Last month was a big one for court battles … on the basketball court, that is. The women's basketball team toppled previously undefeated St. Lawrence 79-75 to earn their second consecutive Liberty League Championship. Sophomore Cydni Matsuoka was named the Championship Most Valuable Player. The Brewers now advance to the first round of the NCAA Division III Championships, where they'll face Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania.
On February 18, Vassar hosted its third Faculty-Student Basketball Game. The annual match-up serves as a fundraiser co-hosted by the All-School Gift Committee and the Dean of the College Office. As always, it pitted Old School (faculty members, administrators, and staff) versus New School (students). Dean of Students D.B. Brown and Senior Class Gift co-chair Race Bottini ’12 provided commentary while the crowd twirled Just Brew It towels.
Team Old School jumped out to an early lead. The game remained close for a while, until Team New School surged in the final minutes of the game, securing victory. The students now lead the faculty, administrators, and staff 2-1 overall. The event raised $2,000 for the Internship Grant Fund, to which students can apply for assistance paying for summer housing and other internship costs.
Not to be outdone, earlier in the month alumnae/i from Vassar’s varsity basketball squads returned to campus for matches of their own.
On the men’s side, 22 alumni from classes spanning 1980 through 2010 squared off. They came from as close as Dutchess County, and in the case of Anthony Mannara ’80, from as far away as Milan, Italy. The men played full-court, 5-on-5, with two 20-minute halves. Assistant coaches Matthew Healing and Sean Rigothi officiated the match. Senior captains Nick Justiz and Ethan Shanley served as coaches for the alum teams, with junior Jon Herzog assisting as well. A lunch for alumni and current players followed, before the current varsity student team faced Union College at the Athletics and Fitness Center.
Prior to the game, all in attendance observed a moment of silence for basketball alumnus Jon Swartz ’08. Swartz and his teammates won the ECAC championship his junior year, and played in the Liberty League Championships his junior and senior years. He passed away from a rare form of cancer the morning of the alumni game.
On the women’s side, eight alumnae from classes 2006 through 2011 came from throughout the Northeast and from Texas. They played a half-court, 4-on-4 match with six-minute quarters. The game went into a three-minute overtime. “They’re competitive,” says assistant women’s basketball coach Margaret White. “They didn’t want it to end in a tie.”
Following the alumnae game, the women’s team also faced Union. A catered reception ended the day. With several recruits on-hand, plus current players and alumnae, coach Candice Brown commented on how gratifying it was to have the program’s past, present, and future all in the same room. “It was a really special event,” says White.
For more photos from both the alumni and alumnae basketball games, visit the Flickr slideshow.
For more basketball and other sports action, read more on The Sports Page in this month's issue.
Liberty League Championship photo courtesy St. Lawrence Athletics. Faculty-Student Basketball Game photo courtesy Miscellany News / Madeline Zappala '12. Alumni and alumnae basketball game photos © Stockton Photo, Inc.