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Contact: William Sodoma
Date: May 9, 2009
WATERVILLE, Maine --- The greatest season in Colby College women’s lacrosse history came to an end Saturday when ninth-ranked Middlebury College beat the Mules for the first time in three chances this season in a 9-3 win in an NCAA Division III Tournament regional semifinal at Colby’s Bill Alfond Field.
The Panthers will meet defending national champion Hamilton College in the regional final Sunday at 1 p.m. at Colby. The winner heads off to Salem, Virginia, next Saturday and Sunday for the NCAA Final Four. Hamilton, ranked fifth nationally, held on for an 8-7 win over Williams College in the other semifinal. Meanwhile, Colby finishes its best season ever with a 16-2 record and a second straight New England Small College Athletic Conference title.
Middlebury (11-5) had fallen 10-9 in double overtime in the regular season and 17-12 in the NESCAC semifinal round to the Mules. The Panthers got six goals from sophomore Chase Delano (Greenwich, Conn.), including the first two goals of the game and the last two.
Middlebury, now 37-10 all-time in NCAA play, is looking to get back to the NCAA Final Four after missing out last year. The Panthers had been among the top four teams in the tourney from 1994 to 2007.
The game appeared it would be high scoring after Delano scored unassisted just 1:13 into the game and made it 2-0 with a free-position goal with 27:22 to play.
Colby bounced back quickly when Becky Julian (South Windsor, Conn.) nailed a free-position shot of her own with 24:57 left and then assisted on Heather Nickerson’s (Falmouth, Mass.) goal with 21:11 to halftime for a 2-2 tie.
The Panthers went ahead for good when Stephanie Gill (Hingham, Mass.) came from behind the net and tallied with 19:13 to play to start a 5-0 scoring run to intermission. Dana Heritage (Cheshire, Conn.) made it 4-2 with 18:42 remaining off a pass from Sally Ryan (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) and then Ryan assisted again on Delano’s goal with 18:10 to play. In a span of 1:03, Middlebury turned a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 lead.
Ryan went hard to the goal after receiving a pass from Heritage and blasted home Middlebury’s sixth goal with 11:33 to the break. Delano added her fourth goal with 6:49 left in the half from Heritage.
With a 7-2 lead at halftime, Middlebury slowed the tempo of the game down in the second half and neither team managed a goal for nearly 15 minutes. Colby got the lead down to 7-3 when Amy Campbell (North Andover, Mass.) drove the middle and rifled home a shot with 15:08 to play.
Delano sealed the victory with a nice goal coming from behind the net with 13:36 left and then added a free-position goal with 2:03 remaining.
Heritage and Ryan both finished with one goal and two assists for Middlebury, while goalie Blair Bowie (Washington, D.C.) stopped six shots.
The loss ends the careers of one of the great senior classes in the history of Colby athletics. Kate Sheridan, a two-time NESCAC Player of the Year and a soon-to-be four-time All-American, finished her four years with 181 goals and 113 assists for 294 points. Sheridan owns the career points and goals records and will have to share the assist record with Ally King ’03 at 113.
Julian, an All-American last year, ended up with 119 goals and 38 assists for 157 career points. Meanwhile, Nickerson had 81 goals and 17 assists for 98 points and also had 112 career caused turnovers and 140 groundballs. Lauren Barrett (Fairfield, Conn.), who missed last season after earning All-American honors two years ago, had 112 goals and 19 assists for 131 points. Lauren Strazzula (Norwell, Mass.) had 42 goals and 36 assists for 78 career points, while co-captain Cary Finnegan (West Hartford, Conn.) had 50 goals and 21 assists for 71 points. Defender Mary Clare Snediker (New Canaan, Conn.) had 77 groundballs and 52 caused turnovers.
Middlebury 9, Colby 3
Middlebury SCORING: GOALS: Chase Delano 6; Dana Heritage 1; Sally Ryan 1; Stephanie Gill 1. ASSISTS: Dana Heritage 2; Sally Ryan 2.
Colby SCORING: GOALS: Becky Julian 1; Heather Nickerson 1; Amy Campbell 1. ASSISTS: Becky Julian 1.
Shots: Middlebury 20, Colby 16. Goalies: Blair Bowie (Middlebury, 60:00, 3 GA, 6 saves); Sarah Warnke (Colby, 44:15, 8 GA, 3 saves) and Keryn Meierdiercks (Colby, 15:45, 1 GA, 1 save).