Women’s soccer earns shock NCAA Tournament bid
Following a crushing defeat to RIT in the Liberty League quarterfinals on Oct. 30—a game in which the Brewers gave away a two-goal lead in the final moments of regulation before losing in extra time— the Vassar women’s soccer team thought their season was over. At 9-7-1 on the season, the team figured that, to make the NCAA Tournament, they had needed the automatic bid that comes with winning the Liberty League—or at very least they had needed to make a deep run in league postseason play. “Season Ends in Heartbreaking Fashion,” read the headline on the Vassar athletics website.
Yet on Monday, Nov. 5, after almost a week without practicing or meeting as a group, the team found out they’d received an at-large bid to the 64-team NCAA Tournament. Said senior defender Megan Coughlan on hearing the news: “The bid definitely came as a shock—none of us were expecting it. I’m super stoked, though, that my career isn’t quite over and that I can come out of retirement for one last go!”
Not only does the bid come as a welcome surprise, it also marks the first time that the team has made the tournament in the history of the program. In granting Vassar an at-large bid, the NCAA Division III selection committee was likely rewarding the Brewers for playing a difficult schedule and for several wins against high-quality opponents, most notably Stevens, Western Connecticut State and #15 RIT in September and then #7 William Smith in October.
On the same day as the at-large bid was announced, the Liberty League also doled out its All-League selections. The Brewers landed five players on the list. Senior Rebecca Andrews made First Team All-League, first-year Emma Tanner and senior Emma Lavelle made Second Team, and sophomore Ashley Ferry and senior Dahlia Chroscinski made Honorable Mention.
In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Vassar will travel to Amherst, MA, on Saturday, Nov. 10, to face the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (16-2-3) of the NEWMAC conference.
Men’s soccer bows out of Liberty League playoffs
Facing rival Hobart in the first round of the Liberty League playoffs, the men’s soccer team couldn’t recover from the concession of two early goals and fell by a final of 4-2. Junior Mattie Mrlik and first-year Eamon Geraghty scored for Vassar. The loss knocked the Brewers (9-7-0) out of the league tournament, ending their season. The Brewers will rue injuries that kept senior center back Tim Collins and junior striker Kevin Baliat—both starters and key contributors—out of the playoff clash.
The season saw Mrlik lead the team in goals with five; Baliat, junior Henrik Olsson, junior Jonathan Bow and first-year Quinn Tunnell added three apiece. Junior keeper Will Marment started 13 games for the Brewers, racking up 47 saves.
On Nov. 5, the Liberty League announced that four members of the Vassar men’s team were selected for All-Liberty League Honors. Mrlik and senior center back Tyler Gilmore earned First Team honors, with Marment and Baliat named to the Second Team.
Women’s and men’s cross country sweep ECAC meet
On Saturday, Nov. 3, the women’s and men’s cross country teams traveled to Milton, NY, to compete in the Eastern College Athletic Conference championship meet. Both teams would come away with dominant wins on a course modified after heavy rain. For the women’s side, all five scoring runners finished in the top eight overall, giving the Brewers a resounding 47-point win over the second place team, St. Joseph’s. Junior Meghan Cook took second place overall, with sophomore Seneca Straub placing fourth, first-year Anna Hennessy fifth, first-year Keara Ginell sixth and first-year Erin Clark eighth.
The men’s team also won in dominant fashion, placing all five runners in the top 13. Senior Ry Blume led the Brewers with a third-place finish, with senior Sam Kobrin and first-year Johnathan Dean also finishing in the top 10. All three earned AllECAC honors, given to runners placing in the top 25, as did Eli Bashant, a junior, and Vidal Gutierrez, a sophomore.
Both teams should face stiffer competition at the Regional Championship meet.
Swimming and diving teams off to hot start
After three meets—against Brandeis, Bard and Skidmore—the women’s swimming and diving team is undefeated, while the men’s team is 2-1. In their most recent meet, against Skidmore, the women’s team finished first in 12 of 16 events. Standout performances included first-year Kendall Hayes’ three individual event wins, and two individual wins apiece from sophomore Brynn Lautenbacher and first-year Jesse Ecklund.
For the Vassar men, sophomore Max White stole the headlines, beating his own pool record in the 200 backstroke by almost two seconds. White also picked up individual wins in the 100 backstroke and 200 freestyle. White’s day earned him Liberty League Swimmer of the Week honors for the second time already this season. First-year Jake Mier also shone, winning the 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley.