It was hard not to think of the ups and downs of the season.
With seven minutes left, it was hard not to think, “Here we go again.”
The Colby women’s lacrosse team had those demons and two starters out with injury on Saturday, but the Mules wrote the ending they wanted against Williams, taking an 8-6 victory in Dryden, N.Y., to advance to the NCAA Division III quarterfinals for the fourth time in five years.
The Mules (11-6) play No. 1-ranked Cortland State (21-0) at 1 p.m. Sunday in the quarterfinals.
In the regular season meeting in Waterville, Colby led Williams 8-5 with five minutes left but lost in double overtime. While acknowledging the players had “a little bit extra fire” for the rematch, Colby goalkeeper Claire Dickson said keeping emotions in check was key.
“I think a lot of what we’ve been focusing on is being the team that we’ve developed into, instead of being the team that we were in the past,” said Dickson, who played the second half and made nine saves. “Every game is a new opportunity to show how far we’ve come.”
Colby was carrying a streak of five games with at least 10 goals, but after 22 minutes on Saturday, Williams held a 1-0 lead.
“Both teams had chances,” said Colby defensive leader Kirsten Karis. “It was a lot of midfield work.”
The Mules tied it up on Katherine Eddy’s goal, then got two more goals in 38 seconds from the unlikeliest of sources. Freshman Lexie Perticone scored her second and third goals of the year to give Colby a 3-2 lead at halftime. Perticone had played only three games this season, and her only goal before Saturday was in a 21-4 rout of the University of Southern Maine on March 11.
“She hasn’t seen a lot of time on the field for us,” Karis said. “She came up huge.”
Colby still led 5-2 with nine minutes to play, but Williams scored twice in a minute and a half, it was 5-4 with 7:06 to go. But this time, Colby got the next three goals — by Lindsay McCabe, Sarah Lux, and Alex Mintz — for an 8-4 edge with 1:45 remaining.
“I think what was different was, we didn’t step on the brakes,” Colby coach Karen MacCrate Henning said. “We kept our foot on the gas pedal. It was really important that we didn’t stop attacking, which is what we did in our last game (with them).”
Williams actually had the statistical edge in shots (31-19), clears, ground balls and turnovers. However, Colby had a 10-5 advantage in draw controls, with five of those from junior Abby Hatch.
“Some of it, obviously, is the way the ball bounces,” Henning said. “We were working really hard on it. Our midfielders were coming up with some nice ground balls. Katherine Eddy was boxing out really well, so it allowed Abby to fight for the ball.”
Cortland State defeated Redlands, 19-3, on Saturday. Of Cortland’s 21 wins, 13 have been by at least 10 goals. Both Cortland and Colby have played No. 2 Salisbury, with Cortland winning, 12-8, and Colby losing, 9-7.
“They are super-athletic, very physical,” Henning said of Cortland. “I think we have to play tough. We have to make good decisions in order to be successful. We have to make sure we limit their opportunities, and take advantage of ours.”