As the NEWMAC postseason approaches, Emerson’s fall sports teams find themselves in danger of missing out altogether.
While both of Emerson’s soccer teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, the women’s volleyball team is on the cusp of playoff qualification.
The women’s volleyball team has a conference record of 3-6 and is only one game behind Springfield, who is in the final playoff spot.
Emerson suffered a playoff setback against an undefeated MIT team on Tuesday. MIT beat Emerson 3-0, winning each set 26-24, 25-15, and 25-20. MIT’s Abby Bertics led the Engineers to victory with 17 kills.
With standout freshman Grace Tepper returning from her ankle injury, the Lions received a huge boost to their playoff qualifying hopes. Tepper leads the team in kills with 238 despite missing four matches.
Emerson’s most vital game is its final match Saturday against Springfield—that game alone will decide who earns the final playoff spot. Springfield is 4-5 in the NEWMAC but goes into the game against Emerson with a seven-game losing streak.
If Emerson beats Springfield, this would give both teams a record of 4-6. The last spot would be decided by a tiebreaker, which is based on head-to-head success, and Emerson would have the upper hand in this case if they win.
The women’s soccer team just missed qualifying for the playoffs this year after making the quarterfinals last season. The Lions have a conference record of 3-6 and are currently in ninth place in the NEWMAC.
The fatal blow to Emerson’s playoff hopes came Wednesday night, when it lost 3-1 to Clark. After a scoreless first half, two goals from Danielle Black and a goal from Bailey Glenn knocked the Lions out of playoff contention. Junior forward Jess Frost scored a late goal for the Lions, but it was not enough to save their playoff hopes.
Emerson closes out the season against undefeated MIT on Saturday at Rotch Playground and Field.
This was a tough season for the Lions, especially after losing leading scorer Paige Haley to a torn ACL, suffered in a practice. Although they had hope going into their games against Clark and MIT, freshman midfielder Hannah Brewitt recognized that playoff qualification was no easy task.
“We put ourselves in a position where it’s going to be difficult to secure a spot at this point,” Brewitt said on Sunday.
Although the Lions would have the same record as Coast Guard if they upset MIT and Coast Guard loses to Wheaton this weekend, they would lose the tiebreaker because of a 3-2 loss to Coast Guard in overtime earlier this season. They would also fall behind Babson and WPI even if both lose, because both teams would have more points due to ties.
The men’s soccer team was officially eliminated from NEWMAC playoff contention after its 6-1 loss to Wheaton last week. After Gavin Faucette scored the team’s first NEWMAC goal and tied the game at one before halftime, a five-goal second half from Wheaton, spearheaded by a hat trick from senior forward Amara Sesay, gave the Lyons the victory.
Emerson concludes its season Saturday against NEWMAC opponent MIT in a game benefiting Soccer Without Borders, a charity that uses soccer to help improve the lives of refugees and immigrants by developing team building skills and providing educational support. Head coach Bryan Harkin wants to win the game against MIT to end the season on a high note.
“We’re going to continue to keep fighting,” Harkin said. “We’ve been in a lot of games, but we just need a little bit more quality in the final third [and to] take care of some things at the back and hopefully put a complete 90 minutes together.”
While they cannot make the playoffs, the men’s soccer team has the chance to make a large impact on the NEWMAC field in its final game. MIT occupies the final playoff spot, and is only ahead of sixth place Babson by a tie in the standings. If Emerson were to beat MIT and Babson beat Coast Guard, MIT would be eliminated from playoff contention.