By Tony Brown
PISCATAWAY, NJ - Under the lights at Rutgers University, the Vassar Women’s purpose and energy led to a 39-29 victory. The result makes this look very much like the season that could have been. Earlier losses to Binghamton and Marist mean that the fall is done for the Brewers and Rutgers will be going to the playoffs.
Vassar’s Dallas Robinson caught the opening kick-off, fended off the first tackler, and the forwards piled into the first ruck. Moments later, Shanaye Williams did the same as she picked and pushed off the first tackler making good yards up the field. It sent an early message that the Vassar forwards were not to be messed with. At the first scrum the Rutgers number nine was caught in possession by Yael Schwartz and Meg Slattery and although she would have a good night, she was kept under pressure by the rucking and scrummaging of the Vassar forwards.
The first try of the night was scored by Nicole Guererro. The Vassar backs broke through when Hannah Bober passed to fullback Hannah Fink, who went about 20 yards before being brought down. A few phases later Guererro sliced through and Vassar led 5-0.
Vassar had plenty of self-belief based on their good start and two tries to show for their efforts. They had to keep the ball in hand and limit the number of possessions for the home team. Vassar tightened up their game and kept the ball close. But the battle raged on with hard rucking and hard running winning out as Vassar kept pounding the fringes. Rutgers tackled and tackled but they rarely got good quality ball.
Vassar fought hard all night and held off Rutgers for the 39-29 victory. The season may be over, but the team showed a lot in the win and went out on a high note.