Lions volleyball on precipice of GNAC greatness

by Beacon Staff • September 23, 2009

volleyball team will be.

The Lions started the year looking unstoppable, sprinting to a 7-0, record before it lost three straight games to Babson College, powerhouse Amherst College, and the currently undefeated Plymouth State University.,Thirteen games into the season, it's still unknown just how good the Emerson women's

volleyball team will be.

The Lions started the year looking unstoppable, sprinting to a 7-0, record before it lost three straight games to Babson College, powerhouse Amherst College, and the currently undefeated Plymouth State University.

The Lions were able to regain their form against the less talented Framingham State College and Newbury College on Sept. 19, defeating both squads in straight sets, 3-0.

The Lions have struggled at times this season, but they will need to be at the top of their game against the GNAC's top teams if they are to compete for a championship this year.

According to Head Coach Craig LeTourneau, the losses were a result of a lack of determination and execution on every play, something that he said he feels the team corrected in the wins on Saturday.

"We have to work on our mental toughness, where you have to work for every point," said LeTourneau. "Our focus for today was to play for every point and have no letdown."

Sophomore media studies major Katie Bailey

had her own theory.

"I think we played looser and played calmer," Bailey said. "When we play a lesser-quality team we play calmer-when we play a tough team we tense up. We need to play calm all of the time."

Regardless of the reason, the losses revealed areas that the team needed to improve on in practice, according to sophomore Maddie Breeland.

The Lions seemed to have fixed many of those mistakes as Saturday's performance did not resemble the one that lost 3-0 to Amherst College on Sept. 15th.

Against Amherst the Lions struggled to find an offensive rhythm and were unable to put together any significant scoring runs; however, versus Framingham and Newbury, the team played a more thorough game, resulting in the lopsided victories.

Against Framingham and Newbury the team had better accuracy serving, sharper ball location on kills, and did a seamless

job defending the middle, which let the Lions stay on the offensive and rack up points.

Whether this success is due to the play of the Lions or the quality of the opponent remains to be seen.

Regardless, the Lions must bring the same focus and energy when they play teams like Amherst if they wish to make another postseason run.

Leading the way for the Lions were 6'2" junior marketing communications major Lauren Zaniboni and 5'11" senior captain

Erin Connolly whose height gave the team an advantage over the shorter Framingham and Newbury.

Connolly and Zaniboni not only led the attack with multiple kills, but were also instrumental on defense: defending the net and maintaining the serve for Emerson.

"We just played our own game. Making no errors and playing consistently. Our skills won today." Connolly said.

Consistency and execution seemed to be the two things that the Lions were preaching.

"We were more consistent, focused and played together," said junior writing, literature and publishing major Sarah Rutan. "We came here to play, and to fix the mistakes we made last week."

With the two victories as well as a win over conference foes Mount Ida College in their conference opener the Lions have improved their record to 10-3.

However, they still lack the big win needed for them to be solidified as a contender. How they compete against the tougher opponents in their conference in the coming weeks will reveal if this is the year the team can make the jump to becoming a championship caliber team.