As Vassar College enters its second semester of the 2013-2014 year, Vassar athletics boasts a new crop of sports in the upcoming spring season. This period at Vassar College, which tends to start around early March, is filled with a diverse group of sports and players. The upcoming season looks to be filled with action and tough matches, with each sport having its own goals.
While Vassar men’s and women’s basketball are well into their current season, many teams that have not yet started their matches still came back early from the recent winter break in order to begin pre-season training. One such team is Vassar men’s volleyball. Senior outside hitter Joseph Pyne explained the team’s schedule over its time spent practicing during break. “We had three practices a day, plus lifting, and were the guinea pigs for a variety of new athletic concussion tests and information sessions along with the other sports teams, who were here practicing at the same time,” Pyne wrote in an emailed statement. “Pre-season is always about the repetitions, meaning that we want to get in the gym as much as possible and practice as efficiently and intensely as possible without completely fatiguing our team before the season opener. We work on specific skills, like blocking, serve receive defense, transition defense and our offense, but are ultimately practicing against ourselves until the season officially starts.”
Last season, the team went 10-13 in total matches, with seven wins and four losses in conference play. Although the program lost many senior players from last season to graduation, Pyne is confident that the team will be able to play just as well, if not better, this upcoming period. “This year, everyone is on the same page concerning team goals, and the fact that we all get along off the court is an added bonus and can only help when we are working to fight through adversity,” Pyne expressed. “This season is about the team, about playing a sport we love and enjoying the experience of being a collegiate athlete. I’m looking forward to the friendships I’m going to have from playing with such a good group of guys, and can only hope they want to have as much fun as I do.”
Coming off of a record-breaking season, the women’s lacrosse team will be starting their pre-season on February 3, and conference matches begin in March. Headed by Coach Judy Finerghty, who was named Liberty League Coach of the Year for the third time last season, the team tied a program record with 12 victories and six Liberty League wins for the first time in school history. Co-captain and senior Phoebe Tzannes wants to build on the momentum that the program gained from last season. “I’m looking forward to seeing what our team is capable of this year,” explained Tzannes. “Last season was an incredible success, and I think we’re starting at a higher level this year and thus looking to accomplish more. Whether that’s by beating our all time win record, going to playoffs again, or winning the league, it’ll be nice to know we did everything we could to be the best that we can be.”
Tzannes explained that a lot of the team’s success in previous seasons has come from team chemistry and the players and coaches working in perfect harmony. “I’d love to see us hold onto that same work ethic and drive to succeed so we can continue to build off of last seasons success, while still having the same chemistry that allowed us to be so successful last year,” Tzannes wrote in an emailed statement. “In terms of improvement, I think we need to be more confident in our abilities and enter into games not thinking that we might somehow pull of a win but that we can and will.”
Vassar College men’s tennis is one of the few teams that has games during the fall and spring seasons. Although the team has only two matches during October, they swiftly defeated both Bard College and Yeshiva University 8-1, giving them a winning record of 2-0 going into their main part of the season. Matches will start again for the men’s team on February 8, when they will face Clark University on Vassar’s campus.
Men’s tennis is the only team that enters a season this year as Liberty League defending champions. Many recall last year’s memorable win for the team, marking the end to a record breaking season. This season, a large number of new members have been added to the roster, and while a lot of experience has left with the passing of the year, sophomore co-captain Christian Phelps believes that the team can defend their title. “We’re really excited,” Phelps wrote in an emailed statement. “As a young team, we’re really planning to focus on team cohesiveness and fitness. We know that with hard work, we can be the fittest guys against any opponent we might face. We can control that. Having the edge physically in a long, tight match can make all the difference in big moments.”
According to Phelps, there are certain qualities to any successful team. “In order to succeed, everyone has to feel like they’re working and playing for their teammates, and we did that perfectly last year,” Phelps explained. “Our hard work on the practice court and competitive energy on the court was definitely in the honor of our teammates, and we plan on carrying that forward with us this season.”
Looking forward, many spring season teams will be attempting to defend titles, records, and one Liberty League Championship. As the winter match period draws to a conclusion, the spring sports teams will be attending pre-season practices and looking ahead to their upcoming season.