Talented opponents test prowess of VC winter sports

Senior Olivia Weiss competes in epee during the Matt Lampell Invitational in Vassar’s Walker Field House. Weiss and the rest of the squad will next face Yale University on the road. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

Men’s Swimming and Diving

The Brewers started off the spring semester with a splash as they earned first place in the Skidmore Sprint Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 29. To earn this win, Vassar accumulated 466 points to surpass Skidmore, Bard and SUNY Cobleskill.

VC displayed domination early in the four-day meet as seniors Chris Cerutti and Anthony Walker, junior Jonah Strand and freshman Harrison Taylor earned first place in the 200 medley relay, the first event of the invitational.

The success continued as freshman Jordan Kalina took home first place in the 500 free with a time of 5:03.42. Senior Patrick Lai then clinched second place in the 50 freestyle, finishing in 30.18.

Walker, Strand and Taylor swept the leaderboards of the 100 fly, taking home first, second and third place, respectively. Walker tapped in at 53.16, soon followed by Strand at 53.75 and Taylor at 57.78. In the 400 IM, junior Luke Morrison bested his seed time by 10 seconds with a time of 4:46.79 to earn second place.

As the Brewers took the top five spots in the 50 fly, VC earned over 62 points, the point differential between meet-winner Vassar and second-place Skidmore. In the event, Walker claimed first place with a time of 24.17, followed by Taylor (25.84), Morrison (25.89), freshman Matthew Imiolek (26.59) and Kalina (27.36).

Other victorious Brewers include sophomore Michael Colletta who took home third place in the 100 free, Cerutti who finished in second in the 50 backstroke and Walker who was victorious in the 200 freestyle.

Not losing any momentum, Strand returned to the pool to take home two more wins in the 100 yard IM and the 100 backstroke. Morrison finished behind Strand in the 100 yard IM to get third with a time of 1:01.48.

Finishing the meet on a high note, Vassar took home first and second place in the 200 free relay with Walker, Gabriel, Cerutti and Yaron at finishing first, followed by Colletta, Kalina, Morrison and Taylor for second.

The Brewers will dive into action against Montclair State University on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at 6 p.m. at home.

Women’s Swimming and Diving

Traveling to Saratoga Springs, NY, the women’s swimming and diving teams competed in the Skidmore Sprint Invitational against William Smith, Skidmore, SUNY Cobleskill and Bard. William Smith won the invitational with 472.5 points as Vassar finished at third with 347 points.

To start off the day, the 200 medley relay team of senior captain Julia Cunningham, freshman Laura Vidano and sophomores Hayley Schultz and Meg Harrington earned second place with a time of 1:58.17. The squad touched in just over three seconds behind William Smith.

Sophomore Kael Ragnini annihilated her competition in the 500 free as she finished over nine seconds before the second place swimmer, Skidmore’s Elizabeth Levy. Cunningham and Schultz then each collected another second place win in the 100 backstroke and 50 backstroke, respectively.

Vidano then returned to the pool to swim the 100 butterfly in a season-best 1:04.10 to clinch the win. Behind Vidano, senior Zoe Kurtz tapped in at 1:18.17 to earn seventh place.

The 400 IM was a big event for the Brewers as Cunningham brought home first, junior Emily McDaniels finished in fifth with a season-best time of 5:17.81, followed by and senior captain Kayla Schwab for sixth.

Cunningham continued demonstrating her prowess as she earned first place in the 50 butterfly, shortly followed by Vidano at two. More Brewers reached the leaderboards in the 100 freestyle as Harrington grabbed second and Ragnini took home fourth.

To wrap up the meet, the 200 free relay finished in second as Vidano, McDaniels, Ragnini and Harrington tapped in at 1:48.47.

VC will next head to the biggest competition of the year, the Upper New York State Swimming and Diving (UNYSCSA) Championships from Feb. 15 through 18 at Ithaca College.

Junior captain Jesse Browne sets up play in recent home match against non-conference opponent Trinity College. Brewers continue league play against Union College on Friday, Feb. 3. / Courtesy of Carlisle Stockton

Men’s Basketball

Vassar men’s basketball faced a tough weekend on the road as they fell to both Hobart (70-92) and Rochester Institute of Technology (83-86) on Jan. 27 and 28.

On Friday, VC held strong the first half and entered the break leading 34-30. During the first half, the Brewers outshot the Statesmen with a 45.8 percent success rate for field goals as Hobart only scored 28.57 percent.

However, Hobart turned things around in the second half and shot 68.97 percent for field goals and 60 percent from the three-point arc. Vassar was unfortunately unable to hold the lead shortly after halftime and trailed the Statesmen for the rest of the competition.

The captains commanded Vassar’s points as junior Jesse Browne led the squad with 24 points, followed by sophomore Alex Seff with 12 points and senior Mickey Adams with nine. Following the captains, freshman Mattie Mrlik tabbed six points as sophomore Mason Dyslin scored five and sophomore Steve Palecki posted four.

Hoping to turn things around, the Brewers took the court against the RIT Tigers the next day, Jan. 28. Early in the game, RIT capitalized on offensive opportunities and quickly took the lead. The Liberty League squads entered halftime with RIT ahead 48-39.

After the break, RIT increased its lead by 18 points, with a score of 77-59. Nevertheless, Vassar regained momentum and went on a 24-5 point run to take the lead with a mere 29 seconds left. Being fouled twice, RIT converted three out of its four foul shots to take the final lead and the game.

