With a winning record of 11 wins and only five losses, this year marks the first time in history that the Vassar College field hockey team has made it to post season play. In a momentous season for the Vassar Brewer women, the team will seek to move on in the playoffs and claim their first Liberty League title in the program’s history. And their most recent win against Scranton University only bolsters the team’s standings in the league.
Field hockey has been dominate during home conference games, winning three out of three of them, pushing them towards the playoffs and giving them a chance at the title. One of the more crucial recent wins was against Scranton University, where the team took it 2-1. Senior player Tina Caso (Full disclosure: Caso currently serves as Sports Editor for The Miscellany News) made the two crucial goals during that match to give the Brewers the win. The win was the second victory of the season in overtime for the Brewers, who move to 2-3 when playing in the extra session. Vassar now has the second-most wins in a season with 11, two short of the school record of 13 in a campaign.
Another win was against the difficult rival team of Rampo College. The Brewers took the match 3-0. Sophomore midfielder Bianca Zarrella expressed her happiness with the team’s play, especially in the Ramapo match. “I felt that we definitely dominated the game. Our passing was stick-to-stick, so we were able to connect on many occasions and get the ball to cage. The block tackles of our defense were also commendable as we kept them out of our circle the entire game,” wrote Zarrella in an emailed statement. “This is a great improvement from last year where I realized we would play down to teams that we could have easily dominated, just like we dominated Ramapo.”
Going into post season, the team will strive to keep up their high level of play in order to go for the championship title. Senior forward Elisabeth Raskopf attributes the team’s excellent performance to their linear focus. “We earned a spot in post season play because we play our game, no matter what,” Raskopf expressed. “We rely on each other and work as a team regardless of how the other team plays. We have the best defensive unit in the League and I think that really gives the whole team the confidence to be aggressive on the offensive push and move forward with urgency. I fully expect us to continue working hard and stay focused on the next play, and the next game.”
Junior Dara Davis echoed what her teammate said, relaying that, “The team has won the last five games because we are a cohesive unit. We communicate and understand each other’s movements on the field. We emphasize the fundamentals like stopping a ball, while other teams forget the significance of this. I have confidence in my team and the determination this team has is unsurpassable by any of our other competitors. We play to win and that’s it.”
One example of the Brewer’s pulling out a vital Liberty League match win was a recent match against Skidmore College. A ranked team in the league, Skidmore presented a daunting challenge to the team in order to remain eligible to move on to post season. However, the team pulled off a win, scoring two goals compared to Skidmore’s one. Although Skidmore took the early lead, Zarrella was able to tie up the game in the second half by scoring her third goal of the season. With around 5 minutes to play, Davis earned a long hit, and was able to pass the ball to Caso, who shot the ball into the back of the net, earning her seventh goal of the season and putting the Brewers in the lead for the first time in the game. Vassar maintained the lead and pulled off the victory. On the Skidmore match, Merritt said, “we really came out hard right from the start and all believed that we could win. They had an early goal but we fought back and didn’t let it affect us. Our defense was really solid the whole game and shut them down because Skidmore is known for their offense. Everyone fought to the end and didn’t let up for a second.”
As the team moves forward, they will play against New Paltz on October 31. Liberty League Championships will be held in Saratoga Springs, NY on November 6. Merritt described what needs to happen during post season for the team to be successful. “For post season we need to just focus on one game at a time. Now we have to focus on New Paltz before we can move on. We’re playing Skidmore again so we know it is going to be a hard fight but if we just play our game I’m sure we can win” Merritt said.