Winter sports look to turn youth into experience

By Kevin Ahn, Sports Reporter and Drew Ladner, Associate Editor

Women’s Hockey

Women’s hockey will be starting up very shortly as they take on the Bowdoin Polar Bears at Bowdoin on Friday November 17th at 7 p.m. The women’s team will be playing their first home game of the season the very next day in their second game of the Bowdoin series at 3 p.m. Last year the Mules went 0-1-1 against Bowdoin in two very close games, making this weekend a great opportunity to show Bowdoin what the Mules are made of. The women’s hockey team came off of a tough season going 2-19-3 in overall play. However, as it is a new season, it is also a new team.

The Mules have welcomed nine new first-years, bringing a wide range of talent and depth to the team in hopes of improving upon the record from last year. Sophomore goaltender Halley Fine ’20 noted that “Having nine freshman and seven sophomores shows that we have a young team but there’s a lot of growing talent in that group, and we’re all on board to be all in [this season].” The women’s hockey will surely be something to watch out for this season.

Men’s Basketball

Men’s Basketball, will be participating in the University of New England tournament against Colby-Sawyer College in the first round. Depending on the results of that first game, Colby will either play in the consolation match or the championship. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. in Biddeford, Maine. Last season, the men’s basketball team had a respectable overall record of 10-14, but fell short in conference play with a record of 1-9.

However, the Mules are an extremely young team. Half the team is made up of sophomores. These former first-years made up three of the team’s top five leading scorers, including starters Ethan Schlager ’20, Sean Gilmore ’20, and Sam Jefferson ’20. With these players now having a full year of college experience, they will look to take on a more prominent role both on the court and in the leadership of the team.

“I feel that last year was a great experience for all of us, and gave us a good taste of not just basketball at the collegiate level, but also opened our eyes as to just how competitive NESCAC basketball is,” guard Tyler Williams ’20. “There are no more excuses, there is no saying ‘Oh, we are only freshmen.’  We have matured past that mindset and assumed greater leadership roles for the team, on and off the court.”

Women’s Basketball

After back-to-back semifinal losses, Colby Women’s Basketball looks to finally take the next step. Last year, the Mules finished the regular season with a 12-11 overall record. They advanced to the postseason where they upset the 16-7 Middlebury Panthers before suffering a 20-point loss to Amherst College, the eventual NESCAC Champions.

With only three graduates missing, the Mules have a legitimate opportunity to build on last year’s success. On the team’s road to improvement, Haley Driscoll ’18 is the driver. She is currently the lone senior on the team. A tri-captain last year, Driscoll led the Mules in points (280),  points per game (11.7), and rebounds per game (6.0), and was second in steals (33) and blocks (14). The former Maine All-State Second Team player returns hoping to dominate the league one more time.

Though Driscoll is the lone senior, she is far from the only talent the team has to offer. Katie McCrum ’19, Emily Davis ’19, Sarah Hancock ’19, and Ainsley Burns ’20 all carry over starting experience from last year. They will all see their roles elevated in the upcoming games. Perhaps the most interesting of the four to keep an eyes on will be Burns, who already led the team in blocks (22) and was third on the team in field goal percentage (41.1), despite being just a first-year player. If the Maine All-Rookie Team player can improve on last year’s performance, she will be a scare for opposing teams.

The road back to the playoffs for Colby Women’s Basketball begins this weekend, as they travel to the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth tournament to take on host UMass-Dartmouth, as well as UMass-Boston. However, the more important conference games do not begin until Dec 5, when the Mules take on Maine rival, Bates College. The team was 4-6 against NESCAC teams last season. Those crucial in-conference games may be the difference between breaking through that semifinals barrier, or remaining in playoff purgatory.