WATERVILLE — Some streaks can’t last forever.
The Amherst College girls lacrosse team had not beaten Colby College since 2006, but the third-ranked Jeffs put an end to that drought Saturday as they dealt the No. 13 Mules a 12-5 defeat at Bill Alfond Field.
“They’re a very good team, I think the difference was they were more disciplined than us,” Colby coach Karen Henning said. “They took care of the little things.
“We’ve got it in us, we just haven’t consistently showed it or played that way, against good teams if we don’t, we’re not going to be as successful.”
Colby was far more competitive than the final score indicated, but unfortunately for the home team a rough start through the first three minutes of the second half proved to be the difference. Amherst (9-0, 6-0 New England Small College Athletic Conference) led 4-2 at halftime, but scored three goals in the first two minutes, 44 seconds of the second half to take a commanding lead.
“We have to give it to Amherst, they came out tough,” Colby senior captain Kirsten Karis said. “They’re good on the draw, we were prepared for it but we got a couple hard bounces, a couple fouls. There’s not much you can do about that.
“… We need to put 60 minutes together is really what it is. We have a lot of 40 minutes of great lacrosse, 20 minutes of where is your brain. We need to string together 60 minutes of group effort, not just individual effort.”
Junior Abby Hatch led the way offensively for the Mules with two goals and an assist, while seniors Katie Griffin, Sarah Lux and sophomore Abby Hooper also scored goals for the Mules. Senior Michelle Burt had six saves in net before giving way to junior Claire Dickson, who stopped two shots.
While the game ultimately turned into a very competitive one, early on it seemed as if the third-ranked Jeffs were simply too strong. Amherst won the opening draw, and from there set the tone for the game by patiently waiting for their opportunity to strike. That chance came at the 27:26 mark of the first as Amherst’s Alex Philie scored the first of her two goals on the day.
The ensuing draw followed nearly an identical blueprint, as Amherst gained possession, worked for a good shot and took a 2-0 lead on a Rachel Passarelli shot, Through the first six minutes of the game, the Mules had possessed the ball for all of three seconds.
To Colby’s credit, however, it did not fold. The Mules cut the deficit in half moments later on a goal from Hatch following a reset, and with 17:41 to play in the first Lux scored on a beautiful shot, sweeping from left to right before firing the ball past Amherst goalkeeper Christy Forrest. The Jeffs’ didn’t wait long to answer though, scoring less than 90 seconds later en route to their 4-2 halftime advantage.
“We had a great defensive first half,” Karis said, “… We held them for a really long time, we just couldn’t capitalize on the turnovers we were able to force.”
The start of the second half proved to be even more disastrous than the first, as Philie scored just 56 seconds into the half and Passarelli notched her second score at the 27:28 mark off a reset. Amherst’s Krista Zsitvay then won the ensuing draw, sprinted towards Colby’s goal unabated and easily finished the wide open look to give the Jeffs a commanding 7-2 advantage. The score — Zsitvay’s third of the contest — came just 12 seconds after the draw.
Hooper answered for the Mules with a goal off a nice feed from senior Katharine Eddy to make it a four-goal game, and with 18:26 to go Griffin netted a score off a Hatch feed to make it 7-4. It proved to be a case of too little, too late though, as Amherst managed to open things up late with Colby pressing to tie the game up.
“We had to go out and pressure, so we’re going to give up some of those goals,” Henning said. “The score wasn’t as big in my mind. I thought it was a good, well-played game.”
Winning the draw proved to be instrumental in the Jeffs’ victory Saturday, even if the Mules ultimately held a 12-7 advantage in draw control. Amherst held a 5-2 lead on draws in the first half, and won two of the first three to start the second half. Of the Jeffs’ first seven goals, four came as a result of winning the draw.
Colby (5-4, 3-3 NESCAC) will be looking to get back on track Tuesday at 7 p.m. when it hosts rival Bowdoin College.
“The next couple games are huge,” Karis said. “We’re really excited to have a couple home games. We had a tough stretch of away games over spring break, I’m really excited to be home against rival Bowdoin on Tuesday. I love playing Bowdoin, it’s always a great, friendly rivalry but I think it brings out the best in both teams.”
Evan Crawley——621-5640[email protected]Twitter: EvanCrawley_MTM