Women's lacrosse defeats ninth-ranked Williams
The eighth-ranked Colby College women’s lacrosse team traveled to Williamstown, Mass. this past Saturday to open the season against ninth-ranked Williams College. The Mules kept the fans on their toes as they overcame an 11-9 deficit with less than 14 minutes to play to come up with a 13-12 victory against the Ephs.
The rivalry between the Mules and Ephs has surfaced as one of the better in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) over the past few seasons. The Mules earned the NESCAC Championship in 2009 in a 12-10 win over the Ephs, only to fall to the Ephs in the NESCAC Final in the proceeding 2010 season. This seemingly continuous pattern has lead to highly anticipated season openers for the Mules and Ephs, holding true for this 2011 season.
The Mules came out strong against the Ephs, producing seven goals in the first half, holding the Ephs to a 7-5 lead at halftime. However, the Ephs turned it on in the second half, outscoring Colby by a 5-1 margin from 21:36 to 13:58, earning them a two-goal lead over the Mules with 13:58 to play.
The Mules were determined not to let history repeat itself regarding their 2010 loss to the Ephs in the NESCAC Championship game, and the spark that ignited the Mules came from the opposite end of the field. Senior co-captain and all-region defender Lexi Crook put her talent and leadership on display as she carried the ball up the field and scored off a free-position shot to cut the lead to 11-10 with 13:25 to play.
“In general, having a defender score rarely happens. Having it happen at such a crucial time in the game and coming from a senior taking control and showing the confidence to take risks and have those risks pay off was exactly what we needed to come back from being down,” said fellow co-captain defender Mary Cummings. “It’s key having such a close knit defense and having such a level of trust for each other. When you go for a double and know your teammate will have your back is what makes a defensive unit successful.” The Mules defense returns three starters from the 2010 season: Crook, Cummings and sophomore Lisa Hoopes, with a valuable new addition of sophomore Meghan Mooney.
First-year attacker Alex Mintz made her presence known when she tied the game with 10:32 remaining off a perfect feed from sophomore Tess Petesch. The Colby first-years weren’t done yet, as Katie Griffin ’14 tallied her third goal of the day off a free-position shot to pull ahead by one with 9:23 to go. Williams sophomore Sam Weinstein answered back with a tricky shot from outside the eight-meter circle, slipping past the Colby defenders and senior goaltender Sarah Warnke to tie the score once again at 12-12 with 5:49 remaining.
Sophomore Kate Pistel, a member of the 2010 NESCAC All-Rookie Team, needed just 24 seconds off the draw to net the game-winning goal, when she cut across the eight-meter circle and hit the bottom right corner off a left-handed shot, passing Ephs goaltender Julia Schreiber. The Mules showed tremendous hustle and perseverance, holding the Ephs scoreless for the remaining 5:25 to play. A double from Pistel and Hoopes caused Weinstein a turnover for a ground ball to Cummings, giving possession to the Mules to finish out the game.
Warnke had a tremendous season opener, stopping 14 shots and coming up with four groundballs for the Mules. Schreiber made 15 saves for the Ephs. Griffin led the scoring with three goals in her first game as a Colby Mule; Pistel and Lindsey McKenna ’14 each had two, while midfielder Claire Donegan ’12 along with Petesch each had one goal accompanied with one assist. Seniors Casey Thomas and Anne Geraghty also contributed to the win by each adding a goal.
“It’s very exciting how the [first-years] stepped up in their first game, and that six of our goals were from first-year players. I think we are all very excited and confident in what they will add to our team this year. The depth of our team is crucial; any player can step up and deliver on any given day, which is something that I think distinguishes our team amongst the others in the NESCAC,” said senior co-captain attacker Katie Briody.
Kaitlin Ellis (four goals, one assist) and Weinstein (three goals, two assists) both had five points on the day for Williams.
The win against the Ephs moved Colby up in the national rankings to number seven, as they gear up to host twelfth-ranked Tufts this Friday, March 18.