Tri-captain Bridget Malicki’s ’15 hat-trick was not enough to propel No. 17 Williams (7-5, 3-5 NESCAC) over No. 10 Colby last weekend. Despite capturing three of the final four goals in the contest, the Ephs fell to the Mules, 12-9. However, the Ephs managed to clinch a spot in the NESCAC playoffs. They will travel to either Middlebury or Trinity for their first round matchup.
Although the contest finished with 21 total goals, the first period’s offensive production was slow to develop. The stagnant goal-scoring was in large part thanks to Williams’s goaltender Margaret Draper ’17 and Colby’s goaltender Claire Dickson, who prevented a slew of quality scoring chances in goal. After driving wide on the Williams’s defense, Colby’s Abby Hatch fired the ball into the top of the net, opening the game’s scoring at 26:12. After exchanging turnovers on the ensuing draw, Lexie Perticone found a once-again open Hatch on the crease, who made no mistake, bringing Colby’s lead to 2-0.
The Ephs were quick to respond. However, Nancy Palmer ’15 won the successive draw, passed to tri-captain Mave Mulholland ’15, who then fed Malicki who blistered a shot past Dickson at 23:24. The Mules’ Dana Swaffield answered seconds later, dancing past two Eph defenders and eking the ball past Draper. After an array of saves by Claire Dickson, Mulholland launched a pass into the stick of tri-captain Becca Bell ’15, who finessed the ball into the back of the cage, bringing the Ephs within one.
Dickson’s acrobatic goaltending appeared to spark the Mules, who dominated possession for the rest of the half and converted four consecutive goals. Though the Mules commanded much of the first half, Jenna Chodos ’17 and Hillary Cook ’15 both got points on the board. Chodos’ tally was the prettiest of the afternoon; after angling past her defender, she twisted through two more Mules, dove and whistled a shot into the upper corner from just inside the eight-meter arc before falling to the ground.
Though the Ephs ended the half down 8-5, they had numerous chances to score. Colby’s goaltending tandem of Claire Dickson and Sam Burch kept Williams at bay, combining for 11 first half stops. The Ephs controlled the groundball battle 12-7, as well as draw controls, 8-6.
Natalie Gill ’16 won the draw control at the beginning of the half. However, up by three goals, it was evident the Mules wanted to be patient on offense. After controlling the opening draw, they didn’t fire a shot on net until 26:11, which found its way into the Ephs’ net. The Mules’ tally was instantly avenged by Cook, who scored a free-position attempt just seconds later. The game remained scoreless for the next 10 minutes, primarily because of Colby’s first-year netminder, Sam Burch.
Facing a five-goal deficit with 10 minutes to play, the Ephs’ sense of urgency was palpable. Bell got the Ephs back on the board via a free-position chance at 10:23, bringing the score to 11-7. The Mules countered with a goal of their own, but the Ephs would not go away. After winning the ensuing draw, Mulholland floated the ball to Anne Rehfuss ’16, who handled it, twirled through the Mule defense and jammed it into the cage at 8:20. Minutes later, Malicki intercepted a Mule clearing attempt and blasted a shot into the net, bringing the Ephs within three. Colby won the sequential draw, and without a shot clock in women’s lacrosse, managed to wind down the time, ending the game with a 12-9 advantage.
Williams was led in scoring by Malicki, who recorded a hat-trick and added an assist. In goal, Margaret Draper notched four saves.
“Despite our loss to Colby, the team feels good about the way we played,” Mulholland said. “We fought hard – the attack moved the ball well and the defense really adjusted after the first few goals against us. This season has proved that anything can happen in the NESCAC, so we are excited to play Middlebury and build up our momentum going into the NESCAC tournament.”
The women conclude their regular season today at 4:30 p.m. against top-ranked Middlebury. From there, the women will take on Trinity in Hartford, Conn. on Saturday at a time to be determined. The team is currently ranked eighth in the NESCAC women’s lacrosse standings, nestled between Amherst in seventh with an overall record of 4-5 and Bates in ninth with an overall record of 2-7. Trinity currently sits atop the NESCAC standings ahead of Bowdoin and Middlebury with its imprresive 8-1 overall record.