Last spring, the women's softball team secured the top spot in the Great Northeast Atlantic Conference tournament, besting St. Joseph's College by just one run in the title game. The women's lacrosse team had an easier time of it when they clinched their own seat atop the GNAC.
But these battles, and those of the rest of Emerson's women's sports teams, made it easy for the Lions to secure the GNAC Commissioner's Cup for being the most successful institution in conference play.
The college's women's varsity sports combined for a 106-49-1 record in the GNAC. Softball and lacrosse won the league championship, basketball reached the finals, and tennis and volleyball made the semi-finals. These victories mark a big step forward for the growing athletic program.
"In the past, we've only had one or two teams that have been successful," said Assistant Athletic Director Jessica Adams. "To have two teams win championships and others to go far in the playoffs is a huge feat we hope to build on."
This is the first time the school has won the award, according to the athletics Web site. While everyone is excited about the recognition the institution has received, Adams said all teams are focused on making this school year even better.
"For the teams that won championships, they will continue to do that and they will work to continue to be better at a national level," she said. "The others will work to go ahead and win the league and look to get national recognition as well."
Those involved in the numerous success stories last year said it is special to be a part of a flourishing program.
"So many schools worship their football team or hockey team or basketball team," said senior broadcast journalism major Meghan Robinson, who is co-captain of the lacrosse team. "It's nice to have women's sports make an impact on a school for a change."
Women's volleyball Head Coach Craig LeTourneau said the award is a reflection of the athletic department's overall improvement.
"It shows where the program has gone. It gets better and better," he said. "Because the department is running so well and everyone is on the same page, it allows us to perform even better."
While the award from the league reflects a triumphant past, the hope is for the recognition to help the teams to recruit new talent.
"Student-athletes are looking to go to a good program," Letourneau said. "For us, they don't want only a good volleyball program, but they want to be around other good athletes as well."
Robinson said having so many winning teams is alluring to the competitive spirit of prospective athletes, and winning the Commissioner's Cup proves that Emerson is capable of providing that.
"Many students who go on to play collegiate level sports are competitive people," she said. "They want to work hard and win championships and I think this proves that you will be on a competitive team if you do decide to go to Emerson."