WATERVILLE — The last time the Colby College women’s lacrosse team faced Williams College the Mules let what seemed like a sure victory slip through their fingers.
When the two teams face off again at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at SUNY Cortland Stadium in Cortland, N.Y., the stakes will be higher — with a bid to the Division III quarterfinals on the line.
Colby is hoping it can prevent history from repeating itself.
“We match up really well with each other,” Colby coach Karen Henning said. “They’re feisty; they don’t give up. Player for player there’s a lot of things that we both have in common that should be neat to see.”
If Saturday’s game is anything like the April 12 meeting, spectators should be in store for a treat.
The first time around neither team took a lead greater than a single goal until the latter part of the second half. Two goals from Katharine Eddy and one form Lindsey McKenna gave Colby (10-6) an 8-5 lead with 11:29 to play, and the Mules maintained that advantage as the clock ticked under five minutes.
By that point the Mules had kept the Ephs (11-4) scoreless for nearly 24 minutes, but that trend did not last. Williams cut the deficit to 8-7 with 1:37 remaining, and with 30.9 seconds to go Bridget Malicki tied things up to force overtime. Each team scored once in the first overtime, and early in the second — which switches to sudden death — Rebecca McGovern scored to clinch the win for Williams.
“What is there to say? It was a battle,” Henning said. “Both teams went on a few runs and they just ended up scoring that first goal in overtime.”
As Henning prepares her team to play tomorrow against the Ephs, preventing situations like the one they faced earlier this season has been a major priority.
“We really need to slow down their runs,” Henning said. “They scored three goals in the last (4:46) of our game. We had a good lead with four minutes left, and if we took care of the ball we would have been OK.”
“…(We can) not give them extra opportunities because they are a team that can capitalize on them.”
As the Mules prepare for Saturday’s contest they will do so once again knowing they will not be at full strength, as seniors Dori McAuliffe (concussion) and McKenna (knee) will be unavailable for the second straight game. Certainly Colby could use both players on the field, but Henning is putting a positive spin on their absence.
“This is where it might be neat to see who steps up and who’s ready to play,” she said. “There are opportunities. There are players that were just waiting for their time. Now they have the opportunity to step in.”
Two players who should help fill in are senior Katie Griffin and freshman Gemma Brady, each of whom has seen playing time earlier this season.
Much like trying to fit different players into new roles, there is also an adjustment going on the road for a tournament game at a neutral site. The Mules left Thursday for New York, planning on making half the trip yesterday and finishing the rest this morning.
This afternoon the Mules will get a chance to practice on the field they’ll play on Saturday, providing an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the playing surface,
“It’s just nice to get a lay of the land and not be over-thinking it,” Henning said. “Just going out there you know what to expect and you get to see the surface, do some groundballs, let the goalies see how the balls bounces. Also having a good night sleep when you’re driving eight hours helps too.”
If Colby can get past Williams, it will play the winner of SUNY Cortland (20-0) and Redlands (14-4) on Sunday.
Evan Crawley——621-5640 | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter: @Evan_Crawley