With playoffs unlikely, Lions ponder ECAC tourney

by James Kwon / Beacon Correspondent • October 26, 2016

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Senior Jules Augustine spikes the ball in a match earlier this season.
From the Beacon Archives
Senior Jules Augustine spikes the ball in a match earlier this season.
From the Beacon Archives

After finishing with a losing record last year, Emerson’s women’s volleyball team has turned it around and currently stands at 16-10 with two games to go. No matter what, the Lions will finish with a winning record.

Some highlights of the year include senior Sam Harton hitting the 1,000 digs milestone, the emergence of rising star freshman Bella Edwards, and an undefeated trip to the NYU Labor Day Invitational.

Yet, after posting a 2-7 record in conference games, they likely will not make the top seven, which is required for a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference playoff berth. They are two games behind seventh-ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Emerson will likely enter the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament, an alternative postseason tourney for teams with at least a .500 record.

Though the outlook for next year’s squad looks promising, the job this year is not done. The Lions still have two games left, including a conference game against NEWMAC powerhouse Clark University. If the Lions wanted to make an impression on the conference, these two games would be the opportunity to do so—and this team knows it.

“What we really want to do [is] fight,” senior captain Jules Augustine said. “In the next couple games [we’ve] got to fight through it and push through it. This is it.”

Fellow senior teammate Amanda Linzmeyer said Augustine’s standpoint isn’t unique when it comes to these pivotal games.

“I feel as though we’re just going to put ourselves out on that court; everything’s going to be out there,” Linzmeyer said. “We would all like to go out on a win this season.”

The two seniors also said that players know what the flaws in their performance are, and that the next step is to improve on them so that every player can compete at their full potential.

“We could put a lot more balls down and a lot more balls strategically placed on the court to get more kills,” Augustine said.

Linzmeyer added to this mantra of working smarter, not harder.

“We say that we’re going to do things and say that we’re going to win … We’re just not mentally there,” Linzmeyer said. “So I think we just have to stay mentally prepared, mentally ready for anything that’s thrown at us, and do what we say.”

Head coach Ben Read explained that along with winning, the development of everyone on the roster is the objective.

“With any team, even our veteran players, they’re going to continue to get better throughout the season,” Read said. “This is the goal, to get better individually. I think we have seen that with some players.”

Not just a game

Another victory took place on Oct. 20, as the Lions swept Emmanuel College 3-0 in a close but convincing win. Each set was decided by four or less points. The solid play happened on a night dedicated to an issue that transcends all sports: breast cancer awareness. The event, which was dubbed “Dig Pink,” raised money and shed light on a disease that has affected millions of lives.

Senior Elizabeth Reid explained the magnitude of the event, which hits home for many who were present at the game.

“I think it was all really important to us; I think every single person on this team knows someone that’s been affected by breast cancer, and because of that it feels just not like a win for us, but a win for them,” Reid said. “So it obviously feels bigger than just today.”

The triumph means more to Linzmeyer than another tally in the win column.  

“This means a lot to all of us … I have a bunch of family members who have had breast cancer, so winning on a night like this is really nice,” Linzmeyer said. “It’s a really nice feeling, you can really only have a sense of euphoria afterwards because it’s the perfect way to end a night for a good cause.”

The team’s next game is home is Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. against Bridgewater State, which will be the Lions’ senior night.