In season beginnings and endings, Vassar finds success

Senior Juan Felipe Laso takes a shot in home match during Spring 2016. The Vassar men’s tennis team will compete in its second and third matches of the year on Feb. 17 and 18. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

Men’s Volleyball

The Brewers swept the Vassar Invitational this past weekend, defeating Johnson & Wales University (3-0), Stevenson University (3-1), Ramapo College (3-0) and the College of Mount Saint Vincent (3-1). With these four wins, VC advances its record to 10-5.

The men started off the weekend against the Johnson & Wales Wildcats, and claimed the win in three sets with scores of 25-14, 25-16, 25-12. Although the Wildcats continually earned the first point, Vassar answered with authority and earned commanding leads in each of the three sets.

Senior captain Christian Lizana lifted the team to victory with a match-best 10 kills, two blocks and an ace. Meanwhile, fellow senior captain Quinn Rutledge posted five kills and three blocks, as junior All-American Matt Knigge contributed eight kills, six blocks and two aces.

Freshman Ghali Khalil also contributed to the Wildcat’s defeat, earning his first collegiate kill during the third set of the match. Senior captain Trey Cimorelli added a game-high 11 digs while junior Zechariah Lee finished with 26 assists and three blocks.

The game ended on an impressive play from junior Brian Manley and sophomore Daniel Halberg, as Manley earned the point off of an assist from Halberg. With this victory, the team headed into a match against Stevenson.

The match against the Mustangs was a closer one as the Brewers earned the victory in four sets with scores of 25-21, 25-17, 24-26, 25-13.

In the first set, while Vassar topped the scoreboards, Stevenson trailed close behind and inched within two points 19-21. However, VC claimed the set thanks to a kill from Lizana. In a similar manner, Knigge finished with a kill to lift the Brewers to a 2-0 advantage going into the third set.

The men faltered in the third set and the game was forced to a fourth. However, VC came back with great energy and earned the win with the biggest lead, 25-13. In this fourth set, the team collectively hit 0.522 while the Mustangs fell with a -0.125 hitting percentage.

Against Stevenson, Lizana tallied 14 kills, Knigge notched 13 kills and four assisted blocks and sophomore George Diehl added nine kills, three digs and four blocks. Freshman Yoni Auerbach had a great match with nine termination and seven rejections.

On Saturday, Feb. 11, Vassar continued its winning streak as the team defeated Ramapo 27-25, 25-17, 25-13 and trumped Mount Saint Vincent 25-21, 25-17, 22-25, 25-19.

Against the Ramapo Roadrunners, VC defense earned the win as they caused 24 errors and held Ramapo to a 0.034 hitting percentage. Multiple Brewers were very strong against the Roadrunners, including Knigge who finished with eight blocks and eight kills, Lee who added 25 assists, two service aces and four digs and Diehl who tallied nine terminations while hitting 0.583.

Auerbach continued his impressive weekend performance with eight kills, five digs and two blocks, as Rutledge tabbed five kills, two blocks and an ace.

VC finished its undefeated weekend with a four-set win over the Dolphins of Mount Saint Vincent. Rutledge led the team’s efforts as he contributed a season-best 11 kills, six digs and four assisted blocks, while also hitting a season-best 0.421.

Knigge and Lee dominated yet again: Knigge contributed nine kills, three aces and five blocks, as Lee finished with 37 assists, two aces, seven digs and three total blocks. Knigge finished with a .750 hitting percentage, the team’s highest of the season.

Meanwhile, freshman libero Kevin Ros tallied six digs as Manley and Diehl finished with six kills each.

After their dominant weekend, the Brewers will travel to Elmira, PA to face the Stevens Institute of Technology and Elmira College on Saturday, Feb. 18.

