Emerson College: 9
Norwich University: 8
On Tuesday, the men’s tennis team swept Norwich University 9-0 to open the Great Northeast Athletic Conference playoffs, continuing a season that has seen the Lions post the program’s best record in its history.
Emerson won all six singles competitions during the match, never allowing Norwich to hold a significant advantage, and hastily won all three doubles faceoffs.
The Lions are undefeated in conference play, posting a 5-0 record, and are 10-1 overall. The team has also dominated competition by winning every match in six of its 11 games played.
The team finished the season with the best record in the GNAC for the first time in the team’s history.
Mitchell Lance, a captain and the only senior on the squad, said that the team managed to consistently play at a high level throughout the match and the year.
“We have a really deep team from top to bottom, and we were able to step up and get the job done [on Tuesday],” said Lance, a contemporary writing and production major at Berklee College of Music. “This team is for sure the best team I have ever been on in my four years playing.”
Sophomore Kevin Blisniuk said that the team’s close-knit relationship has had a tremendous effect on its success.
“We did a really good job this year because the team is really close, and it makes a difference, especially in doubles,” said Blisniuk, a film scoring major at Berklee. “Everybody puts a lot of effort into practice, and its been a really fun year.”
Four Berklee students play on the men’s tennis team through the Pro Arts Consortium.
Emerson has won five consecutive matches since losing its only game on April 3 against Eastern Nazarene College, who ranks third in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Prior to this loss, the Lions had won an additional five games in a row.
Head coach Gavin Barton, who has coached the men’s and women’s tennis teams for a combined three years, said the team has the luxury of raw talent and an ambition to succeed.
“When it really comes down to it, we have guys that are just playing well,” Barton said. “They are eager to get out there, they want to win, and they are having a good time doing it.”
Since 2007, the Lions have finished no lower than third in GNAC standings, but have consistently been knocked out of the playoffs by rival Suffolk University.
The team will play Suffolk in the next round.
“My expectations are that we are going to win the tournament,” Blisniuk said. “This year is our year.”
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