May 3, 2009

MEDFORD -- Colby College, which outscored Williams College 6-2 in the second half to erase a two-goal halftime deficit, won its second consecutive NESCAC Women's Lacrosse Championship with a 12-10 final on Sunday afternoon at Tufts University's Bello Field. The Mules (16-1), the tournament's second seed, receive an automatic berth into the 2009 NCAA Division III Tournament.

Colby looked like they might rout the Ephs early in the game. They went up 4-1 with the help of two goals by senior Heather Nickerson (Falmouth, MA). However, Williams turned it around and scored seven of the remaining nine goals in the half and led 8-6 at the break. Junior Whitney Thayer (Lancaster, PA) scored three goals in the first half for Williams (12-6), which entered the tournament as the fifth seed.

Colby had a 19-12 advantage in shots for the first half, but Williams scored on eight of the nine attempts that they put on goal. The Mules changed goalies for the second half, inserting junior Keryn Meierdiercks (Oyster Bay, NY), and the team clamped down defensively in front of her. The Ephs attempted just eight shots in the second half. Colby won six of the nine draws in the second period.

The Mules quickly tied the score at 8-8. Senior Becky Julian (South Windsor, CT) scored just 18 seconds into the half and a Nickerson goal at 28:24 evened it up. However, Williams did not trail until 5:27 remained. Eph goals by Tracey Ferriter (Winchester, MA) and Britt Spackman (Newton, MA) had Williams up 10-9 with 13:40 on the clock. Colby junior Kathleen Kramer (Norwell, MA) converted a free-position shot to pull Colby even again (10-10) at 7:19.

With the championship on the line and the game tied entering the final seven minutes of play, Williams won the next draw, but turned it over. Colby used that possession to take the lead when senior co-captain Kate Sheridan (Hingham, MA) passed to junior Caroline Atwater (Catonsville, MD) for a goal that made it 11-10 with 5;27 remaining. Both teams were sloppy with their possession down the stretch, and Colby turned a failed Williams clear into their 12th goal, Nickerson's fourth of the game assisted by Sheridan with 43 seconds left. The Mules won the draw control and killed the clock to win it.

Nickerson's four goals and four assists by Sheridan led Colby offensively. Junior Amy Campbell (North Andover, MA) scored three goals. Nickerson also led the champs with four ground balls, while Sheridan finished with three ground balls and three draw controls. Julian was immense on draw controls, securing six for the Mules, and she also caused two turnovers. Meierdiercks earned the victory by playing the second half, making two saves.

Spackman, who scored the game-winning goal in overtime against Tufts on Saturday to put Williams in the final, led the Ephs on Sunday with two goals and two assists. First-year Margie Fulton (Wellesley, MA) had a goal and two assists, matching Thayer's point total. Senior Elizabeth Burns (Dover, DE) came away with five draw controls and caused three turnovers for the Ephs. In goal, sophomore Julia Schreiber (Cockeysville, MD) made eight saves and had four ground balls.

Seven yellow cards were whistled in the game. Colby finished with a 34-20 advantage in shots, while Williams won the ground-ball battle 21-14. The Mules won nearly two-third of the draws with 15 for 24 success. The Ephs will await word on an NCAA Tournament at-large berth, which will be announced tonight.