In Teammates They Trust

 

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The Mules evolved into one of the best teams in the country. They won four of their last five in the regular season, then dispatched Tufts with a record-setting 22-goal performance in the NESCAC quarterfinals.

Next came reigning champ Middlebury—the one game that came to define this team.

The NESCAC tournament had been held for seven years, and Middlebury had won every game they had played in all seven tournaments. The toughest of those for Colby was in 2007, when Middlebury won a tough 10-8 decision in the final and the Mules were shut out of the NCAA tournament.
This year the script held true to form for 38 of the game’s 60 minutes. Middlebury led 8-3 with 22 minutes left. Sheridan, who set Colby’s single-season record for points this spring with 91, had her only scoreless game of the season.

But Campbell and Julian each scored four goals that day. Before the game reached the nine-minute mark, Campbell scored twice in a row to tie the game at 8. A short time later, Julian scored back-to-back goals of her own. Final score: Colby 10, Midd 8.

“We’ve really come together as a team,” Sheridan said. “We never give up. We’ll be down and it never seems like we’re down. I think it’s just really playing as a team and relying on each other rather than [playing as] individuals.”

team photo
The 2008 New England Small College Athletic Conference champion Colby women’s lacrosse team poses before beginning play in the NCAA championships, in which Colby eventually lost to Hamilton College.

Years from now people will probably misremember that game as the NESCAC final, but the championship game was played the next day. Colby led Trinity by a goal with 2:26 to play and held on until Sheridan scored her fourth goal of the game with just 10 seconds left for a 14-12 victory.

With the win, women’s lacrosse became the third team in Colby history to capture a NESCAC title since the league began a playoff format. Women’s crew won the NESCAC title (and the national championship) in 2003, and women’s volleyball won the crown in 2005.

Sheridan, the NESCAC player of the year, was named national Division III midfielder of the year and was one of four Colby players to earn All-America honors from two national organizations. Sheridan is a first-team All-American with both womenslacrosse.com and Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA). Julian, Jamie Enos ’08, and Caroline Duke ’10 also were All-America for both organizations.

All because of teamwork? Maybe. But championship teams also have something less tangible. “I think they have that little spirit in them,” Henning said. “If things aren’t easy, it makes them want it that much more.”

 
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