As vice president of Gahanna Lincoln High School's business club, senior Daniel Emoff knows one of the keys to running a successful business is getting employees to believe in a company's product.

As vice president of Gahanna Lincoln High School's business club, senior Daniel Emoff knows one of the keys to running a successful business is getting employees to believe in a company's product.

Emoff is trying to use that concept with the boys tennis team. Despite the fact that the Lions lost two of their top four singles players from a year ago and another currently is unavailable because of injury, he is working to get his teammates to believe that they can win a fourth consecutive OCC-Ohio Division championship.

Gahanna lost its first singles player, Jesse Shivener, to graduation and senior Stephen Cheng, who split time at third singles a year ago with senior Sam Raybuck, chose not to return this season. Junior Canyon Teague, who played second singles last year and was expected to play first singles this spring, is out with a stress fracture in his back.

Emoff is playing second doubles with freshman Eric Chen.

"Last year, we were carried by three tremendously talented players in singles," Emoff said, referring to Shivener, Cheng and Teague. "We've been without all of them at the start of the season.

"I've really had to help the players regain the confidence we've had the past three years. It's about motivating everyone and instilling in them the confidence we can still do it."

According to coach Chris Schwinnen, Emoff's teammates have bought into his sales pitch.

"Not only has Daniel's play on the court helped us, but his demeanor off the court has helped us," said Schwinnen, whose team was 2-1 in the OCC-Ohio after defeating Newark 5-0 on April 16. "He's been keeping the team morale up.

"I could tell at the beginning of the season some of the players had their doubts, but Daniel has done a great job in keeping the guys focused. He wants to go out with the team being a four-time OCC champion. He's making sure the other guys on the team are motivated and enthusiastic on and off the court."

The Lions, who went 7-0 in OCC-Ohio dual matches last season, had their 23-match league winning streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to Pickerington North on April 12. The contest marked the first time since Emoff joined the team in 2009 that Gahanna lost a league match. The Lions' previous league setback was a 4-1 loss to Lancaster in 2008.

The only court Gahanna won against North was second singles, where Raybuck beat Cameron Friedman 6-2, 6-4.

As a freshman and sophomore, Emoff tried to live up to the expectations of his older teammates. Those two seasons, he played doubles with 2010 graduate Weston Hebert, who was a team captain.

"Daniel didn't want to let Weston or the rest of the team down," Schwinnen said. "He didn't want to be the reason why we didn't win the OCC title. Now he's always striving to make his game better and make other people better."

In addition to tennis, Emoff focuses a lot of his time learning about the world of business with the school's DECA chapter. DECA, which is an acronym for Distributive Education Clubs of America, helps prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.

This school year, Gahanna's DECA members were challenged to come up with business plans for area companies.

Emoff and classmate Bojan Grozdic came up with a plan for Cameron Mitchell restaurants. They were one of 13 teams from Gahanna to place in the top five in the Ohio DECA state marketing competition held March 16 and 17 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The Gahanna students will compete in a national contest from April 28 through May 2 in Salt Lake City. Emoff is expected to miss three matches during that time, but will return in time for the OCC-Ohio tournament May 5.

"It's been a big time constraint for me, but it's played a big role in my life," he said of the DECA chapter. "I'm looking to be a business major in college and do something like this in the real world."

Emoff said the same principles for making a business run can be applied to the tennis team.

"The whole idea of the project is to have this long-term goal and then you have these short-term activities to reach that goal," he said. "That structural planning and organization helps you reach your goals.

"We're doing the same thing with the tennis team. We have certain short-term goals and we're following them point for point to try to get the outcome we want, and that's to win another OCC championship."