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.”
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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.”
Pelletier said Rioux’s departure would not lead to her looking for another school.
“I enjoy the school very much,” she said. “I’m very happy. I love the people there.”
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Colby hosted the New England Division III track and field championships this weekend. Although they finished 15th among the 17th teams, the result was memorable for the Mules.
“Being home is practically magic,” Colby coach Jared Beers said. “It’s immensely challenging for the coaches and you don’t get to coach them as much on that day as you would another meet. But it’s worth it to have them get that experience.
“There’s just something special — especially for Colby. We tend to be the road warriors. If we’re lucky, we host one meet a year. We don’t host any indoor meets because our facility isn’t a competition facility. So to be at home and to see the track that you’re on every day full of those people that you see everywhere else in New England, it’s just super-special and it leads to great performances.”
One of those great performances was by senior John Gilboy of Saco, who placed fifth in the meet in the shot put with a throw of 48 feet, 11.50 inches. Two weeks earlier, in the State of Maine championship at Bates, Gilboy threw 42-05.25. He also pushed his hammer throw from to 157-01 two weeks ago to 169-09 this weekend.
Unfortunately, two-time national champion Dom Kone (60 and 100-meter dash) was not among those competing in Waterville this weekend. Kone, a senior, has been shut down for the season with an injury.
“He’s holding up really well,” Beers said. “I think he’s been on such a roller coaster this year that when we finally made the decision to call it, I think it was a huge relief for him. He’s much happier now, knowing that we’re not going to try to fight and claw to try to get back, just to have who knows what happen.
“He’s actually applying for a medical hardship to get the season back, so he might be able to continue to compete in grad school.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243