The Men’s Lacrosse team has looked like a completely different team so far this season. This past Saturday, Feb. 21, they traveled to Trinity College in Connecticut to play two scrimmages against Trinity and the University of New England. The scrimmages went well as Vassar came away victorious in both games. Senior midfielder and co-captain Scott Brekne said of Vassar’s play, “We played great as a team and each player played an important role in each win. No single player stood out over the others, which was great for the team as everyone executed well and contributed toward getting the wins.”
Despite several setbacks so far, such as the freezing, snowy weather, the Men’s Lacrosse team has been working diligently to prepare for their spring season. While the weather has prevented practices from being held outdoors on their home-turf, the team has been practicing in the bays of Walker Field House.
Sophomore midfielder Liam Moriarty said of the indoor practices, “Playing indoors does not simulate a game as the field is much bigger and a different surface. We can only hope that our field is clear as soon as possible in order to get used to playing on it.” Along the same sentiment, junior midfielder TJ Morror said, “Personally [I] am most excited to just start competing again, after a long indoor preseason, it’ll be nice to play someone besides our teammates outside.”
The Brewers officially kick off their schedule Feb. 25th, 2015 with a game against Manhattanville College. They are scheduled to play more than 16 games throughout the spring. However, the Men’s Lacrosse Team is not just looking for solid results in numbers and statistics. They are looking to strengthen the program as a whole. With one of the largest rosters in the program’s history at Vassar and with some fresh leadership, the team is expecting to make big waves in the Liberty League conference this spring.
However, this year the high-reaching goals of the players are not entirely unfounded. New and strong leadership will look to lead the team to achieve and surpass their goals this year. The addition of a new Assistant Coach, John McCreery, who joined the squad this past summer, along with three, experienced co-captains in Brekne, senior Sean Brazier and junior Noah Parson will work to propel the team forward this spring.
In addition to excellent leadership, the roster has grown significantly in size and depth. With a large and talented recruiting class of seven freshmen and the loss of only two starting players, Brekne acknowledges this strength: “Our most important team strength this year is our depth. Not only do we have depth in numbers, but we also have depth in skill. We will be able to find good matchups very easily as any of us can step into our role and do what we have to do to help the team get a win.”
Most college lacrosse teams have 40 to 50 players on the roster as compared to Vassar’s current size of thirty-three players. However, what the Brewers lack in size and number this year they more than make up for in heart and determination.
The Brewers were recently voted seventh in the Liberty League pre-season poll, but aim to exceed this predicted outcome. Having full faith in their own individual abilities as well as those of their teammates, their main goal is to make it to the Liberty League Playoffs. This will be challenging, as it will require them to finish at least top four in the League. It will also likely require them to best at least two top 20 teams in the country, such as Rochester Institute of Technology (2014 NCAA semi-finalist) and Union College (2014 NCAA quarter-finalist). Brekne stated, “We have begun working towards these goals from the second we stepped on campus. Success in games starts in practice, so we start out by working hard every single day to be the best we can be.”
Competing in one of the toughest leagues in the country, this will not be an easy feat. Their Liberty League match-ups will prove to be some of their most challenging competition throughout the season. However, Brekne stated that the team is not afraid of such challenges: “While these things will appear to be obstacles, they are really just great opportunities to perform well and prove that our program is ready to make it to that next level.” Even looking at last year’s season, the Brewers made tremendous strides towards improving their overall record of 6-9 in 2014, and beating teams that they had never beaten before.
Moriarty, stated, “We are most excited about the opportunity to knock off some more Liberty League foes this year. Last year we beat Skidmore for the first time ever, and we hope to turn some more heads with more upsets over teams like RIT, Union, RPI, Clarkson and St. Lawrence.”
However, for co-captain Brekne, who will be playing in his final season, his hope for the team is to leave a more lasting, permanent legacy and to establish a more solid foundation for the program going forward.
He said, “As a senior in my final season, I am most excited to see how far this program has come in my four years here. When I first got to Vassar our team had less than 20 guys. Although we outworked and out-hustled every team we competed against, we fell short in too many games. I am excited to show everyone how far this program has come. I also look forward to leaving behind a legacy of hard work, leadership, respect, heart and determination.”
The Brewers officially kick off their seasons against Manhattanville College this Wednesday, Feb. 25th at Tenney Stadium.