Juniors Lacy Russell and Savannah Mosser showed why they were named to the All-Great Northeast Athletic Conference team on Saturday with an inspired performance in their final conference game against Simmons College.
The Sharks’ depth proved to be too much as the Lions’ star duo was able to dominate, but no other Emerson player won a match in the 3-6 loss. The team was hoping to leave the GNAC with a championship, but first year head coach Gavin Barton said second place is good enough.
“The goal was to win the conference,” Barton said. “We finished second and that’s great, but just seeing the team develop over the season was even better.”
Mosser, now undefeated in 20 consecutive singles matches, dominated the proceedings with her powerful serve and play at the baseline. Mosser breezed through the first set of her singles match, but Sabrina Salmela of the Sharks made a late push that came down to a second set tiebreaker.
“I think [Salmela] just started figuring out my game a lot and I got frustrated,” Mosser said. “I hate tiebreakers so much, but I just tried to stay positive the whole time and think of one point at a time.”
After Mosser won her match, Russell dispelled a personal demon of her own by defeating Margaret Teague, who beat Russell when they met on Oct. 22 in a tough three set contest.
“I have been preparing to beat Margaret because I lost to her during the season, so that is what I wanted to do,” Russell said. “I wanted to win and didn’t want to go out playing my last [GNAC] match, not playing my best.”
The Lions started down 0-2 after Simmons took the first two doubles matches, but the pairing of Mosser and Russell, team co-captains, proved too powerful for Simmons.
“What she is good at, I might not be the best at; and what I might be good at, she might not be the best at,” said Mosser, a visual and media arts major. “We even each other out.”
Barton said that Russell and Mosser keep the team together and are outstanding players in the GNAC.
“I think they are the two best players in the league,” he said. “They have done a great job just leading by example and taking care of the rest of the team.”
The Lions will be entering the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference next season, and Barton said the transition will be difficult, yet valuable for the players.
“We are going into a new conference where the level is definitely a step up,” Barton said. “That is only beneficial to the team, because when you keep playing better competition, you are going to get better.”
Mosser has already pointed out one future opponent as a potential grudge match.
“One of our old coaches moved to MIT, so we will be playing their team,” Mosser said. “I know it is going to be difficult, but I don’t know what the teams are like.”