Women's lacrosse ready to host NCAA's

Contact: William Sodoma
Date: May 8, 2009
Athletics Preview Photos

Heather Nickerson

WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College and Middlebury College women’s lacrosse teams will add another chapter to their great rivalry over the past three seasons when the teams meet in an NCAA Division III Tournament regional semifinal Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Colby’s Bill Alfond Field.

Colby, 16-1 overall and winners of 15 straight games, will play Middlebury for the third time this season. The Mules took a 17-12 win over the Panthers in last Saturday’s NESCAC semifinal game and posted a 10-9 double-overtime win over Middlebury during the regular season in a game at Yale University.

Colby, ranked third in the country, went on to win its second straight NESCAC title and secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney. The Mules received an opening round bye and will now host a regional for the first time in program history. Hamilton College, the defending national champions, and Williams College meet in the other semifinal at 2:30 p.m. The regional championship is Sunday at 1 p.m., with the winner heading to the NCAA Final Four in Salem, Virginia.

Colby students will be admitted free to the games by signing in at the main entrance of the field. Ticket prices are $3 for adults and $2 for students. There is no pre-sale and tickets will be sold starting at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and noon on Sunday.

Middlebury had pretty much dominated Colby and the rest of the NESCAC before the Mules took over prominence the past two years. The Panthers had won the first seven NESCAC titles since the league started a playoff system, but Colby did battle hard before falling 10-8 in the title game of the 2007 tourney. With many key players back from that squad, Colby started to defeat the Panthers. The Mules broke Middlebury’s 88-game home winning streak last year in a NESCAC semifinal game.

Kate Sheridan coming to Colby had a lot to do with the turnaround over the past three to four years. The soon-to-be four-time All-American just earned the NESCAC Player of the Year honor for the second straight year and earned All-NESCAC honors for a fourth straight time. The senior midfielder has 181 goals and 113 assists for 294 career points. She is one assist shy of holding Colby’s all-time assist record by herself and is three assists away from breaking the single-season assist record of 53. Sheridan already owns career points and goals records along with season points and goals.

While Sheridan leads the Mules this season with 34 goals and 51 assists for 85 points, the Mules have other offensive weapons. Amy Campbell has scored 80 goals over the past two seasons and earned NESCAC first team honors with her 39 goals and seven assists this season. Heather Nickerson, another first team pick from the NESCAC, has 36 goals and six assists to go along with a team-best 22 caused turnovers. Kathleen Kramer (32 goals, 5 assists), Claire Donegan (17 goals, 19 assists), Becky Julian (25 goals, 5 assists), Cary Finnegan (18 goals, 9 assists), and Caroline Atwater (17 goals, 5 assists) are scoring threats.

Colby’s defense continues to be a key component of the winning streak. Caroline Duke, an All-American last year, just earned All-NESCAC honors for the second straight year. She joins forces with Mary Clare Snediker, Lexi Crook, and Mary Cummings. Goalies Sarah Warnke and Keryn Meierdiercks have each seen time in the playoffs.

Colby is back in the NCAA tourney for the third time in school history. The Mules have fallen in the regional semifinals both times, last year losing at Hamilton.

Middlebury (10-5) comes into the tourney as one of the most decorated teams in NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse history. They have a 286-43 record since 1990 and have won five nationals titles while advancing to the NCAA Final Four every year from 1994 to 2007. Chase Delano (45 goals, 12 assists) and Dana Heritage (34 goals, 23 assists) both have 57 points to lead the offense, while Sally Ryan has 41 goals and 14 assists for 55 points.

Hamilton, winners of the Liberty League title for the third straight year, stands at 14-2 overall after winning the national title last year. The Continentals took a 4-3 win over Union College in the league title game. In its fifth time in the NCAA tourney, Hamilton is led in scoring by Kallie Briscoe (35 goals, 33 assists) and Liz Rave (39 goals).

Williams (13-6) only went 4-5 in the NESCAC this year and were the fifth seed in the tourney, but the Ephs got hot at the right time of the year. Williams made the NESCAC final and gave Colby fits before the Mules pulled out a 12-10 victory. First-year Margie Fulton just earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors with 44 goals and 26 assists, while Britt Spackman is a dangerous offensive weapon with 38 goals and a team-best 32 assists.



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