Lions successful in Emerson-Wentworth tourney

by Beacon Staff • September 9, 2009

Instead, at the weekend's end, the Lions found themselves poised for a great season, in possession of a perfect 4-0 record.,After a week of rough two-a-day practices, if the Emerson women's volleyball team found itself too weary for its competition in the first-ever Emerson-Wentworth Invitational last weekend, it would not be hard to understand.

Instead, at the weekend's end, the Lions found themselves poised for a great season, in possession of a perfect 4-0 record.

"I was scared everyone would be too sore to perform in the tournament, but we really pushed through it," said junior writing, literature, and publishing major Sara Rutan. "Everyone played great."

A total of nine teams participated in the tournament, and all of Emerson's opponents were out-of-conference teams. The Lions will face their first Great Northeast Atlantic Conference test this Saturday versus Mount Ida.

Historically, Emerson has had a tough time besting Rivier and Johnson Wales Universities, the two teams at the top of the GNAC standings. Last year Emerson lost to JWU in the GNAC tournament quarter-finals.

Head Coach Craig LeTourneau said it's less a matter of skill and more a matter of mentality.

"When we get on the floor, certain things happen, it's sort of like, 'Uh oh, here we go again' and we just have to get past that," he said. "Mentally we have to prepare better. Physically on the court, we're there, and we can play with anybody."

Not only was the tournament a boon for the team in its present form, but it bodes well for the team's future. LeTourneau said he has already seen increased interest from potential recruits, "I had a couple of parents send me stuff after, saying 'you know, my daughter came to see her sister play, and she just loves the school, loves the area, she happens to be interested in communications,'" he said. "For recruiting purposes, it's definitely a building-block."

This coming weekend, the team will travel to New Hampshire to participate in the Days Inn of Campton Tournament. LeTourneau joked that, as Plymouth state also went 4-0 over the course of the tournament, their game this Saturday will be a de facto tournament championship.

Rutan, who plays in the libero position, was happy to have played at home this past weekend. She lamented the fact that last season, she had precious few opportunities to play in a friendly gym.

"We traveled a lot last year; I think if I remember correctly we only had three or four home games," she said. "[Coach] Craig did a really good job this year of packing our schedule with a bunch of home matches."

This year is Rutan's third with the team, and she said this year's crop of players is without a doubt the best she's played with during her tenure.

"I don't ever remember having this strong a team," she said. "I can't think of any real weaknesses that we have, because everyone works so well together on the court. The chemistry is just fantastic."