The Vassar College men’s soccer team is off to an incredible start to Liberty League play. After picking up two conference wins over the weekend, the Brewers have improved to an 8-3-2 overall record and an impressive 5-0-1 in the Liberty League.
The Brewers’ successful weekend began with a 2-1 victory over Clark- son University on Friday, Oct. 13. The first half was scoreless, as both teams played an evenly-matched game. In the second half, Vassar took their lead. In the 62nd minute, senior Jose Novas scored the first goal of the game, coming off of a rebounded Mattie Mrlik shot.
Shortly after, first-year Jonathon Bow scored the first goal of his collegiate career to give the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
Clarkson made a late push and scored a goal, but the Brewers came out on top 2-1.
Coming off of Friday’s victory, the Brewers looked to continue their success on Saturday afternoon against Saint Lawrence University. Going into the game, the Brewers were ranked second in the league behind the Saint Lawrence Saints. Following the 2-1 victory in this game, Vassar overtook Saint Lawrence in the Liberty League standings and claiming the number one ranking.
The Brewers came out of the gate hot, as sophomore Henrik Olsson scored on a Novas assist just six minutes into the contest.
“The key for us this weekend was getting off to a strong start, which we did in both games,” junior captain Tyler Gilmore said. “Despite conceding goals in the second half of both games, we kept pushing on and ended up with two great results.”
The Brewers continued to shoot frequently throughout the game, but the score remained 1-0 until Saint Lawrence’s Jethro Dede scored with less than 15 minutes to play. With the game in a stalemate, Novas rose to the occasion, drilling a shot into the back of the net in the 85th minute off of a Mattie Mrlik assist.
After wrapping up a strong weekend, Novas commented on the team’s play. He said, “I think the team played great this weekend. Everyone stepped up and showed a lot of desire, heart and determination.”
The team’s excellent in-conference record this season has put them on a great trajectory for a deep playoff run. The Brewers have even bigger goals for this season, however, according to Gilmore.
“Our goal is to host the weekend games in the Liberty League tournament and compete in the NCAA tournament,” he said.
Gilmore has high hopes for the rest of the season: “The most important thing going forward will be our confidence in each other to perform in every game, which I have always felt among us since coming to Vassar,” Gilmore said. “It is getting to that time in the season where we have our tactics down and it’s all about execution in key moments, something Jose Novas knows a lot about.”
After his outstanding performance this weekend, Novas has become the team leader in goals and points with six and 16, respectively, while simultaneously leading the league in game-winning goals with four.
Even with such a great start to the season both personally and as a team, Novas said that he and the team will not settle.
“The key to keeping our streak is to not get complacent,” Novas said. “We haven’t accomplished anything yet. There’s a lot more work to do and we need to stay focused and dedicated.”
The Brewers hope to continue their outstand- ing season Saturday, Oct. 21, against Hobart College.
Women’s soccer also had a solid weekend, which began with a 2-1 win over Clarkson on Friday.
In this contest, the Brewers dominated the first half, taking five shots and two corner kicks compared to Clarkson’s three shots and zero corner kicks. Neither team was able to convert by halftime, however, and the game remained locked at 0-0 going into the second half.
In the second half, senior Amanda McFarland connected for her fifth goal of the season, coming in the 53rd minute.
Just 14 minutes later, Clarkson countered with a goal of their own, coming from sophomore Me- gan Murphy.
With the game in its final minutes, first-year Ally Thayer came through in the clutch. In the 84th minute, she scored the game-winning goal on an Amanda McFarland assist.
Junior captain Audrey Pillsbury was happy with the offensive performance in this game.
She said, “We continued to be creative in the attack which resulted in a great game-winning goal by Ally Thayer against Clarkson.”
Vassar held onto the 2-1 lead for the remainder of the game, improving to an 8-2-3 overall record and increasing their unbeaten streak to 10 games. The Brewers looked to continue their unbeaten streak and secure another conference win Saturday against Saint Lawrence, but fell in a close game, 1-0. The Saints controlled the ball for most of the game, taking 15 shots to the Brewers’ four in the first half alone.
After a scoreless first half, Saint Lawrence’s Hannah Meriam gave her team the lead in the 54th minute.
First-year goalie Fiona Walsh recorded 12 saves on the day, keeping the game within reach, but the Brewers fell to a tough Saint Lawrence team.
Pillsbury felt that though they did not win, they were in the game until the very end. “Overall, it was a pretty even match,” she said. “It will be important for us to capitalize on early scoring opportunities in the upcoming games. It was a tough loss and end to a great winning streak, but we left with our heads held high and looking forward to possibly facing them again later on.”
Junior captain Dahlia Chroscinski felt that while this weekend’s results were not ideal, it was a learning experience that will make the team better down the road.
“This weekend was not one of our strongest performances and I think we all feel that we didn’t play the type of soccer we are capable of,” Chroscinski said. “We definitely played hard and had some moments of greatness on the field. Overall there’s a lot we can learn and build off of from our two games this weekend.”
Pillsbury says the Brewers are ready for their next match, which is Oct. 21 against William Smith College. She said, “William Smith has always been a challenging team to play, but if we go into the match recognizing we have the drive and talent to compete with them I think there’s a good chance we can come out on top.”