With 10 games already decided by three goals or less, it’s been an interesting season for Colby College women’s lacrosse.
The Mules are ranked 11th in the nation in Division III, but they still weren’t a shoo-in to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. They learned this weekend that they’ll host Plymouth State in a second-round game at 1 p.m., Saturday — after the team gathered to watch the selection show but couldn’t access it online.
“We found out via text message,” Colby coach Karen MacCrate Henning said. “We’re very excited to get another opportunity to play. We definitely felt we were on the bubble.”
The Mules, who have won at least 11 games every year since 2005, are 9-6 overall, although a likely win against Husson was canceled and never rescheduled. The Mules lost by two goals to both No. 2 Salisbury and No. 3 Trinity, and beat No. 9 Middlebury. Colby also lost at home to No. 15 Tufts, which finished 10-6 and didn’t get a tournament bid.
Plymouth State is 12-4 overall and won the Little East Conference championship by defeating Keene State on Sunday. The Panthers have four players who have scored between 30 and 40 goals, and they have won an impressive 61 percent of their draw controls. Senior Lorin Field is ranked fourth in Division III in save percentage and 28th in goals-against-average. Field also led the nation in save percentage last spring.
“They’re extremely athletic,” Henning said. “They’ve been coming on strong down the stretch. They’re goalie is very good. We’re still doing a little bit of research on them, but I think they’re going to be a great opponent.”
Colby and Plymouth State have two common opponents. Against the University of Southern Maine, Colby won 21-4 and Plymouth St. won 17-6. Against the University of New England, Colby posted an 18-6 victory, while the Panthers lost 18-12 in their season opener.
There are a couple big milestones in reach for the Mules. Henning’s next victory will be her 200th at the college level. Colby’s Lindsey McKenna leads the Mules with 40 goals, and has 175 for her career. The school’s all-time career record is 181 goals by Kate Sheridan.
Should the Mules win on Saturday, their next game will likely be against New England Small College Athletic Conference rival Williams. If there’s one game the Colby players would probably love to have back, it’s the game April 12 against Williams. Playing at home, Colby led by three goals with five minutes left, and by two goals with two minutes to play, but lost in double overtime. While it’s a natural reaction to look ahead, Henning wants the Mules to do the opposite.
“Just with the way the season’s gone, we haven’t been able to look ahead — at all,” Henning said. “We’ve been at our best when we’ve focused on the here and now, and I think that’s our goal this weekend.”
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The University of Maine at Augusta women’s basketball team made the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II tournament with only seven players on the roster, so the Moose needed some talent even before sophomore Arreonte Lee decided to transfer. UMA and coach Jen Laney have made some inroads on that problem in the last couple months.
UMA had already announced that sisters Kristin and Kylie Kemp of Monmouth had committed to the program. Last month, the school announced the addition of Kori Coro, who hit the 3-pointer in the Western D final that put Forest Hills in the state championship game. Coro was named most valuable player of the Western D tournament. On Tuesday, UMA reported that Richmond’s Morgan Harrington will also play basketball for the Moose this season.
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Albion native and Lawrence High School graduate Jess Poulin decided not to come out for softball last season, but rejoined the Husson team as a junior this year. This weekend, Poulin helped the Eagles win the North Atlantic Conference championship. She hit .438 (7 for 16) in five tournament games and was named All-Tournament.
On Friday through Sunday, Husson will be part of a four-team, double-elimination regional at Kean University in Union, N.J. Joining Husson and Kean in the region are Lebanon Valley and Keene State. In the latest Division III national coaches poll, Lebanon Valley was tied for 17th and Kean was 24th.
Poulin is hitting .333 this season with a .422 on-base percentage and a .450 slugging average. At second base, she has a .965 fielding percentage and has committed five errors in 38 games, and Husson has won all five of those games.