Inspiring Champions Inspiring Champions Inspiring Champions Graphic: Tennis Ball
Vassar Athletes Achieve a Banner Year
Vassar Athletes Achieve a Banner Year

The 2013/14 academic year proved to be an unprecedented banner time for sports at the College. Consider, in chronological order, just these three highlights:

  • On December 8, 2013, the Vassar women’s rugby team – the first rugby team to reach the Final Four in the College’s history – clinched a third-place finish at the American Collegiate Rugby Association tournament.
  • On the night of February 26, 2014, the Vassar women’s basketball team advanced to the league championship with a second-half come-from-behind victory – and then the Vassar men’s basketball team came from behind in the second half of their game to win and advance to their league championship finals, as well.
  • On May 24, 2014, Aubree Piepmeier ’14 and Heather Ingraham ’15 became the first Vassar track stars ever to earn All-American status, at the NCAA Division III Track Championships. Ingraham was fourth in the 400-meter run, and Piepmeier finished fifth in the 5,000-meter run.

There was, inevitably, much more to each story. Women’s rugby finished with a season record of 13-4, after rebounding from a loss in the semifinals to defeat Kutztown State, 24-15.  “We may be a small, liberal arts school, but now a lot of people know we have some wonderfully competitive athletes,” said the team’s coach, Tony Brown.

As for the women’s basketball team, after disposing of top-seeded St. Lawrence 64-60 to win their third Liberty League title in the last four years under head coach Candice Brown, the Brewers garnered their first-ever NCAA tournament win – a thrilling 76-75 victory over Williams – on March 7. The Brewers went on to lose a 72-71 heartbreaker to host Scranton the following day, but Vassar finished the season with a 23-6 record, the most wins in team history.

Vassar Athletes Achieve a Banner Year

The men’s basketball team provided the year’s Cinderella story, going all the way to the Liberty League Championship game and coming within a single point in double overtime of making it to the NCAA tournament.

Since the 2009-10 season, the Vassar men’s basketball team had compiled an overall record of 21-79, and had won just nine of their 60 Liberty League games, finishing eighth every year.  But under rookie head coach B.J. Dunne – at 26, the youngest head basketball coach in NCAA Division III – the men’s team tied for second in the Liberty League standings with a 10-6 record (19-8 overall – the most victories in its history) and reached the finals of the league playoffs for the first time ever. Vassar took top-seeded Hobart College into double overtime on March 1 before falling in the Liberty League championship game, 75-74.

Piepmeier’s All-America time of 16:41.93 – less than 24 hours before she received her Vassar diploma – was her personal best, and a Vassar record.  Ingraham also posted her fastest time ever, 55.31. Piepmeier also earned Academic All-America honors, and was presented with the 2014 Frances D. Fergusson Coaches Award by head track coach James McCowan, who called her “the best of what Vassar has to offer.”

Photos by: John Abbott, Chris Boswell, Nancy Crampton, Ennead Architects, Keith Ferris, Mark Fink, Moses Olmos, Karl Rabe, Shibuya, Samuel Stuart, Stockton Photo, Inc., Andrew Tallon, Tamar M. Thibodeau, Suguru Yaginuma

Continue to Gifts