It was a tale of two games for Brewers women’s lacrosse this past weekend, as they split their home doubleheader, defeating RIT 19-13 on Friday, April 6, before falling to University of Rochester a day later in a much lower-scoring match-up, 9-7. These matches brought their record in the Liberty League to 2-2, and 3-6 overall.
In their victory on Friday, April 6, the Brewers’ offense was firing on all cylinders, which led to a season high of 18 goals scored, eight more than the team average for the year. This offensive explosion started early in the game, with six goals coming in just the first 10 minutes of play. This high scoring rate can be attributed to unselfish offensive team play from the Brewers, as five of the six points were assisted.
The Brewers were unable to find this same offensive rhythm against Rochester, scoring only seven goals for the whole game, only one of which was assisted. The team did manage 32 shots, but 17 saves from Rochester goalkeeper Conley Ernst kept them from making the most of it.
Some of the Brewer’s offensive woes against Rochester can be attributed to fatigue coming off the RIT game just the day before. Senior midfielder Olivia O’Loughlin explained, “I think they ended up getting the better of us because we had a really tough doubleheader weekend and we came out and really killed RIT yesterday, so it was hard to get that double game win. I think it was a combination of being tired and I think our shot placement could have been a little bit better, and because we were tired we were throwing away a few too many balls.”
Despite these offensive struggles, a strong defensive performance and a career-high 15 saves by senior goalkeeper Emily Chancey managed to keep the Brewers close for much of the game, and with just 22 minutes left in the second half, a goal from O’Loughlin tied the score 4-4. However, this would be the last time Vassar equaled Rochester, as the Yellowjackets responded with five goals over the next 10 minutes to put the game out of reach. Senior attacker Storm Sideleau led a late comeback attempt, scoring three of her four goals in the last eight minutes, including two in only 40 seconds. Despite a valiant individual effort, it was too little too late.
Said head coach Judy Finerghty: “Today was tough, we didn’t execute very well on the front end until the end of the game when it was a little too late, we had a really hard time scoring in the second half. We just need to execute a little bit better in certain parts of the game, particularly being a little more aggressive on offense.”
While the Brewers were unable to take the second game of the doubleheader, their effort and energy across both games is a promising sign for
the rest of the season. O’Loughlin said, “I think we really came together as a team and learned how to play for a full 60 minutes, which is huge because that’s going to be a huge step going forward for the rest of the season.”
According to Finerghty, the Brewers will work on their offense and finishing in order to be able to consistently put up high numbers as they did against RIT.
“We just need to execute a little bit better in certain parts of the game, particularly being a little more aggressive on offense,” Finerghty said. “We obviously need to get more comfortable with our offenses and get everybody more aggressive, and just [improve] our shooting, we were shooting right at the goalie’s stick a bunch of times today and that didn’t help either.”
Although Finerghty believes their offense still needs work, one aspect that she did appreciate about the team’s performance against Rochester was their effort. “I think the team played hard, it was good effort, it was good competition,” Finerghty said. “It’s a disappointing loss, but at the same time, the team played hard, and you can’t ask anything more than that.”
Fable was in agreement that the team’s intensity and drive to win were present throughout the weekend, and she believes this is a sign of good things to come for the team.
“I think our effort was there both games, and we definitely played our hearts out,” Fable said. “Our effort is always there, we always hustle after everything, and we definitely have the drive to win, so I think if that continues then there’s no way we’re gonna lose the next couple of games.”
Fable’s statement will be put to the test on Saturday, April 14 on the road against William Smith College, who are currently ranked number 20 in all of Division III.