strongAngus Dickerson, Beacon Correspondent/strong
strongEvan Sporer, Beacon Staff/strong
When singles play began Saturday afternoon in the J.B. Carr Tennis Bubble at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Emerson was still in striking distance of Simmons College.
In the one spot, Savannah Mosser was picking up her play right where she’d left off in doubles competiton, efficiently taking the first set 6-4 from Simmons’ Allison Bodek.
After losing the second set 4-6, Mosser jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the third. Coming within a match point of defeating Simmons’ top player, she was unable to close out her opponent.
Mosser wasn’t the only Lion to drop a decision on the day, as conference powerhouse Simmons won the match 6-3.
Several miscues cost Mosser her lead, her smile, and eventually the match, as she dropped the tiebreaker (8-10). Mosser was frustrated with the loss.
“I think there were a lot of points I gave away,” she said afterward.
While Emerson showed flashes of inspired play, particularly from top players Lacey Russell and Mosser, at the end of the day, the score really wasn’t close. Mosser’s late collapse in a winnable singles match and simply too little firepower outside the top two spots put victory out of reach for the Lions. Emerson eventually lost to the Simmons Sharks and is now 2-3 on the season and 2-1 in the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference.
On paper, it was a decisive loss, but the day was not without its highlights for the Lions.
Emerson played tough early. Russell and Mosser managed an impressive doubles win in the one spot, defeating Bodek and Margaret Teague of Simmons 8-6.
There was early tension about some of the line judgments made by their opponents, but the pair showed great chemistry overcoming their frustration to earn a hard-fought victory. The win was the first indication that the Lions top players could hold their own against those of the first place Sharks.
With that victory, the team began singles play trailing only 1-2. However, that would be as close as Emerson got to Simmons.
As Mosser struggled late, Russell, playing in the two spot, was locked in a battle with her opponent Sabrina Salmela on the adjacent court. Unlike her teammate, Russell was able to come away with the victory, taking the deciding third set to win the match 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. With the defeats piling up on other courts, however, it quickly became apparent that Emerson would not be going home victorious.
The last match to conclude the day was between Emerson captain Gina Varamo and Rachel Sweeney in the sixth singles spot. Varamo usually does not play singles, but was filling in for teammate Alicia Pellegrin who was unable to play due to a shoulder injury. The overall win was out of reach at this point, but with all of their respective teammates watching and cheering, Varamo quickly dispatched the Shark 6-4, 6-2 to end Emerson’s day on a positive note.
Varamo said she was happy with her performance, and not terribly disappointed with her team’s loss.
“We just want to have fun,” the captain said.
Former coach John Nestel had a different perspective.
“Before I wouldn’t have said we had the woman power to beat Simmons,” Nestel said after the match. “We can beat them for sure.”
Following the match, Nestel resigned from his post on Wednesday after both Emerson and Nestel acknowledged it wasn’t a good match for both parties.
“Overall,” said Nestel, “it wasn’t the right fit for myself and the program.”