Friday, December 13, 2013
By Matt DiFilippo email@example.com
WATERVILLE -- The Colby College women's lacrosse team did a lot of waiting Saturday afternoon as Hamilton took the lead and then played keep-away. Now, the Mules will have to do even more waiting -- and it's the kind they hoped to avoid with Saturday's game.
TOUGH DAY: Coby College goalie Michelle Burt, right, misses a shot against Hamilton College in the first round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference women’s lacrosse playoffs Saturday at Colby College in Waterville.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
Hamilton, the No. 7 seed in the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament, upset No. 2 Colby 9-4 at Bill Alfond Field. The loss means the Mules -- who were 13-1 in the regular season -- will not find out until May 6 or 7 whether they are selected for the NCAA Division III tournament.
Of course, Hamilton is not the quality of team you'd usually think of as a No. 7 seed. The Continentals (7-9) were ranked No. 19 in the country in the latest NCAA Division III national poll, and recently lost by one goal to a Trinity team ranked No. 1 in the NESCAC and third in the nation.
But while it wasn't a monumental upset, it was still an upset. Colby was unbeaten at home this year, and had defeated Hamilton 11-9 on March 20.
"We were more organized, and we had some confidence going into this game," Hamilton coach Patty Kloidt said. "I think we just are more familiar with Colby at this point, and more familiar with ourselves."
Colby led 2-1 after 13 minutes on goals by Lindsey McKenna and Sarah Lux. But Hamilton won 10 of the 15 draw controls in the game, and that led to more shots for the Continentals, especially in the first half. Hamilton took control on goals by Rachel Friedman, Emily Brodsky and Katie D'Antonio, and only Colby goalkeeper Michelle Burt's eight first-half saves kept the Mules within 4-2 at the half.
Sophomore midfielder Katharine Eddy, who normally takes draw controls for Colby and has scored 30 points in nine games, is out with a knee injury.
"I thought we had been doing well on the draw," Colby coach Karen Henning said. "We started to figure out what we had to do without her. Obviously, we miss her. I think she's an excellent player, and it's one more person that you can look to in these situations. But I think there were people who have been stepping up and doing a good job."
Colby's Katie Griffin scored in traffic 3:32 into the second half, but Friedman scored less than a minute later, and D'Antonio added a wraparound goal to make it 6-3. Throughout the second half, the Continentals spent long stretches passing the ball around on offense.
"That was the plan once we got the lead," Kloidt said. "Colby has a defense that slides very well as team, and I think you benefit from spreading them out."
Henning thought Colby also made some little mistakes, such as trying for the hardest of two or three possible passes. The Mules got their last goal when Griffin fed Welch for a score with 18:12 left, but were forced out of their game as time wound down. Goalkeeper Kari Koga, who played the second half for Hamilton, made six saves on eight shots on goal.
"Some of our risks at the end made the score look bigger than it would have been, typically," Henning said. "But we had to go out and press. We had to go out and try to get the ball back. They did a good job taking the time off the clock to not give us the opportunity on the offensive end."
The Mules will now simply hope that the committee respects their impressive regular-season r sum -- a 5-1 record against teams in the most recent top 20 in the nation, and a 9-1 record in one of the toughest conferences in the country.
"I'm hopeful that our regular season will show that we deserve a bid," Henning said. "That's up to the NCAA, but I think we did everything we could during the regular season."
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243