Schedule breakdown: Lions prepare for nationally ranked foes

Schedule+breakdown%3A+Lions+prepare+for+nationally+ranked+foes

Head coach Ben Read said there’s no perfect method to scheduling preseason contests, but he hopes to create a balance as his team prepares for the season.

“We do try to play some easier teams [so] that we can try some lineups out, build some confidence, and also get some tougher teams,” Read said.

Two of Emerson’s nonconference tests will come against MIT and Endicott. The Engineers are ranked 14th nationally, and the Gulls also received votes for consideration in the top 15, and played in last year’s NCAA tournament.

Emerson’s two meetings with rival Emmanuel will come within a week of one another. The two teams match up on March 17 at Emmanuel and on March 24 at Emerson. The Lions beat Emmanuel twice last year after the Saints swept Emerson in 2016. The wins helped Emerson secure the fifth seed for the GNAC playoffs.

The Lions begin their GNAC slate with matches against the top and bottom ranked teams in the preseason coaches’ poll. Emerson hosts eighth nationally ranked Wentworth on Feb. 22 and visits Mount Ida on Feb. 27.

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The team hopes to avoid any unexpected scheduling quirks like last year’s temporary use of Suffolk’s facilities following flooding in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym. The Lions did not play a game on Emerson’s campus between Feb. 4 and March 25 due to the closure of the gym, and played four home games in alternate locations.

Senior captain Stig Regan said the relocated games attracted fewer fans, but the time away from the gym didn’t have a major effect on the team’s performance.

“It didn’t seem as big a deal as I would’ve thought it was, but it was definitely a different environment, being in a different gym that we weren’t used to and not having as much support,” Regan said.

Emerson opens up at home against Dean College in nonconference action on Feb. 1 at 7 p.m.