Participants welcome back competitive intramural seasons

Sports for everyone—what’s not to love?

For students, intramurals provide an opportunity to exercise amidst what can be a hectic school week, taking a study break to engage in healthy, athletic competition. According to sophomore Pablo Napoli Borrero, who is playing soccer, intramurals are a great creative escape. Added senior Emmett O’Malley, involved in soccer and volleyball, “[Intramurals are] a combination of having a good time and an outlet for competition.” While the games can get intense as the season progresses, at their core, intramurals are about having fun and forging friendships. Participants are happy to see intramurals return.

On Sunday, Sept. 16, Vassar’s fall intramural season commenced, kicking off with outdoor soccer. The following day, intramural volleyball teams took the court for the first time.

So, how did the first week shape up? Are there teams to look out for? And what does the season have in store?

Let’s begin with outdoor soccer. Here are the teams to watch:

Cactus Jack FC: If week one taught us anything, it was to watch out for powerhouse Cactus Jack FC. The team posted 15 goals in a mere 38 minutes with ease, dominating Vassar Soccer Squad by a score of 15-5. Within the first three minutes, Borrero’s squad jumped out to a 4-0 advantage, and while their opponents attempted to stop the bleeding, there was no coming back from this one. The team’s excellence, however, is no mystery, as the group is comprised of committed, lifelong soccer players, many of whom led their high school teams to league and even state championships. Two members of Cactus Jack, Borrero and junior Lou Karaiskos, played on the Vassar men’s team last year, and sophomore Stefano Rozental joined the Brewers varsity team for its spring season. First-year Christian Gehres showed off his promise in the opener as well, notching three goals, including a deep strike into the top right corner. In summary, Cactus Jack FC has the talent to make it all the way. The big question now is whether anyone will be able to eclipse their strong start.

Central Receiving FC: While Cactus Jack began brightest, Central Receiving FC is not far behind, and quickly established themselves among the league’s upper echelon. Led by firstyear captain William Wells, the team toppled the Spitballers with a decisive 9-1 triumph. The group, which, like Cactus Jack, consists of many former high school soccer players, is strong from top to bottom, exhibited by their ability to advance the ball upfield and make the extra pass to set up easy goals. This is possible largely due to the team’s strong first-year class, including Dana McRae and Harrison Gable, each of whom had impressive high school careers, making allstate and all-league, respectively. This dynamic duo shined on the field, contributing more than half of the team’s scoring in the opener. Central Receiving FC’s young flair and team cohesion should take them far this season.

Zizou: Another strong contender and talented squad, Zizou proved their merit with a resolute 8-3 victory over Unatletico Jewett. While Unatletico put up a fight early on, Zizou was able to break away immediately in the second half, primarily thanks to skilled goal scorer senior Daniel Elendu and tidy ball movement by senior captain Karam Al Rayess. The team is made up of 10 players—a rare feat in seven-on-seven intramural soccer—and their depth enables them to rest players throughout the game. While other teams experience fatigue come the second half, Zizou’s ability to substitute enables players to recover and enter the game energized, translating to higher goal scoring. This veteran squad has been here before and will be a tough matchup for anyone trying to stand in their way.

What to watch for in the week to come:

Cactus Jack FC squares off against Central Receiving FC this week in a long-awaited match; the winner will move into first place.

Zizou takes on Spud Cannon, hoping to extend their strong start as Spud Cannon hopes to remedy their early season struggles.

Unatletico Jewett plays BDE, both teams vying for their first win on the season.

Vassar Soccer Squad competes with Snappychat, the loser likely falling to the bottom of the IM rankings.

Across campus in Kenyon Hall, the initial intramural volleyball games have also provided some idea of which teams will be toughest to beat:

Wholesome Hitters: After only a few points, it became apparent that the adept Wholesome Hitters would be the team to beat for the year. Led by team captain and hard-hitter senior Paul An, the team easily vanquished Vassar Baseball by a margin of 2 sets to 0. Despite Baseball’s athleticism and distinct height advantage, the skilled play of the Wholesome Hitters combined with their unity and optimism made it difficult for Baseball to keep up. While intramural teams often boast one or two strong players, this troupe of six is solid throughout, each supplying clean strokes in conjunction with high volleyball IQ. Their love of the game and consistent talent will make this team extremely difficult to beat—so watch out.

Prestige Worldwide: What do you get when you combine the assistant coaches of men’s soccer, women’s soccer, cross country, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and baseball? Exactly what you would expect—a cohesive, multi-talented intramural squad. Led by spirited team captain Blayne Fuke, the group comfortably routed

Transition Into the Best in their season opener in straight sets. Prestige Worldwide’s all-out hustle mentality, buoyancy and knowledge of the game make them arduous to defeat, and their communication and dedication to setting up teammates epitomize a formidable team dynamic. As Brewer coaches, this group’s experience and love of sports should precipitate a triumphant season and will render them a challenging opponent.

Vassar Baseball: Despite their initial loss to Wholesome Hitters, Vassar Baseball’s ability to contend with such a talented opponent demonstrates their belonging amongst the league’s best. The squad is huge: Most of the players stand over six feet tall, including first-year Zach Magee, who towers at 6’7”. While the group lacks proper hitting technique, their immense length enables them to easily hit down on the ball and reach above the net for blocks. Led by sophomore captain Patrick Fitzgerald, the team is able to transfer their chemistry from the field to the court. This ability, fused with their their agility and persistent, hard-working attitude, means that the squad has playoffs written all over them.

What to watch for in the week to come:

Wholesome Hitters takes on Vol. Up as each team battles for their second win.

Vassar baseball faces Prestige Worldwide, hoping to right the ship against their assistant coach after falling in their initial match.

The Geckos compete with Transition Into the Best, hoping to extend their win streak as Transition aims to avoid slipping to the bottom seed.

Very Much TBD battles Vassar Womp Womps, each searching for their first win.

Wondering how to get involved?

While sign-ups for fall intramurals have closed, registration for winter intramurals will open on Oct. 8. Sports on the roster for the winter season include both indoor soccer and floor hockey.

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