WATERVILLE — The Tufts University women’s lacrosse team was happy. So was the team the Jumbos beat.

No. 10 Tufts jumped out to a commanding lead late in the first half and held on in the second, eventually earning an 11-9 win over No. 14 Colby in a game originally postponed due to cold and then played in weather that wasn’t much more inviting.

“Colby’s a great team. They’re defending NESCAC champs, and whether it’s last year or the last 10 years, (coach) Karen (Henning) always has them incredibly prepared and ready to go,” Tufts coach Courtney Shute said. “They’re always scrappy and they fight for everything, and we always know they’re going to be a really strong opponent.”

The Mules were again Sunday. Down five goals at the break to a top-10 team, Colby worked the deficit down and put itself a break or two from evening up the game.

“I’m just happy because I think we came out and competed again, kind of like we did against William Smith (in a 12-3 win March 11), for a full 60 minutes,” Henning said. “I thought it was pretty much in range throughout most of the game. I didn’t feel like we weren’t in it.”

Emily Games (three assists), Catherine Lawliss, Maddie Norman and Dakota Adamec scored two goals apiece for the Jumbos (4-0).

Sasha Fritts led Colby (1-3) with five goals, while Kendall Smith scored two and Grace Crowell and Taylor Moore each had one.

TAKING CONTROL: Despite the frigid temperatures that hovered below 30 degrees, the two teams came out hot. Norman scored a pair of quick tallies to make it 2-0 Tufts, but Colby evened the game first at 3, and then at 4 on Smith goals, the second of which came with 16:20 to go in the first half.

Control of the game then swung to the visiting sideline. Annie Sullivan scored on a free position shot with 14:38 left, Games skimmed a low shot into the net with 9:59 left, and Lawliss found a soft spot in the left side of the defense and buried a shot to make it 7-4 with 8:02 to go in the half.

After a Kirsten Grazewski man-advantage goal with 3:59 to go and Lawliss free position goal 44 seconds later, Tufts went into the locker room with full command of the formerly back-and-forth contest.

“I think it was back-and-forth, and we were just getting into the game,” Lawliss said. “Once we got our momentum, we took advantage and we were just on.”

“I think draw control was a big factor to that,” said Shute, whose team won 10 draws to Colby’s four in the first half. “Lily Baldwin did a great job on that, Dakota Adamec took some great draws for us. And I think we were playing the transition game well.”

COLBY COMEBACK: The Mules responded in the second half. Colby patched up the draw disparity, winning half of the period’s eight faceoffs, and the offense began to click. After Games scored to make it 10-5, Fritts whipped in a shot with 20 minutes left, Taylor Moore scored on a free position with 19:22 left and Fritts struck again on another free position to make it 10-8 with 17:21 to play.

“We were trying to play off each other’s strengths on the attack,” Fritts said. “They were playing a zone, so on our little elbow on the left side, Kendall and I had some opportunities and we took advantage of that in the second half, because we saw each other open.”

Henning said that, despite the deficit, she never felt the game was out of reach, a sentiment her players said they felt as well.

“I thought the game itself, play for play, was pretty competitive,” she said. “I think we just wanted to stay the course and knew we just had to do one goal at a time. We couldn’t just score five goals and all of a sudden it’s 9-9.”

An Adamec goal with 13:52 left stopped the bleeding and gave Tufts some breathing room. Another Fritts goal on a free position made it 11-9 with 7:49 left, but the Mules couldn’t find another tally despite another free position with just over five minutes left.

“Colby’s a great opponent, you always know they’re going to fight back,” Shute said. “I was proud that our team kept fighting, but they definitely made a run there at the end.”

LOOKING UP: Colby’s record fell to 1-3 with the loss, but the Mules aren’t sweating the start, seeing as all four games have been close battles with top-20 teams.

“Every game we get a little better,” Fritts said. “We just talked about how we got a little better this time than last weekend, and we’re just going to keep doing that every time.”

Colby’s three losses have come by a total of five goals.

“We’re still getting a feel for each other,” Henning said. “We’ve just got to keep building on it.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

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Twitter: @dbonifantMTM