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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: May 4, 2008
The Mules clinched an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney after taking a 14-12 win over Trinity College in the NESCAC title game Sunday at Middlebury College. The pairings for the NCAA tourney will be announced on Sunday night. Colby (12-5) went to NCAA's for the first time in program history in 2006 and last year many felt the Mules deserved a bid after going 12-5 and falling in the league title game.
Colby, the fifth seed in the NESCAC tourney, made sure of getting to the NCAA tourney with the win Sunday over the third-seeded Bantams. The Mules beat the top four seeds in the league tourney over the past nine days. Colby started the run with a 12-7 win over Amherst College in the regular season finale. The Mules then won 22-14 over fourth-seeded Tufts University in a quarterfinal game before knocking off top-seeded Middlebury in a dramatic 10-8 semifinal win Saturday.
"We worked so hard the entire season, but there were times where we didn't play complete games." Colby first-year head coach Karen Henning said. "The Amherst game was the first where we played so calm and composed. I think we carried that right through the next three games."
Women's lacrosse becomes the third sport at Colby to win a NESCAC title since the league started playoffs. Volleyball won the 2005 NESCAC title at Colby and women's crew earned the title in the national championship season of 2003. Lacrosse and volleyball are the only two to earn championships in a playoff format.
The Mules showed why they lead the NESCAC in scoring by setting a league tournament record with 46 goals in three games. Amherst had the old record of 38 goals in three games in 2004.
The Mules not only set that team record, but had individual records as well. Junior attacker Becky Julian broke the NESCAC tournament record for points in a tourney with 11 goals and six assists for 17 points. The old record was 15 and was held by two players. Julian and teammate Amy Campbell tied the tournament record for goals with 11 each and now hold the record with Amherst's Ashley Harmeling (2004).
Colby two-time All-American Kate Sheridan loomed large with four goals in the title game win and reached 200 career points. The junior midfielder has 140 goals and 60 assists and leads the NESCAC this year in scoring with 51 goals and 31 assists for 82 points.
Sheridan, however, had just one of Colby's 32 goals in the first two playoff games. The Mules used balanced scoring to win the championship.
"We started to trust each other and believe that we could have other people score goals," Henning said. "It's better to have seven people scoring goals and 12 people on the field playing together. I think that's what wins championships."
The Mules and Trinity (11-6) got off to a fast pace with 10 goals in the first 17:27 of action in the first half for a 5-5 tie. Kathleen Kramer scored off an assist from Julian with 3:01 to intermission to give Colby the lead at the break.
The Mules still led 8-7 when Colby tallied four straight times to pull away. Sheridan, Julian, Casey Thomas, and Carly Rapaport had the goals. Thomas, a first-year midfielder, had scored just one other goal heading into the game.
The Bantams fought back with five of the next six goals from 10:56 to 2:26 to cut the lead to 13-12. Caitlin Irvine had two goals and one assist during that stretch, while Campbell had Colby's lone goal. Sheridan gave the Mules an insurance goal with just 10 seconds to play.
Julian had three goals and one assist, while senior co-captain Carrie Lovejoy had two goals. Campbell and Lauren Strazzula both had one goal and one assist, while Cary Finnegan had two assists.
Sarah Warnke made five saves in goal for Colby, while Trinity keeper Michelle Smith had 15 saves.
Colby 14, Trinity 12
Colby SCORING: GOALS: Kate Sheridan 4; Becky Julian 3; Carrie Lovejoy 2; Amy Campbell 1; Lauren Strazzula 1; Casey Thomas 1; Kathleen Kramer 1; Carly Rapaport 1. ASSISTS: Cary Finnegan 2; Amy Campbell 1; Becky Julian 1; Lauren Strazzula 1. Trinity (Conn.) SCORING: GOALS: Caitlin Irvine 6; Alisen Urquhart 2; Sarah Remes 2; Rachel Romanowsky 2. ASSISTS: CJ Yanofsky 2; Caitlin Irvine 1. GOALIES - Colby: Sarah Warnke (60:00 minutes, 17 shots-5 saves, 12 GA); Trinity: Michelle Smith (60:00, 29-15, 14).