May 7, 2013

COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Colby women's lacrosse makes it into NCAA tournament

By Matt DiFilippo
Staff Writer

In the most recent Division III national rankings for women's lacrosse, Colby College was seventh overall. The Mules were coming off an 11-10 conference tournament loss to Middlebury, a team ranked third in the country.

Yet when the Colby players and coaches gathered to watch the NCAA tournament selection show Sunday night, Colby coach Karen Henning described a room with a lot of nerves.

"There were only six at-larges and Middlebury and Bowdoin were going to go in ahead of us, no matter what," Henning said. "And then you don't know how the rest of the region's going to unfold and there's only four left."

Colby did get in and will host Lasell in a first-round game at 7 tonight at Bill Alfond Field. When interviewed on Monday morning, Henning said she and her assistants were in the process of gathering information about Lasell. She added that when you're playing an unfamiliar opponent in the tournament, it's more about focusing on your own team.

"It typically has to be," she said, "just because you don't get to see everyone."

Colby (12-4) will be a heavy favorite today against Lasell, which is 15-3 and won the Great Northeast Athletic Conference. The teams have no common opponents, but if you go an extra degree of separation, you find that Western New England played both the University of New England and Lasell. Western New England won both games by scores of 19-18 and 20-19, respectively, which would indicate that UNE and Lasell are fairly even. Colby did play UNE at home and won 18-0.

Lasell has scored a whopping 317 goals in 18 games. Junior Britney Wuorio had four goals after two games this season, but now has 83 goals and 46 assists and ranks as one of the top scorers in the country in Division III. Ashley Slattery has 62 goals and 53 assists and three other players have between 30 and 40 goals.

Colby is coming off a gut-wrenching loss to Middlebury. The Mules lost 14-6 to the Panthers in the regular season, falling behind 12-0 at one point. This time, Colby led 6-1 in the first half and was still ahead 10-6 with 23 minutes left in the game, only to have Middlebury score the final five goals for the win.

"I think that it was a great game," Henning said. "They're a very good team. We made some mistakes down the end that they capitalized on and, if we had kept our composure, I think it would have been a 'W.' We just let it get away from us. But overall, it was some of the best lacrosse we've played all year."

* * *

Thomas College will likely lose both of its basketball coaches. The Augusta school board has a meeting tonight and the names submitted to fill the Cony High School varsity basketball coaching vacancies are Thomas men's coach T.J. Maines for the Cony boys and Thomas women's coach Ted Rioux for the Cony girls.

Maines compiled a record of 89-88 over seven seasons at Thomas. The Terriers finished 13-12 this winter for their fifth consecutive winning season under Maines. Rioux compiled a record of 12-38 in two seasons with the Terriers. Of the six players who got at least 10 starts for the Thomas women this winter, five were freshmen.

One of those freshmen was Messalonskee High School graduate Megan Pelletier, who averaged 16.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and led the Terriers in most statistical categories.

"I understand completely why (Coach Rioux) decided to do that," Pelletier said. "I completely respect his decision and wish him the best at Cony and enjoyed having him as a coach."

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