W. Lax loses by 2 to Panthers

Clash of nationally-ranked powerhouses ends in Midd’s favor

After Friday’s brilliant Spring temperatures, the weather turned on Saturday into yet another typical Maine snowstorm. The intensity of the weather, however, fit the mood well for the match of the day in which Colby Women’s Lacrosse took on Middlebury on the snowy Bill Alfond field.

With two Division III giants facing off, the game was highly anticipated to say the least. Going into the game, Middlebury ranked third in the nation for DIII, while the Mules ranked second, behind only Trinity. The game served as a battle for second, and with it, a shot for the coveted first place.

Middlebury opened the game with a stunning offensive, scoring five unanswered goals in under 20 minutes. Middlebury junior Laurel Pascal began the scoring for her team as she picked up a quick-stick feed from teammate Mary O’Connell six minutes in. Senior Katie Ritter then scored to make it 2-0, followed by another well-taken shot from Pascal to make it 3-0. Junior Chrissy Ritter then quickly scored yet another goal for the Panthers, this time on a one-timer assisted by her sister, Katie. O’Connell closed out Middlebury’s strong start with an unassisted goal, leaving the score at 5-0 in only 18 minutes and 14 seconds, putting the Mules in a difficult position.

The Mules quickly regrouped and provided response characteristic of their earlier form this season, launching a series of counterattacking plays that left the score at 5-3. Mules junior Abby Hooper opened Colby’s attack off a goal from an intercepted pass, and was quickly followed by a right-side shot from senior Abby Hatch. Hatch’s goal was the beginning of a strong day for the Mules’ captain, as she ended the afternoon with a tally of two goals and two assists. After scoring her first goal, Hatch then went on to launch a quick pass to Hooper, who scored to make it 5-3 heading into halftime.

Having asked serious questions of the Panthers’ defense towards the end of the first half, Colby continued their momentum right into the second, as freshman attacker Sasha Fritts scored to bring the Mules within one point, yet again assisted by Abby Hatch.

Unfortunately, the Panthers regained their composure as the half progressed, with Pascal scoring her third to make it 6-4 with 24:58 left, assisted by Ritter. Less than two minutes later, Middlebury would yet again extend their lead as O’Connell scored to make it 7-4 with 23:10 to go.

Still determined to fight back for a win right until the end, Hatch would score her second and final goal for the Mules with only seven seconds left, leaving the score at 7-5 in favor of Middlebury.

Despite the hard-fought, close loss for the Mules, who now sit in third place, their performance was still something to be proud of. With players such as Hatch putting up multiple goals and multiple assists against one of the better defenses in Division III women’s lacrosse, and with goalkeeper Claire Dickson ’15 putting in an impressive nine saves, the Mules are still, without a doubt, one of the best teams in the country.

Despite falling into third place, the Mules still demonstrated an incredible drive to win against Middlebury, refusing to give up their attack until the final whistle. With this commendable attitude driving the team on the field every game,  Colby Women’s Lacrosse clearly remains in the challenge for the number one spot.

Hatch (11) and the Mules fought hard against Middlebury in the snow. Courtesy of Dustin Satloff

Hatch (11) and the Mules fought hard against Middlebury in the snow. Courtesy of Dustin Satloff

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