How good is women’s lacrosse in the New England Small College Athletic Conference? Colby is ranked seventh in the nation in the latest NCAA Division III poll — but just third among NESCAC teams.

The Mules could hardly be playing much better — they’re 8-0 and have already beaten two teams ranked in the top 12 in the country — and now they will get a shot at one of their two conference rivals ranked above them. Colby is at No. 5 Trinity (7-0) at 4 p.m. today in Hartford, Conn.

“I think we have to take care of the ball and possess it,” Colby coach Karen MacCrate Henning said. “We have to make sure we’re creating our own opportunities, and not letting them have more possession time.”

Colby has had some close calls this season, with four of those eight wins coming by a combined six goals. But the Mules are perennially one of the top programs in Division II, and a big part of this season’s success is that so many different players are making big contributions.

“I think the team’s extremely committed to playing for each other, and very selfless,” Henning said. “Having everyone work for that common goal, instead of their own individual goals, it’s just amazing.”

Katharine Eddy leads Colby with 30 points on 13 goals and 17 assists. Lindsey McKenna is the leading goal scorer, with 18. Katie Griffin also has 13 goals. Sarah Lux is second on the Mules in assists, with 14. The Mules are also allowing six goals per game, good for fourth in the country.

After today’s game with Trinity, Colby will turn around and play Wesleyan at noon, Saturday. Henning pointed out the possible positive spins on that: If Colby wins against Trinity, the Mules can carry the adrenaline to the next day. If the Mules lose today, they’ll want to get right back out and play again

“The harder part of it is that Wesleyan doesn’t have a back-to-back this weekend — it’s only us,” Henning said. “Saturday is going to be a very competitive game, and there’s going to be a lot of tired limbs. Hopefully, we can battle through it.”

• • •

The Thomas College men’s tennis team has one win this season, but that one was a biggie: The Terriers defeated Castleton, the six-time defending North Atlantic Conference champion. Thomas beat a rebuilding Spartans team, 5-4, on Sunday.

“(When) I went into the match, I didn’t have any visions of grandeur,” said Thomas coach Jeff Fowler, who also coaches the Cony High School boys team. “I went into the match hoping that we played well, with no thoughts of winning the team match. As it went on, I thought, ‘Maybe we can steal this match.’ ”

The top three singles players for the Terriers are new to college tennis. Freshman Eric Morin of Lewiston, who made it to the second round of last year’s state high school tennis tournament, is at No. 1. Freshman Malcolm Neville of Foxboro, Mass. is at No. 2 singles, and won his match against Castleton in straight sets.

At No. 3 is Tom Bird, a senior from Lee who decided to join the team this year.

“(Tom) had some apprehension about whether he could play on a fast surface,” Fowler said. “He came out this year and he’s been a pleasant surprise.”

Bird and Morin make up the No. 1 doubles team. The Terriers are 1-2 after finishing 2-9 last season. Fowler would like to surpass last year’s win total, and he’d also like to see more of the quality of play the Terriers showed against Castleton.

Thomas has an odd schedule, with matches Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday this week, and then matches April 13, 14, and 15 in Vermont.

“We have a lot of tennis condensed into a short amount of time, so avoiding injuries is important,” Fowler said. “You’re going 100 percent for every point, so there’s overuse and wear and tear that comes into play.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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