Freshman Kyle Kappas was Vassar’s standout player as he added a career-high 13 points, an assist and a steal. Browne was the leading scorer of the day with 20 points as Dyslin tabbed 18 and Seff contributed 13.

The men will return for more league play on Friday, Feb. 3, taking on the Union Dutchmen.

Women’s Fencing

On Saturday, Jan. 28, the women’s fencing squad traveled to Providence, RI to compete against Brandeis University, Boston College, Brown University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Tufts University. These matches constituted the first day of the Northeast Fencing Conference.

VC earned two wins against Brown (14-13) and Tufts (15-12) while falling to Brandeis (7-20), Boston (13-14) and MIT (10-17). Against the Brandeis Judges, senior epee Olivia Weiss dominated and finished with a perfect record of 3-0. Continuing Vassar’s success, junior Annie Innes- Gold captured two wins in the first match of the day.

Next up, the foil team led the efforts against the BC Eagles as senior Elsa Stoff earned three wins while fellow senior Sophie Blumenstock notched two. Also against Boston, Weiss earned another two wins while sophomore Rose Hulsey-Vincent notched another win for the epee team. For the sabre squad, Innes-Gold held a perfect 3-0 record as freshman Stephanie Gull collected a win.

Later in the day, the Brewers clinched their first victory in program history over Brown. Contributing to this great accomplishment, Weiss and Innes-Gold again finished 3-0 and Hulsey-Vincent, Stoff and sophomore foil Mirit Rutishauser each picked up two wins.

Even though VC fell to MIT next, Innes-Gold and Gull each went undefeated in the match. Vassar then earned its second win against Tufts as Stoff, Rutishauser and Blumenstock finished with two wins apiece in foil, Weiss and Hulsey-Vincent each tabbed two wins in epee and Gull and Innes-Gold earned two in sabre. With these wins, Innes-Gold and Weiss finished with strong records of 13-2 and 11-4, respectively.

Up next, Vassar will head to New Haven, CT to face Yale University on Saturday, Feb. 4 at noon.

Men’s Fencing

Similar to the women’s team, Vassar men’s fencing competed in the Northeast Fencing Conference and faced Brandeis, Boston College, Brown, MIT and Tufts on Saturday, Jan. 28. The Brewers finished 1-4 on the day with a significant 21-6 win over the Tufts Jumbos.

Although Vassar fell to Brandeis 12-15, the foil team finished victorious as junior Tom Racek and freshman Jack Holmes both finished 2-1. Freshman Ethan Levine and junior Eli Polston also earned two wins apiece in sabre.

The Brewers then unfortunately fell to BC 16-11. Nevertheless, Racek, Holmes and freshman Noe Berger each tabbed a win in foil as junior epees Jonathan Alperstein and George Whiteside posted two wins apiece. Polston and Levine both collected two victories against the Eagles.

Against VC’s 11-16 loss against Brown, Racek, Alperstein, Polston and sophomore Michael Skolnick posted two wins each. Then against MIT, Racek finished with a perfect 3-0, followed by Alperstein and Polston with 2-1 finishes.

Without losing hope, the Brewers turned things around to defeat Tufts, earning victories in all three weapons. The foilists dominated as Berger and Racek earned three wins each and Skolnick also finished undefeated at 2-0. Senior Jackson Dammann and Whiteside helped the epee team earn the 5-4 with a contribution of two wins. Lastly, Polston clinched three more wins in sabre as junior Eric Lee and freshman Graeme Mills collected two wins apiece as well.

On the day, Racek and Polston led the squad with the strongest records of 11-4. Meanwhile, the most success weapon team was foil, which ended with a 4-1 record.

VC will next face the Yale Bulldogs away on Saturday, Feb. 4.

Men’s Squash

Celebrating senior day, the Brewers took on Boston University and the University of Vermont on Saturday, Jan. 28 and Northeastern University on Sunday. The team recognized its four seniors: Richard Bryenton, Lucas Fifer, Samuel Hammer and Vincent Mencotti.

While the Brewers first fell to Boston 2-7, the squad shifted momentum to later crush UVM 9-0. Sophomore Caden Gruber was Vassar’s standout as he went 2-0 on the day, defeating BU’s Adam Witaker 11-9, 7-11, 11-9, 11-2 and Vermont’s Emily von Weise 11-0, 11-2, 11-2. Fellow sophomore Isaac Stuart also earned a win against Boston with close scores of 6-11, 11-4, 9-11, 11-8, 13-11.

Against Vermont, Mencotti, Hammer, Bryenton and freshmen Viraj Nadkarni and Ankit Khosla each earned wins in straight sets. At one and two, Mencotti and Nadkarni earned the victories with scores of 11-4, 11-4, 13-11 and 11-2, 11-1, 11-4, respectively.

Returning on Sunday, the men faced Northeastern for day two at the Hudson Valley Team Tournament. Junior Alex Riccio and Mencotti notched impressive five-set wins against the Huskies. With great endurance, Riccio turned things around in the last two sets to win 11-13, 11-1, 7-11, 12-10, 11-9. However, these efforts were not enough as VC fell 5-8.

The Brewers will return to action on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 4 and 5 to compete in the Liberty League Championships at the University of Rochester.

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