Wednesday, April 23, 2014
There is only one game that could overshadow Colby's April 20 showdown with Middlebury, the No. 3 ranked team in the country. That game is Colby's meeting with Trinity, the No. 1 women's lacrosse team in the country, at noon, Sunday.
"The senior class has never played Trinity at Colby, which I think they're all looking forward to," Colby coach Karen Henning said.
Colby was 6-0 heading into Tuesday night's game against Husson in Bangor. Trinity is 7-0, and has won 15 consecutive games dating back to last spring. The New England Small College Athletic Conference has five teams ranked in the top 10, with Bowdoin (ninth) and Amherst (10th), joining Colby, Middlebury and Trinity.
The only common opponent for Colby and Trinity so far this year is Tufts. Colby defeated Tufts 14-9 on the road, while Trinity beat the Jumbos 13-4 at home. The Bantams edged Colby twice last season by scores of 11-9 and 7-5. The second meeting was in the NCAA quarterfinals.
Colby also owns victories over Hamilton (ranked 15th in the country) and Amherst. Kate Pistel, Katharine Eddy, and Lindsey McKenna lead a deep offense for the Mules.
"I'm really excited," Henning said. "The girls are focused. They're learning every day. We're definitely not satisfied with where we're at, but we're absolutely happy with our progression."
The day before facing Trinity, Colby hosts Wesleyan, a team the Mules struggled to beat 12-9 last spring.
"Last year's Wesleyan game wasn't our best game," Henning said. "We were sloppy. We were undisciplined. That's just not going to cut it heading into the Trinity game. I think, ultimately, we have to play well both days to be successful."
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It's a measure of how far Colby softball has come this season that coach Kristina Katori laments the Mules could have won a couple more games on their Florida trip. As it was, Colby went 5-5 on the trip after finishing 2-8 down south last spring. The Mules didn't win their fifth game last season until April 10, which was their 17th game.
Sophomore Meghan Lewia is hitting .486 for the Mules, and Lauren Becker is at .400. Also over .300 are Emily Schatz (.351), Lindsay Peterson (.333), Brianne Wheeler (.306), and Hall-Dale graduate Carylanne Wolfington (.306). Two other starters are each hitting .267. Catcher Erica Pulford has thrown out half of the 12 runners who have tried to steal against her.
Colby compiled these impressive statistics despite weather that was at times more conducive to couches and fireplaces than tanners. The Mules had one game suspended by a tornado warning and faced rough weather a few other days.
"The weather was a factor," Katori said. "You don't expect it to be 53 degrees and 30 to 40 mile winds in Florida. I think it was warmer here."
Bad weather has followed the Mules around, as Katori said they'll make a late decision on whether they can play today's scheduled doubleheader with Maine Maritime. She's confident Friday's game with Bates will go on as planned.
Most importantly, the Mules are excited to get back on the field.
"There's a stronger confidence, I think," Katori said. "We're still finding -- I call it our swagger. Even down four runs, we're confident we can come back from that. And we did this week."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243