WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College women's lacrosse program only trails Middlebury College in success in the New England Small College Athletic Conference Championships.
The second-seeded Mules, who are 15-9 in the tourney since the league started a playoff system in 2001, starts the 2012 playoffs with a 1 p.m. quarterfinal game against seventh-seeded Hamilton College on Saturday at Bill Alfond Field.
Webcast and live statistics can be found at http://livestats.prestosports.com/colby/
Colby has been to five straight NESCAC tourney title games and has never been seeded lower than fifth in any tourney since 2001. Colby won championships in 2008 and 2009, but have had to settle for runner-up status the past two years.
The Mules take a 15-game home winning streak dating back to the 2010 season into Saturday's game against the Continentals. Hamilton, which played lacrosse in the Liberty League, is playing in the NESCAC playoffs for the first time.
While Hamilton just joined the NESCAC for lacrosse this year, the two teams have played against each other twice in huge games the past two years. Colby took a thrilling 6-5 win over Hamilton last year in an NCAA second round game at Cortland State. The Continentals won a 14-9 NCAA quarterfinal game over the Mules two years ago.
Colby, ranked sixth nationally, made it two in a row over Hamilton with an 11-9 win during the spring break trip to Florida in late March.The Mules head into Saturday with five straight NESCAC quarterfinal wins, with the last loss coming to Williams College in the 2006 season.
Colby (13-1 overall) has a team shooting percentage at 50.3 percent and have converted 37 of its 56 free-position attempts. The opponent has taken 92 free-position shots, but only made 29 of those.
Lindsey McKenna (Fairfield, Conn.) leads Colby in scoring with 38 goals and six assists for 44 points. She also leads the Mules in free-position goals at eight and has a fine 54.3 shot percentage. Claire Donegan (Great Falls, Va.) ranks second in scoring with 17 goals and 16 assists for 33 points, while Sarah Lux (Manlius, N.Y.) has eight goals and 22 assists for 30 points. Junior All-American midfielder Kate Pistel (Amherst, Mass.) is at 21 goals and six assists for 27 points.
Colby's Kirsten Karis (Southborough, Mass.) leads the defense with team-highs of 23 caused turnovers and 32 ground balls. Kat McCarrick (Wellesley, Mass.) has 15 caused turnovers and 23 groundballs, while Meg Mooney (Wellesley, Mass.) and Lisa Hoopes (Ipswich, Mass.) both have 13 caused turnovers.
After losing four-year starter Sarah Warnke to graduation, goaltending was a concern at the start of the season for Colby. However, sophomore Michelle Burt (Woodbridge, Conn.) and first-year Claire Dickson (Darien, Conn.) have both played well. Burt has a .542 save percentage and a 7.38 goals against average. Dickson has a 5-0 record, an 8.27 goals against average, and a .520 save percentage.
Hamilton (6-9 overall) has been up-and-down in league play this season. The Continentals have solid wins against Amherst (8-6) and at Bates (16-9), but have had rough losses to Middlebury (10-4) and Williams (15-10). Hamilton lost the Williams game at home on April 18 and then came back three days later and nearly won at Trinity College (8-7 loss).
Hamilton is a dangerous offensive team, with 157 total goals and three players with 35 points or more. However, the Continentals have allowed 153 goals to Colby's 101.
Rachel Friedman (34 goals, 13 assists) and Libby Schultz (22 goals, 25 assists) both have 47 points heading into Saturday's game. Katie D'Antonio is at 24 goals and 12 assists for 36 points and has converted 11 free-position shots for goals. Friedman leads the team in draw controls with 50 and Lauren Sokol has 41.
Dewi Caswell has played the majority of minutes in net for Hamilton.
2012 NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship
Saturday, April 28 at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Bates at No. 1 Trinity – 12:00 p.m.
No. 7 Hamilton at No. 2 Colby – 1:00 p.m.
No. 6 Tufts at No. 3 Middlebury – 12:00 p.m.
No. 5 Bowdoin at No. 4 Amherst – 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 5 at Highest Remaining Seed
Semifinals – game times at 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seed
Remaining first round winners Sunday,
Final – 12:00 pm