Mules deal women’s lacrosse 9-8 loss

Women’s lacrosse competed in its first game of the season last Saturday against Colby on Renzie field. Though it was a fight to the finish, the women suffered a disappointing 9-8 defeat. Despite the loss, the women exhibited extraordinary skill and perseverance throughout the game, proving they are ready for an exciting season of competition.

The first period proved especially difficult for the Ephs, who had to struggle against the Mules’ impressive offense. Williams started out strong, with Tina Nawrocki ’10 scoring the first goal of the game, but the Ephs soon fell behind as the Mules scored six goals in a row, three of which were free position shots. The number of free position shots that Colby scored over the course of the game attests to the excessive fouling on the part of Williams players. In contrast to Colby’s 18 opportunities for free position shots, Williams only had nine.
Colby’s Kate Sheridan proved herself a particularly strong offensive force, taking 11 shots and scoring three goals over the course of the game. The Ephs came back and exhibited impressive strength at the end of the first half, however, scoring two goals. Both goals came within the last four minutes of the period, and the Ephs used the momentum to propel themselves through the second half of the game.

“We hit some rough patches early on as we struggled to communicate defensively and settle down in the attacking end,” co-captain Britt Spackman ’09 said. “But as the game progressed, we made some impressive stops and players began connecting nicely.”

Indeed, the women fought hard in the second period to overcome Colby’s 6-3 lead. Though the Mules scored the first goal of the second period, the Ephs quickly rebounded, scoring four goals in five minutes, placing them only two points behind the Mules. The Ephs performed particularly well with respect to turnovers in the second half of the game by racking up nine total, compared to Colby’s six.

“Everything from footwork to communication was improving as the minutes ticked by,” co-captain Elizabeth Burns ’09 said.

The second half also provided the chance for several of the women to shine. Spackman scored two goals, and Kaitlin Ellis ’12 made two assists. The Ephs scored a final goal in the last nine minutes of the game, but were unable to make further headway in a comeback. The Ephs finished a mere one point behind the Mules, who won the game with nine.
Though the loss to Colby represented a disappointing start to the season, many players still demonstrated skills that will help the team in future games. In spite of the challenges that the Colby offense presented, goalie Julia Schreiber ’11 played extraordinarily. She played all 60 minutes of the game and made 18 saves, seven in the first half and 11 in the second. Schreiber’s total saves doubled those of Colby’s Sarah Warnke. The Ephs also received only one penalty, compared to Colby’s five. Williams collected 20 turnovers and shot at goal 23 times throughout the game. Attacker Margie Fulton ’12 performed particularly well in the game, with two goals and one assist. Other goal scorers included Alice Nelson ’10, Whitney Thayer ’10 and Anne Marie Burke ’11.

“We never gave up, even when down by five goals,” Head Coach Chris Mason said. “We improved as the game went along and had a strong comeback. We had a few opportunities to tie and maybe win the game but unfortunately didn’t execute.”

Burns spoke to the team’s high hopes for its spring competition. “The great thing about the NESCAC conference is that every team has a chance to beat every other team. If we can keep improving our play and work on perfecting our fundamentals, I think we have a really great chance of going far this season,” Burns said.

Williams will next compete tomorrow at 5 p.m. against MIT at home.