Courtesy Colby Sports Information
WATERVILLE, Maine – The only two teams to win a NESCAC women’s lacrosse title added another special game to the rivalry after third-seeded Colby held on for a 9-8 win over sixth-seeded Middlebury in a conference quarterfinal game Sunday at Bill Alfond Field. Colby will face Amherst on Saturday, May 8, in the second semifinal contest at Trinity.
Middlebury won the first seven NESCAC titles after the tournament format began in 2001. Colby is the two-time defending champion and has now eliminated the Panthers in each of the last three years. Middlebury had never lost a quarterfinal game, with Colby winning the last two years over the Panthers in semifinal contests. Middlebury has never lost to any other NESCAC team other than Colby in league playoff history.
The Mules (12-3 overall) led 4-2 at halftime and opened up a 9-4 margin when Kate Gragnolati (Chevy Chase, Md.) tallied with 6:58 to play.
Middlebury (8-7) refused to give up and scored the next four goals, the final score on a free-position shot by Margaret Souther (Scarsdale, N.Y.) with 2:06 to play. Suddenly the Mules only had a 9-8 margin.
Colby’s Caroline Duke (Englewood, Colo.), an All-American in 2008, showed why she is one of the best defenders in the country. She caused two turnovers in the final 1:46 to help the Mules regain critical possession time and run out the clock. Duke is part of a senior class hoping to get to their fourth straight NESCAC championship game. The Mules lost in the title game to Middlebury in 2007 before winning the last two championships.
Amy Campbell (Andover, Mass.), who set the tournament goal scoring record last year with 13 scores, is off to another good start with two goals and two assists against Middlebury. Kate Pistel (Amherst, Mass.) had a big all-around game with two goals, four caused turnovers, and four groundballs. Kathleen Kramer (Norwell, Mass.) also had two goals, while Claire Donegan (Great Falls, Va.) had one goal and two assists. Anne Geraghty (Westford, Mass.) had the other score for the Mules.
Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.) finished with four of Middlebury’s eight goals. Heather Marrison (Brewster, N.Y.), Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.), and Elizabeth Garry (Mamaroneck, N.Y.) also tallied for the Panthers.
Colby goaltender Sarah Warnke (Lakeville, Conn.) had eight of her 11 saves in the second half when Middlebury put on loads of pressure. Panther keeper Lily Nguyen (Oakland, Calif.) also played well with nine of her 13 saves in the first half to keep Middlebury close at the break.