Saints sweep Lions in three

by Beacon Staff • January 28, 2009

volleyball team played its inaugural game against Emmanuel College. Although the Saints swept the Lions in three games by scores of 30-18, 30-7, and 30-17, the feeling coming from the locker room augured the start of something positive.,A new sport made its debut for Emerson College on Thursday, Jan. 22, when the men's volleyball team played its inaugural game against Emmanuel College. Although the Saints swept the Lions in three games by scores of 30-18, 30-7, and 30-17, the feeling coming from the locker room augured the start of something positive.

"It was a good showing," said Head Coach Craig LeTourneau, who also helms Emerson's women's team. "It was a nice starting point. You get to see right away what you need to work on."

Freshman captain Steve Selnick said it was good for the squad to finally experience a real game.

"It's hard to go from an easy going practice to a hostile gym," the broadcast journalism major said. "We were able to really feel each other out on the court."

Jesse Hangen, a junior music business major from Berklee College of Music and a newcomer to the game of volleyball, was surprised by the amount of people in attendance. He was appreciative of the Emerson fans who made the trip.

"There were actually more people that I expected to be at our game," he said. "We had a few of the members of the girls' volleyball team come out and support us even though it was an away game. It was cool to have them there cheering us on even though the game wasn't going to well."

Hangen is able to play with Emerson through the Pro Arts Consortium, an association of six universities in Boston that are allowed to participate in Emerson Athletics.

One would have expected nerves to be an issue, but the Lions were more anxious than anything else.

"Of course there were some first game jitters, but I've played volleyball in high school," sophomore film major Dean Dimitruk said. "It was definitely nerves mixed with excitement."

Hangen said his teammates helped him be confident while playing.

"I felt pretty good about how much progress we made in a week-and-a-half of practice," he said. "When I stepped on the court it just felt good to know everyone on my team had my back and we were all working together for a goal."

The Saints proved to be a tough opening test for the Lions. Last year Emmanuel finished second in the first Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament for men's volleyball and showed Emerson just how much work they still needed, exposing holes in Emerson's frontline defense.

"One skill we need to improve that was very lacking was blocking," LeTourneau said. "We need to get our hands up at a quicker pace."

Selnick said the team also has to polish their basic skills.

"We need to hammer home where everyone needs to be and what their roles are," he said. "When we have that down, then we can work on more advanced stuff."

Thursday's match was the beginning of what everyone involved hopes to be a long and successful history and they knew it was special to be a part of it.

"I know it may sound corny, but I do feel really honored to be on Emerson's first men's volleyball team," Dimitruk said. "Playing in the inaugural game was a really surreal feeling, thinking that nobody else after us will ever to get to say they played in the first ever Emerson men's volleyball game."

LeTourneau said his role as coach was to make sure his squad looked like a team.

"I wanted to make sure they knew the rules, the positions, and things like that," he said. "I wanted to make them look like they knew what they're doing, and they did."

Next up for the Lions is a tri-match at home on Saturday, Jan. 31, against Johnson Wales University and Albertus Magnus College, another first year program.

Selnick said the team's final results could improve if the team continues to jell.

"We have a week of practice before the tri-match," he said. "If we work hard, they are two teams we can definitely show up against and give them a run for a really close game. We need to come out ready to maybe even get a win."