W. Soccer in fight for playoffs

The Colby women’s soccer team enters the last week of their season looking to earn a victory over in-state rival Bates. The young Colby squad has fought its way to a 6-7-1 record, but unfortunately struggled in the NESCAC marking a 2-6-1 record to earn the Mules tenth place in the conference. The Mules must win against Bates in order to qualify for the NESCAC tournament in which they would face top-seeded Williams. The champion of the NESCAC tournament receives an automatic qualification into the NCAA tournament.

In the first game of the season, the Mules returned from Williamstown defeated, having been handed a 2-0 loss by one of the top teams in the country. Williams is currently ranked ninth in the country and will be a tough matchup for the Mules if they are able to win over Bates.

The tough play of their defense and the leadership of seniors on the field have helped the Mules come closer to a NESCAC tournament berth. Over the final three weeks of competition, Colby is 2-1, having defeated Hamilton and Husson, while dropping a game to rival Bowdoin.

Entering homecoming weekend with a match against Hamilton, Colby, in a must-win situation to preserve their playoff hopes, dropped their two most recent contests in an overtime thriller to Amherst and a hard-fought loss to Connecticut College. Colby was able to score in the seventh minute off a combination play from co-captain Maddie Tight ’15 and Jamie O’Halloran ’15 and then settled in on defense to secure the win. Co-captain Emily Brook ’15 said that the win was “notable from a defensive standpoint, as the work of Nora Mabie ’17 and Emilie Klein ’17 helped keep the shutout, and [they] have been outstanding all year long.” The 1-0 win helped push the Mules ahead in the NESCAC standings.

Coming off of the well-deserved Hamilton win, Colby traveled to Bangor to play Husson in terrible conditions. According to Tight, Husson played the majority of the game in a defensive formation, and aimed for a tie; however, Colby, led by Cami Notaro ’15 was able to net a goal in the final two minutes of the game. Notaro is having a career season as she has five goals, two of which were game-winning, and three assists, to lead Colby in scoring with 13 points. “[Notaro] has had an incredible senior year and has been our most dangerous offensive player so far and has scored several game-winning goals,” noted Brook.

Colby has not won while facing hated rival Bowdoin since 2009. In the most recent matchup, the Polar Bears utilized an early second half goal to overcome the Mules 3-0 on senior day. The Polar Bears entered the match having just dominantly won over Connecticut College, who sat atop the NESCAC standings at the time. They continued their offensive momentum, utilizing experience to exploit the young Colby defense.

Brook commented on the game and spoke highly of her defense, saying, “Bowdoin was an impressive team and had very talented and skilled forwards, but I think Nora Mabie deserves a shout out on defense. Nora is the unsung hero of the team and is an incredibly talented defender. I never have to worry about her side of the field, and she continues to improve her already talented game as the season goes on.”  Brook had her career best performance, making 11 stops on 25 shots from the potent Bowdoin attack. She leads the NESCAC in saves with 97 and is in the top five in save percentage. 

“Brook has been a phenomenal leader on and off the field,” said Tight. “She has given her heart and soul to [the team]…the team will really miss her comand and skills in the defensive line.” On their senior day, according to Brook, all six senior field players played great games and provided a plethora of offensive opportunities.

Colby will graduate six seniors this year, leaving a large hole on the field to fill, but underclassmen have not been hesitant to step up. Brook highlighted the play of Ally Ingrahm ’18 saying, “Ingraham does a great job keeping her composure in the midfield and is always creating options and has great vision on the field.” Colby will also return much of their young defense, which has only improved as the season has progressed. If the Mules win against Bates, Colby will look to advance past the NESCAC quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.