Sophomore Mason Dyslin dribbles down the court in recent home game. Dyslin scored buzzer-beater layup to lift the Brewers over Clarkson 78-76 on Saturday, Feb. 11. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

Men’s Basketball

The Vassar men’s basketball team traveled to Potsdam, NY to serve a significant upset to Clarkson University while also putting up a good fight against top-ranked St. Lawrence University.

On Friday, Feb. 10, the Brewers fell to St. Lawrence 88-77 due to a late run by the Saints. Despite the final deficit of 11 points, the competition was a battle with six ties and seven lead changes. In fact, Vassar was the first team to get on the scoreboards with a three-pointer from junior captain Jesse Browne.

Throughout the contest, Browne tallied a total of 12 points, eight assists and three rebounds. Sophomore captain Alex Seff led the scoring efforts as he added 16 points, followed by sophomore Mason Dyslin who contributed 15 points. Freshmen Mattie Mrlik and Kyle Kappes also tabbed eight points each.

Freshman Owen Murray was a standout for the team in terms of rebounds as he grabbed 16 total rebounds, 12 of which were defensive rebounds. Murray also finished with seven points and six assists.

With these strong efforts, Vassar entered halftime only down 36-39. However, the Saints went on an early run in the second half and widened the lead to 15 points with a score of 57-42.

After a crucial time-out, the Brewers came out with energy and cut down the deficit to two with 2:45 left in the game. The Saints then unfortunately went on a 14-5 run to eventually take home the win. With this victory, Saint Lawrence improved its record to 18-4 and further solidified its spot in the playoffs at the No. 1 spot.

The Brewers then returned to the court on Saturday to take on the Clarkson Golden Knights. Although they fell to the Golden Nights 60-76 earlier in the season, VC took the court with extreme energy and enthusiasm to upset Clarkson during the team’s Senior Day.

Even though Clarkson scored the first points of the game, Vassar answered with seven points to take the lead 9-2. For the rest of the first half, the Golden Knights attempted to regain the lead but could not outperform the Brewers. Vassar entered the break with a 42-30 advantage.

Entering the second half, Clarkson began cutting into the deficit and eventually shortened the margin to single digits. With this momentum, the Golden Knights tied the game at 76 apiece with only 14 seconds left in the game. It was all down to the wire.

With three seconds left, Browne looked to take the lead with a layup. As the ball bounced off the backboard, Dyslin went for the rebound and missed, followed by another rebound and miss from Seff. Then with less than a second left on the clock, Dyslin grabbed another rebound and scored a game-winning layup!

On top of scoring the game-winning basket, Dyslin added six additional points, 10 rebounds and one assist. Meanwhile, Seff contributed an impressive 28 points, Browne tallied 17, Mrlik added eight and sophomore Chris Gallivan finished with five points.

Collectively, the Brewers outshot the Golden Knights, scoring 57.1 percent for field goals and 50 percent for three-pointers. Additionally, Vassar’s subs outscored those from Clarkson 20-9.

Although Vassar is unfortunately unable to qualify for playoffs, the team’s triumph over Clarkson greatly reduced the Golden Knight’s chances of post-season qualification.

The week of Feb. 13 will be the team’s final week of the season, as they face Bard away on Wednesday. Feb. 15 and play their final game of the season against RPI on Friday, Feb. 17 at home.

Men’s Tennis

Vassar had a commanding start to its 2017 season with a 8-1 win over Clark University on Saturday, Feb. 11 in Worcester, MA.

Starting the domination early in the day, the Brewers captured wins in each doubles match. Senior Juan Felipe Laso and junior Jamie Anderson started the winning streak as they earned a 8-3 victory at No. 3 against Clark’s Jimmy Keogh and Ian Levy.

Up next, freshman Jeremy Auh and sophomore Nick Zuczek claimed another 8-3 win at No. 2. Then to sweep the doubles competition, senior captains Nick Litsky and Alexander Luckmann clinched a 8-5 victory over Clark’s Barun Gill and Andrey Samodaev.

