WATERVILLE — The leading scorer on the Colby College women’s lacrosse team was held to just one assist. The second leading scorer for the Mules didn’t play after going down with a knee injury in the conference tournament last Saturday.
Still, Colby’s depth ensured it had no problem with Plymouth State in the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament. The Mules held a six-goal lead at halftime, and cruised to a 16-5 win at Bill Alfond Field.
The win was the 200th of Colby head coach Karen Henning’s career. Colby, now 10-6, will take on New England Small College Athletic Conference rival Williams (14-4) next Saturday in Cortland, N.Y. Williams took a 10-9, double overtime win over Colby in the regular season. Plymouth State ends the season at 12-5.
Katharine Eddy, the NESCAC Player of the Year, had one assist for Colby, and the Mules played without 40-goal scorer Lindsey McKenna, who suffered a knee injury in a loss to Trinity in the NESCAC tournament last week. Midfielder Dori McAuliffe, who went down with a concussion in that Trinity game, also was out for Colby.
“We just said, if we hustle the way they do, we can do anything,” Henning said.
Colby scored the last six goals of the first half to take a 7-1 lead to the break. Senior Katie Griffin scored all four of her goals in the first half to help stake the Mules to the lead.
“I feel like this week we just really prepared. It was exciting to be able to step in,” Griffin said. “It was a whole team effort.”
Early in the game, Plymouth had some success controlling the ball and slowing the game down. That offensive patience led to the Panthers’ first goal, an Emily Tilton goal with 22:17 left in the first half that tied the game at 1-1.
“They have a really good goalie (Lorin Field), so in their thought, if they do slow down the game, the goalie is going to make some great saves,” Henning said.
Goals from Sara Miller and Sarah Lux in the first four minutes of the second half pushed Colby’s lead to 9-1. Plymouth’s Amy MacDonald scored to stop the Mules’ streak, but Colby added two quick goals from Dana Swaffield and Lindsay McCabe to squelch any Panther rally.
Lux had three goals and three assists for Colby, while Alex Mintz had two goals and two assists. McCabe, Miller and Swaffield each scored twice.
Field and Casey Curran combined for 16 saves for the Panthers. Michelle Burt, Claire Dickson and Sarah Evans combined for three saves for Colby.
This win felt good for the Mules, not just because they played without two starters, but because when they sat down to watch the selection show last Sunday night, they knew they were one of the teams on the bubble. Once they saw they were in the tournament for the seventh straight year, the Mules relief turned into determination.
“It was somewhat more up in the air than it has been,” Griffin said. “I feel like everyone is that much more invested, because we feel as though we’ve really earned a spot here.”