WATERVILLE –Looking back, the Colby College women’s lacrosse team might remember losing in the first round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference tournament as a blessing.

“We were down for a couple days. Once we realized we had a chance at an at-large bid, we really stepped up,” junior Kate Pistel said. “It was better for us, in disguise.”

The Mules unleashed all the pent up aggravation from their early exit from the conference tournament on Endicott in their NCAA Division III first-round contest Wednesday. Colby never trailed, scoring seven consecutive goals late in the first half to take control and cruise to a 21-5 win.

Colby, now 14-2, will take on Messiah (16-3) in a second-round game on Saturday. Endicott, the winner of the Commonwealth Coast Conference, ends the season at 12-6.

“I think this week of practice and focusing on us just paid off,” Colby coach Karen Henning said. “This team has confidence. This team has fire in its belly. This team doesn’t want any regrets.”

Colby took a 1-0 lead just 28 seconds into the game on the first of Claire Donegan’s two goals. The Gulls tied the game 49 seconds later when Kelly Tierney scored. Endicott’s Holly Davis scored with 16:46 left in the first half to cut Colby’s lead to 6-3, but that was as close as the Gulls would get.

The Mules scored seven consecutive goals, the capper an Alex Mintz goal with 1:14 left in the first half. Colby led 13-4 at the break, and outscored Endicott 8-1 in the second half.

Throughout the game, the Mules showed off their superiority in depth. Eleven players scored at least one goal for Colby. Mintz led the way with four, while Pistel and Katie Griffin each had three. Donegan, Hilary Barr and Tess Petesch each had two goals.

“We definitely were frustrated by the way we played against Hamilton (in the conference tournament),” Lindsey McKenna said.

Michelle Burt made eight saves for Colby. Leah Neff had nine stops for Endicott.

Notes: Colby College’s Kate Pistel, Lindsey McKenna, Claire Donegan, Kirsten Karis and Michelle Burt were each named to the 2012 New England Small College Athletic Conference Women’s Lacrosse All-Conference Team on Wednesday.

Pistel made the All-NESCAC first team for the second year in a row, while McKenna also made the first team after earning second team and NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors last season. Donegan made the second team for the second time in her career. Karis and Burt also were selected to the second team, the first time both players have been given that honor.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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