Athletics program improves facilities and exceeds academically in summer off-season

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Photo: Beacon Archive

The athletics department’s partnership with PlaySiight will improve quality of streams and film for all sports including the production at the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym.

By Tyler Foy, Sports Editor

With the fall semester rapidly approaching, Emerson athletes return their attention to the courts, fields, and tracks as their off-season days dwindle to a close. 

In preparation for next season, it is time to look back at what happened in athletics in the off-season and what awaits the Lions in the Fall.

Athletics department pens new partnership with PlaySight Interactive

In an effort to improve the athletic facilities, Director of Athletic Communications Matt Horan brokered a deal with technology enhancement company PlaySight Interactive. 

The four-year partnership—announced on June 21—will help the athletics department produce a better broadcasting experience following issues due to COVID protocols.

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“We were pretty confident that we were gonna play games all the way through the year, but we weren’t really sure how we’d be able to get fans in consistently,” Horan said. “It all started with providing a good viewing experience for the fans, mainly the student-athletes’ families who couldn’t come and support.”

Funded in part by the athletic department’s annual Day of Giving—which raised over $35,000 last year—PlaySight will serve as a resource for all athletes to study film and break down practices with its easy-to-access platform. 

Director of Athletics Pat Nicol said Playsight, among other elements, will help Emerson athletics continue to improve.

“We need to keep pace with the growth of the program,” Nicol said. “The purchase of the cameras and equipment for both Rotch and the Piano Row Gym, we’re really excited about that. I think it states a commitment to our student-athletes, our coaches, and its commitment to the overall program.”

Along with improving the ability of teams to review and break down film, the introduction of PlaySight will create more opportunities for all students to get involved with sports-related content production.  

“We’ll be able to get a lot of students in as well…relatively speaking, it’s a low level of production in terms of replays or cutting plays to put on Twitter and that is on top of the broadcast,” said Horan. 

Salve Regina to join NEWMAC

The NEWMAC announced on July 13 that Salve Regina University will be the 12th member of the conference, effective for the 2023-24 season.

Although a year separates Salve from making its NEWMAC debut, a committee consisting of the presidents and athletic directors of the schools within the conference concluded Salve Regina best fit the criteria of their three core values: geographical footprint, sports sponsorships, and academic excellence.

“We look for those instant potential institutions,” Nicol said. “Salve will participate in 16 of the NEWMAC’s 20 sports, having an immediate impact by increasing team sponsorship while enhancing the competitiveness of the conference.”

Lions show their academic prowess in the nation

Emerson had 55 Spring athletes named to its Academic All-Conference teams but went beyond the NEWMAC, receiving multiple national awards.

After completing its most successful year since joining the NEWMAC in 2017, the 12-6 men’s lacrosse team had seven players named to the New England Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association All-Academic team. 

Of the players named, senior midfielder Skylar Celetto not only broke the single-season goals record but made the cut for the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association’s All-Academic Team and received an honorable mention from the USILA All-American Team. 

“There is a reason why we call them student-athletes,” Nicol said. “That is our first and foremost priority. Academics and athletics do not have to be mutually exclusive.”

The women’s volleyball team is no stranger to leading the way academically and earned their seventh consecutive Division III United States Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award on July 18—acknowledging the team’s cumulative GPA over a full academic year.

The women’s basketball team was at the top of all NCAA schools on July 20 after the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Top 25 Honor Roll with the Lions leading the way with a 3.840 team GPA, beating Division I South Dakota State by 0.003 points.

Lastly, the men’s and women’s tennis teams had 13 members named to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association 2022 Division III Scholar-Athletes Team honors—six and seven players, respectively. Nicol said these awards are another example of Emerson’s ever-growing athletics program.

“I believe the collective GPAs of every team is over 3.5 and that’s something to be proud of,” she said. “We’re very competitive now in the NEWMAC, but we’re also seeing a tremendous steady increase comparatively with our academic performance.”

Fall sports prepares for the 2022-23 season

As a new leaf is turned, the department shifts its attention to the next season.

Heading into the fall, the women’s soccer and volleyball teams look to return and make it past the first-round conference playoffs. Sept. 1 marks the beginning of the season for both teams, with soccer playing at home against Regis College and volleyball at Assumption University.

The men’s soccer team will strive to improve upon last year’s 3-11-2 campaign with the addition of 11 new recruits. Head coach Daniel Toulson leads the team for his second season, kicking off on Sept. 1 at Roger Williams University.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams—who play all year round—will both attempt to snap the losing streaks that ended their previous seasons. The women’s team plays Gordon College on Sept. 9 while the men take on Stonehill College on Sept. 14 in Easton.

Women’s and men’s cross country finished last year’s Division III East Regionals 16th and 30th, respectively, and will restart their journey on Sept. 10 at the Endicott Invitational.