After a tough spring break, many teams seek to improve their season record. However, with an experienced team and a lot of wins under their belt so early in the season, the year is looking promising as women’s lax seeks to make it to Liberty League playoffs, a feat that has not been achieved by the team in many years.
The team opened their season down in West Palm Beach, Fla. They played two games in total and easily swept their opponents, beating Fitchburg State College 15-2 and Ohio Wesleyan University 19-8. These easy wins were very crucial for the beginning of the season, according to Assistant Coach Jen Ascencio. “Our first few games were much needed,” Ascencio expressed in an emailed statement. “We came out strong and every player got playing time which is certainly a goal for each game. We did manage to get away with a few mistakes in those games but it was good. They gave us a change to iron out the kinks before we start league play.”
Ascencio, who is in her second year as an assistant coach here at Vassar, is very optimistic about the season. “Coming into the season I expected and hoped that our aggression and willingness to love and embrace pressure would finally take heed. I have been pleasantly surprised thus far,” wrote Ascencio. “The fight within them and the hard work ethic they are putting in each day is certainly paying off. They take themselves and their teammates very seriously and I believe their team dynamic is stronger than ever. Watching this group of women play, work, and interact with each other leads me to believe that a Liberty League championship is very possible and I think that could certainly be a goal this season.”
Yet the strong start has not been without tough matches. The team is 1-1 in Liberty League matches so far, beating University of Rochester 19-7 and losing in a tight match to the Rochester Institute of Technology 11-13. “We only really saw our first real battle against RIT on Sunday,” wrote senior co-captain Marissa Reilly. “It was a very challenging game as we were within one goal for the majority of the game. RIT was certainly surprised by how different of a team we are this year compared to last.”
As a captain, Reilly takes on a lot of responsibility when it comes to the team’s success. “Our jobs as captains is to be an example, whether that be being a work horse out on the field or making a generous gesture to another player,” conveyed Reilly. “Our job is really to help foster a successful team dynamic through camaraderie, friendship and love.” However, the job is extremely fulfilling, as stated by senior co-captain Lindsay Haggerty. “Keeping 24 women constantly motivated and engaged is not as hard as it may sound because this team is extremely self motivated and always wants to be there,” Haggerty asserted. “I am beyond proud of every single person on the team this year.”
Yet in addition to the captains, all the players would agree that the success of the team so far would not be possible without the coaching staff. Freshman midfielder Isabelle Goldstein shared her thoughts on head coach Judy Finerghty. “Judy is a huge part of this team,” described Goldstein. “She is completely committed to every player on this team, on and off the field. She is primarily the reason why I became interested in Vassar as a junior in high school.”
Finerghty, who has been a Coach at Vassar for 20 years, is joined on the staff by Ascencio and Assistant Coach Mark Feltch, who has had a big impact on Goldstein’s individual game. “I cannot say enough about our volunteer assistant Mark Feltch. His knowledge of the game is unmatched. He focuses on the details that can often get lost working with such a big team. He has transformed my offensive game and increased our discipline and ball movement on offense substantially,” wrote Goldstein.
Goldstein, one of four new freshman on the team, felt an immediate sense of team unity upon joining the squad. “I couldn’t be in a better place than here on the Vassar Women’s Lacrosse team,” expressed Goldstein. “I am surrounded by intelligent, talented, and motivated individuals that have made my experience here at school an amazing one. The relationships I’ve made with my teammates are the most meaningful and important ones I could have. I feel comfortable with each and every person on this team. The chance to become close with not just other freshmen, but upperclassmen as well is one I really value.”
The Brewers determined to have a great season, and they want their opponents to see just how tough Vassar’s program is. “I would like others to see Vassar Women’s lax as a threat,” wrote Ascencio. “They should have to work hard and take multiple practices to prepare before they play us. I want them to view us as unpredictable. A team with many weapons and you’re not sure which ones they are going to pull out when you play against them.”