches in both singles and doubles. Despite those losses, Lehigh coach Wouter Hendrix was glad to see the team win in the seniors’ last home regular season matchup.

“To do this on Senior Day for Jeremy Kochman and Ricardo Prince and their last home match, it’s just special,” Hendrix said. “Those guys have really set the tone and the culture for this group. They don’t take any shortcuts, and they’ve really embraced this blue-collar idea of just working, working hard every day and taking nothing for granted.”

The senior duo will continue leading the team as captains in four straight road duals to end the regular season, beginning with Army West Point on Friday.

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