Going for the trifecta cup

by Beacon Staff • March 22, 2006

Last season, the men's tennis team made its first East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) appearance in the program's history, following its second consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.,Emerson's most winning team over the past two years has been quietly building a dynasty at the Boston Athletic Club in South Boston.

Last season, the men's tennis team made its first East Coast Athletic Conference (ECAC) appearance in the program's history, following its second consecutive Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.

Head coach Keith Warner was also awarded his second straight GNAC coach of the year award.

"Its just an award that says you haven't pissed anyone off," Warner said. "I just like the fact that my players are getting recognized."

Emerson's top player, senior Michael Huddleston, has already received an assortment of accolades, including 2004 and 2005 GNAC Men's Player of the Year, and 2003 GNAC Rookie of the Year.

To emphasize how dominant Huddleston has been in his sport, he also was awarded the 2005 Emerson College Student Athlete of the Year Award during his junior season.

"I've coached players that have had more talent [than Huddleston], but I have never coached a player as smart," Warner said.

Warner is adamant about how serious his team is.

"We recruit the cream [of the crop]," he said. "Our players are not weekend athletes. These kids come in ranked in their respective states and countries."

Aman Kapur, a sophomore from Lima, Peru, will take the number two spot behind Huddleston for the second year in a row. Kapur captured the 2005 GNAC Rookie of the Year award last season.

"He's a very astute tennis player; he was ranked in Peru and played on clay. [He's] very coachable and multi-dimensional," Warner said. "He did not lose a doubles or singles match last year."

After finding talent south of the border, Warner decided to look north to Montreal.

There he found Oliver Boyer Masutti, a sophomore attending Berklee College of Music and the son of a tennis teaching professional, who is now the team's number three player.

Since Berklee does not have athletic teams, any student at that school may play a sport at Emerson because of an agreement between the two colleges.

"[Masutti] has a very high tennis IQ, one of the highest on the team," Warner said. "I don't remember him losing a singles or doubles match last year."

According to Masutti, the team is on a quest this season to win its third GNAC title.

"One of the main reasons I want to win this year is for Mike [Huddleston], because he's a senior," said Masutti. "And I don't see why we can't do it."

Huddleston attributes the team's success to the serious attitude of the players and their strong relationships on and off the court.

"We are a very tight group," Huddleston said. "The camaraderie is really good, and we are all like a big family."

Warner is hesitant about forecasting a third conference title for his team before his squad has yet to have played a regular season match.

"We just take it one match at a time," he said. "We open up with Wentworth on Thursday [March 23], and that's all I'm concerned with."

Overall, Warner is pleased with his team's selflessness.

"What makes us a successful program is that everyone has only one agenda, and that agenda is winning," he said. "We have been blessed with having great student athletes, who are also wonderful people, and that is the recipe for success.",Jay O'Connell