Colby drops women’s lacrosse 9-7 in first NESCAC contest

Women’s lacrosse (0-1, 0-1 in the NESCAC) suffered a 9-7 defeat to Colby in its first game of the season last Saturday. Though the Ephs demonstrated promising skill, the Mules took advantage of their home playing field and were ultimately the more aggressive team on the day.

Colby scored the first two goals of the game, notching unassisted goals 2:09 and 5:08 into the first period. Williams then successfully responded with three goals in the next 10 minutes to gain its only lead of the game, 3-2. Williams was able to counter, though, as Meera Sivalingham ’12 put the Ephs on the scoreboard first with an unassisted goal. Next, Taylor Fleishhacker ’12 collected a pass from Margie Fulton ’12, and buried a shot behind the Mules’ goaltender to tie the game at 2-2. Tracey Ferriter ’10 scored the third Eph goal of the game with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, making the score 3-2. The women’s lead would not last long, however: The Mules concluded the half with two goals off of free position shots to bring the score to 4-3.

Colby outshot Williams 16-10 in the first half, picking up nine ground balls to the women’s three. This early offensive dominance foreshadowed trends that would continue through the rest of the game as the Mules continued to outpace the Ephs.

The second half failed to see the Ephs overcome their offensive struggles. Mule Amy Campbell, who had scored the opening goal of the game, found the net again just 10 seconds into the third period. Sam Weinstein ’13 then kept the score close, netting an unassisted goal 8:41 in, but the Mules soon responded, hustling to score three more goals within seven minutes and widening the gap to 7-3 with 8:16 left in the game.

Kaitlin Ellis ’12 helped Williams bridge the four-goal gap by scoring with 6:07 remaining on a free position shot. Colby’s Kate Pistel, however, undermined Ellis’ efforts, assisting Catherine Kahl’s goal less than a minute later. With the score at 9-5 in favor of the Mules, the Ephs continued to compete with resolve: Weinstein and co-captain Whitney Thayer ’10 scored with 3:34 and 0:43 remaining, respectively, but ultimately Colby remained on top with a 9-7 victory.

The Mules took a telling seven more shots on goal than the Ephs in the half, an offensive advantage that helped give rise to their triumph.

Thayer also attributed some of the women’s trouble to turnovers. “We played really nervously and didn’t take care of the ball the way we should have,” she said. “It was all those turnovers that really killed us.” The Ephs turned the ball over 14 times in the second half, unable to find their groove and maintain control of the ball.

However, the team did show impressive defensive capabilities, most notably from goaltender Julia Schreiber ’11, who made eight saves in the first half and two saves in the second. This defensive strength gives the Ephs one less aspect of their game to worry about moving forward. “As long as we are able to calm down and handle the ball in the midfield and on attack, we should be pretty unstoppable,” Thayer said.

The women will look to rebound and improve on last season’s 13-7 overall record and 4-5 record in the NESCAC. They lost to Colby in the NESCAC championship finals and in the first round of the NCAA tournament, which makes the first loss of this season even more painful for the team: The women had hoped to redeem themselves coming into last weekend’s contest.

The Ephs have eight first-years on the team: The newcomers are balanced by the veteran experience of seven returning seniors. The team graduated four players last spring.

Certainly, the women are looking forward to a strong season and are hoping for an improvement over last season’s conference showing despite last weekend’s result. “It’s frustrating because we all know that we are so much better than what we showed on Saturday, but we are in no way discouraged because we did show a whole lot of potential,” Thayer said when asked about the team’s attitude moving forward.

The women faced RPI in another away game last night, but the results came in too late to publish. The Ephs will compete in a second NESCAC match-up against Bates at home at noon on Saturday. The women will then go up against Tufts on March 27 to start their spring break competition before traveling to Catholic on March 30 and Buffalo State and Trinity on April 1 and 3, respectively, before vacation wraps up.