The Vassar College 2013-2014 women’s rugby team will go down as one of the most successful in Brewer program history. The team this year has compiled an overall record of 13-4 since September. They wrapped up their season this past weekend with a win on Sunday April 27 at the Norwich University 7s tournament. The team will next play their alumnae game on Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m. on Founder’s Day at the Vassar Farm.
The team competed on Sunday, April 20 at the Tri-State Conference 7s Championship. Stony Brook University won the group stage with a 3-0-0 record and Vassar was tied with University at Albany for second with a 1-1-1 record. The first tiebreaker was the head-to-head game, but it had been a 12-12 tie. The second tie-breaker was points differential and both were at 18. The third tie-breaker was number of tries and Albany scored eight to Vassar’s seven, eliminating the Brewers. The first game of the day was Vassar against University at Albany. Albany scored first, but senior Margaret Kwateng got Vassar on the board. The game ended in a 12-12 tie. Vassar’s second game was against Stony Brook University.
Despite the 5-29 loss, the Brewers played a competitive and well-matched game. Vassar’s last game of the day was a 20-14 win against Molloy College. Vassar started off slow and fell to a 14-0 deficit in the first half. They stepped it up the second half and scored four tries overall and just narrowly missed making the tournament finals.
This past weekend was the team’s final weekend of play and marked the final weekend of collegiate play for the team’s seniors. Seniors Margaret Kwateng, Emma Elbaum, Hannah Fink and Emma Kading played their final game. Seniors Dallas Robinson, Rachel Thompson and Anna Carias were all injured and unfortunately could not play. Four seniors also played in the fall but were unable to this spring: Meera Chatterjee, Maria Fermindoza, Natalie Ward and Chelsea Boccagno. In the past four years, the team has qualified for the National Championship twice: Two years ago, they made the elite eight and made the Final four this year. They have won the Conference Championship three times advancing to regional and national playoffs. Their overall record is 50-17-3 and includes seven victories over D I schools.
The team’s final 15’s game ended with a strong victory for Vassar. They defeated Southern Connecticut State University 41 to 21. Vassar ran in seven tries and kicked three conversions to earn the win. Sophomore Flyhalf Shira Idris opened up the scoring for Vassar in the first half. Unfortunately, she sustained a concussion and had to leave at halftime. Kwateng scored the next two. Sophomore Anne Fritzson had her first outing at scrumhalf and played a strong game in this demanding role. Freeman scored at the end of the first half to bring the score 24-7. The team continued to play strong to finish out the rest of the game and bring the seniors their 50th win in four years.
The team also competed in the Norwich University 7s tournament. The squad boasted six freshmen, two sophomores, one junior and one senior. They were entered in the “B” bracket of the event and went 3-0 in their group. They played Norwich University in the final and came away with the championship. The team first played UMass Amherst and won 22-5. Freshman Laila Blumenthal-Rothchild played her first game at scrumhalf and scored Vassar’s first try of the day. Sophomore Lock Sophia Rutkin collected two more tries. The team then defeated Boston University 27-0. Kading scored couple of tries. The team then faced hosts Norwich University for their last group stage scoring 19 to Norwich’s 10.
The team then faced them again in the Championship and won 19-0.
Overall, this year’s team has been incredibly impressive, according to Idris. “We’re really good. This year I have been very impressed by our quality of play and each time we’re on the field competing I realize how good our team and players are. Everyone works really hard and has really great on field chemistry. We get into a good pattern and everything just kind of comes together especially when we score first. We get a lot momentum and really just run with it.”
One of the reasons Idris believes her team is so successful is their strong chemistry and dynamic. “We get along as a team. We’re all really close. It’s hard sometimes being such a large team with so many girls and moving parts but the core team dynamic is always there. We really love playing and playing with one another and I think it really translates onto the field.”
A big difference this year’s team had compared to year’s past was their large group of rookies who picked up rugby for the first time. “We have so many rookies that came out this year. And we’ve lacked a lot of veterans and have had a lot of injuries, so a lot of the new players have had to step up and start in A side games even though they’ve never played rugby before. With that being said they all really stepped up and played amazingly for us. It’s so great to have so many people coming out consistently for the team because they’ve been such a great and talented addition. We wouldn’t have gone as far if we didn’t have all these rookies coming out.”
One moment that will always stand out to Idris is flying to Florida to compete in Nationals this year. “It was a very prestigious honor. Losing that first semi-final game was absolutely heartbreaking but our team handled it so well by coming out and winning the next game to take third.”
This weekend’s game was both a moment of pride and sadness for Idris as the team’s seniors took the field for the last time. “Our last game was bittersweet, but a really great way to end our season and amazing last game for our seniors who are all really amazing. We’re going to miss them a lot next year on and off the field.”
The Vassar Alumnae Game will take place on Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at home on the Vassar Farm.