Moving into singles play, the wins continued for the Burgundy and Gray. Laso started the winning efforts again as he finished with uncontested scores of 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4. This victory moves Laso’s dual meet record to 4-0 for the season.

Then at No. 1, Litsky claimed another win with scores of 6-1, 6-1. Litsky leads the squad in total victories with six on the year. Anderson also earned a victory with scores of 6-2, 6-1 at No. 3.

In a nail-biting match, freshman Zamir Birnbach finished victorious at No. 6 as he took home a 7-6 win with a tie-breaker of 7-5. Auh then wrapped up the wins on the day as he posted a one-set 6-0 victory.

Defeating Clark, the team record improves to 3-2 for the season. VC looks to continue the victories against the Rochester Institute of Technology and Skidmore College on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 and 18 at home.

Women’s Fencing

VC shined on the last day of the Northeast Fencing Conference, Saturday, Feb. 11. Out of the seven meets of the day, the squad earned five victories. The Brewers bested the University of New Hampshire (23-4), Boston University (19-8), Sacred Heart University (14-13), the University of Massachusetts (19-8) and Smith College (21-6). Unfortunately, the women faced two losses at the hands of Dartmouth College (12-15) and Wellesley College (13-14).

To begin the day, the Brewers handedly defeated the New Hampshire Wildcats. Against the Wildcats, the foil team went 9-0 while the epee team went 8-1. In foil, senior Elsa Stoff and sophomores Mirit Rutishauser and Sophie Blumenstock all earned three victories.

Similarly, in epee, senior Olivia Weiss and sophomore Rose Hulsey-Vincent both finished with 3-0 wins while freshman Sasha Czarnik finished 2-1 against New Hampshire. Junior Annie Innes-Gold continued the success with three wins as fellow junior Lilia Hutchinson ended with a record of 2-1 in sabre.

Next up, the Brewers fell to Dartmouth in a close match 12-15. Despite the loss, Blumenstock and Rutishauser each collected two victories in foil, while Weiss finished with another perfect 3-0 finish in epee. Hulsey-Vincent and Innes-Gold also tallied two wins against the Big Green, in epee and sabre respectively.

Against the BU Terriers, the foil squad had a second 9-0 finish, leading Vassar to another victory. Weiss continued her undefeated streak of the day as Innes-Gold also collected a 3-0 victory. To wrap up the victories against Boston, Hulsey-Vincent, Czarnik and freshman Samantha Lottick all finished with wins.

In the toughest match of the day, the Brewers were just barely outdone by the Wellesley College Blue. Nevertheless, VC had successful fencers, including Stoff (3-0 in epee), Rutishauser (2-1 in foil), Weiss (3-0 in epee), Hulsey-Vincent (2-1 in epee) and Innes-Gold (2-1 in sabre).

Vassar then turned things around to win a nail-biting 14-13 match against Sacred Heart. This victory is the program’s first triumph over the Pioneers since the 2010-2011 season.

Against the Pioneers, the epee team finished 6-3 as the foil team collected a 5-4 win. To contribute to such success, Hulsey-Vincent and Innes-Gold tallied three wins each as Weiss collected another two.

Hungry for more victory, VC then topped the UMass Minutemen with the help of the epee team (8-1) and the foil squad (7-2). Stoff, Rutishauser, Czarnik and freshman sabre Kati Kim all earned two wins against the Minutemen as Blumenstock and Weiss finished with perfect 3-0 records.

The Burgundy and Gray continued its winning streak, topping Seven Sister’s rival Smith College. Against the Smith Pioneers, all three weapon squads finished victorious. The epee team finished on a high note with a 8-1 win as Weiss and Hulsey-Vincent both captured three wins. Additionally, Rutishauser picked up three wins in foil while Blumenstock tallied two victories. To round out the wins, Innes-Gold finished with yet another 3-0 win as Kim tabbed another two wins.

After such a strong day of competition, the squad will head to Columbia University to face Columbia and New York University on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 4 p.m.

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