In the last game of the regular season, despite forcing the Union Dutchwomen to a game of particularly intense competition, the women’s soccer team was unable to ultimately pull out a win. Although the Brewers outnumbered the Dutchwomen in shots, they fell in goals scored, losing 2-3 in a tough battle.
Sophomore Audrey Pillsbury earned the first goal of the game, scoring her seventh of the season just 13 minutes into the contest. Union returned this initial lead soon after, tying the game at 1-1. Both teams were unable to get their shots into the back of the net for the remainder of the first half.
However, sophomore Rebecca Andrews was able to produce another lead for the Brewers at the beginning of the second half, scoring her ninth goal of the season off of a penalty kick. This lead was once again returned by a Union goal within minutes. Though it seemed as if the game would head into overtime, the Dutchwomen received a penalty kick in the 85th minute and found the back of the net, securing their win.
Head Coach Corey Holton explained that the team is ready to move on from the loss and continue its season. Coach Holton stated, “We’re not focused on what happened this past week, we’re focused on coming out ready to compete in playoffs.”
Despite unfavorable results against Union, multiple Brewers recently earned various accolades for their outstanding performances. Sophomore midfielder Rebecca Andrews earned a place on the College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District 3 team for her role on and off the soccer field. She is only the second Vassar player to earn this award, following in the footsteps of goalie Emma Nichols, who graduated this past spring.
Andrews has been a consistent player in helping lead the Brewers to success in their games since her introduction to the team, earning Liberty League Rookie of the Year in her freshman year last season.
To rake in more awards for the Brewers, sophomore midfielder Audrey Pillsbury and senior goalkeeper Stephanie Tapolsky earned spots in the Liberty League Honor Roll for their notable performances on the field. With the help of Andrews, Pillsbury, and Talpolksy, the Brewers were hopeful for their Liberty League semi-final game against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Engineers.
Over the past week, the women made note of their weaknesses in their face-off against Union and sought improvement. Pillsbury noted, “The biggest take-away from our game against Union is that we can’t become complacent after we score and take the lead. In order to beat RPI moving forward, we will have to check in mentally for the entire 90 minutes.”
Freshman Gabrielle Deitch, who places third on the team for both goals and overall points, upheld these possible improvements. “Though one of our strengths against Union was our ability to pass around them and keep possession, we didn’t step up to the ball enough while defending. We gave players too much time and space to play balls in the box, so we will focus on that in our upcoming playoff game.”
Regardless of their ultimate loss against Union in the final game of the regular season, the Brewers had already solidified the No. 2 seed in the Liberty League Championships. Having won six games in the league this season, the team has set a current record for their program in conference victories.
The most wins prior to this season occurred in 2010 when the Brewers won five games and tied two in the Liberty League, earning the No. 2 seed then as well.
On Tuesday, Nov. 1, this year’s team took the field to battle RPI for the seat in the Liberty League championships against William Smith College.
This home game marked the first time the Brewers hosted a Liberty League playoff game since this memorable season in 2010.
“This is actually the fourth time in history we will be competing in the Liberty League tournament. Last year, we were seeded fourth and played in the playoffs as well,” Holton commented. “We’re excited about everything we’ve accomplished this season and we’re looking forward to continuing success.”
Although the women fought hard and demonstrated great talent, the Engineers defeated the Brewers in a 1-0 upset on Wednesday. With strong performances from Tapolsky and RPI’s goalkeeper Joey Lyons, both teams headed into halftime scoreless.
Unfortunately, the Engineers eventually reached the back of the net in the 64th minute as RPI’s Emily Kaplan passed to Jacqui Richard who launched the ball above Tapolsky. Down by a goal, Vassar’s squad then changed momentum to keep the ball on RPI’s end for most of the second half and shoot a total of 15 shots. While the Brewers were able to get off great shots, Lyons claimed the shutout on Wednesday and eliminated the Brewers from further championship play. In fact, as a freshman, Lyons has already earned the program’s record for most shutouts in the season.
Regardless of this upset,the women should be proud with their performances this season. The squad wrapped up a successful season with an overall record of 9-8-1 and a conference record of 6-2-0.
Though the squad will lose seven talented seniors, a significant crew of impactful underclassmen will return next season. The team will now begin training and practicing in hopes for an even more successful season in fall 2017.