Vassar women’s lacrosse sets sights on Liberty League playoffs

Image courtesy of Stockton Photo, Inc.

The Vassar women’s lacrosse team got one step closer to achieving its season goals by scoring a colossal goal of its own against 17th-ranked Ithaca College this past Saturday. In a back and forth game that saw many lead changes, the Brewers found themselves down 11-9 entering the fourth quarter. Goals by Maddy Kretten ’23 and Reilly Mulcahy ’25 tied it up at 11 before Ithaca notched one more goal to take a 12-11 lead. With just over five minutes left in the game, Emma Torkelson ’25 tied it up again one last time to ensure the game would go down to the wire. Finally, with 32 seconds remaining, Mulcahy netted her fourth goal of the day to give the Brewers their biggest win of the season so far, Vassar Athletics reported. The Brewers improved to 6-4 on the season, including 3-3 in Liberty League play, putting them at sixth out of 11 teams in the League standings according to the League website, with big games against three of the top five teams in the League still ahead.

“Our big goal is to make the Liberty League playoffs this year. We know we have the talent to get there, so it’s about showing up to every practice and game with a winning mindset,” Trina Chou ’23 told The Miscellany News through email correspondence. Kretten expressed a similar sentiment: “We want to be a force on the field and want teams in our league to recognize us as a threat and a team to beat.” 

But both Chou and Kretten recognized that achieving team success is about more than just setting a big goal. “One thing we do to achieve those goals is to take it game by game. We focus on the controllable and push ourselves in practice to make our big season goals happen for us,” Kretten explained. “Our team has done a lot of mindfulness training and thinking about what we can do as athletes, and so creating this way of thinking that really focuses on what we can do as a team has been super great in terms of improvement,” said Chou. “Finally, our last big goal is to show up with gratitude and love each other and the game. Besides being there for each other and celebrating every little thing, we’ve had a lot of injuries and it’s really helped us to remember to be grateful that we’re able to play and maintain our bodies in good conditions,” she added.

It would be inaccurate to say that the last four years have allowed for Kretten and Chou, who are both seniors, to have a typical career. Their first-year season was cut short when campus was shut down in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19, and although they had the opportunity to play some games in Spring 2021, restrictions were still very tight, and it was far from a normal season.

“For my class, last year was actually our first full season given that our first two were impacted by COVID, so it was a learning curve for all of us,” Chou remarked. “Me and the other captains this year were very determined to set the tone right from the beginning that this year would be the right combination of competitive but fun that we needed to be successful, and so far I feel as if we’ve been pretty successful.” Kretten also emphasized the importance of being a cohesive team, commenting: “Our emphasis on success for this season has been we win as a team and lose as a team and no matter what we always have each other’s backs and are always supporting each other which is why we’ve been successful so far.”

That camaraderie and bond as a team is as important as anything to Kretten and Chou. With a single-digit number of weeks left until graduation, they also reflected on what the team has meant to them during their time at Vassar. 

“Being a member of the lacrosse team these past four years has been the best experience of my life. I have so much love for my teammates. They have motivated me to be the best version of myself on and off the field and they are truly my second family and have made Vassar so enjoyable for me,” Kretten conveyed.

Chou was equally thankful for the experience of being on the team over the last four years. “It’s given me a sense of community here at Vassar right from day one. And as cliché as it sounds, being on the team has allowed me to play a sport that I love at the highest level while also getting a fantastic education,” Chou shared. She added, “The connections and friends I’ve made through the lacrosse team and even within the Vassar Athletics community are truly irreplaceable, and I’m extremely grateful for everything I’ve received these past four years!”

Up next for the Brewers is a critical match on April 15 against Union College, who currently sits at fourth in the league standings. After that, they will close out their season with three more league matchups, including games against St. Lawrence University and William Smith College who are ranked fifth and first in the league respectively, according to the League website.

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