Women's lacrosse ends season with tough NCAA setback, 10-9

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. -- The third-ranked Colby College women's lacrosse team lost Sunday's game to Middlebury College in the same way the Mules beat the Panthers eight days ago in a league semifinal.

Middlebury (16-4 overall) scored the final two goals of the game to turn a 9-8 deficit into a 10-9 victory in the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament. The NESCAC champion Mules (16-4) scored the final two goals of the game in last Saturday's league semifinal to pull out a 10-9 win.

Colby led 8-5 with 23:19 left in the game and Middlebury was playing without NESCAC Player of the Year Hollis Perticone, who had to sit after registering two yellow cards in the first half.

The Panthers, however, won the draw control battle (13-8) and had 16 turnovers to Colby's 21. 

Izzy Scribano finished with 10 saves, including some fine stops on free-position shots for Colby. Middlebury goalie Kate Furber stopped six shots in the first half, but had no saves and allowed six goals in the final 30 minutes. 

Colby held the Panthers to 10 goals or less in all three games this year. First-year Kelsey Otley had a strong game with four caused turnovers, three ground balls, and one draw control. All-American defender Jackie Brokaw added three caused turnovers and three ground balls, while Gemma Bready finished with three caused turnovers and two ground balls. Emilie Klein reached 100 career draw controls by winning three for the Mules.

Evie Keating finished with four caused turnovers and five ground balls for the Panthers. Alex White had three draw controls, two caused turnovers, and two ground balls.

The Mules had been able to shut down one of the top two scorers in their previous two wins over the Panthers. However, Emma McDonagh had four goals and one assist, while teammate Mary O'Connell finished with two goals and three assists.

Kendall Smith led the Mules with three goals and one assist. Bready had another big game at Middlebury with three goals. Klein had two goals and Perticone dished three assists.

Perticone finished her Colby career with 66 goals and 64 assists for 130 points. Klein (pictured) had 40 career goals, 19 assists, 100 draw controls, 93 ground balls, and 87 caused turnovers. 

Bready scored on a player-up situation with 7:13 left in the first half to make it a 3-3 game. McDonagh, though, scored on a free-position to give the Panthers a 4-3 lead at intermission. The Panthers did lose Hollis Perticone to her second yellow card with 1:31 left to halftime.

The Mules had a 5-1 scoring advantage in the first 6:41 of the second half to take an 8-5 lead. Bready tied the game on a free-position shot one minute into the half. Klein cut to the goal and received a nice pass from Smith to put the Mules up for the first time at 5-4 with 25:57 remaining.

Draw controls became a major part of the game in the next few minutes. The Panthers scored just 15 seconds later when O'Connell tallied from McDonagh to make it 5-5.

The Mules won the draws next and it paid off. Smith scored just 17 seconds after O'Connell's goal off a pass from Perticone for a 6-5 Mule lead. Colby scored again 1:23 later when Fritts drew a double team and found Madeleine Hatch open in front for a 7-5 lead. The Mules seemed to have all the momentum when Smith took a pass from Kelsey Bowen and made a nice catch, turn, and shoot for the score with 23:19 to play.

The Panthers used a free-position goal from McDonagh, a player-up score from McDonagh from O'Connell, and a score from Emma Johns with 12 minutes to play to tie the game at 8-8.

Bready put Colby up 9-8 with 6:38 to play off Perticone's third assist of the day. 

Turnovers were the story in the final 6:38 after Bready's goal. The Mules had three costly turnovers and the Panthers had none. Colby had no shots after Bready's score.

Scribano did make two clutch saves in the final 4:25, including a free-position stop.

O'Connell scored unassisted with 3:02 remaining to knot the game at 9-9 after a Mule turnover. After a Scribano save with 1:15 left, the Mules had another costly turnover to give the Panthers another possession. Jenna McNicholas scored with 21.7 seconds remaining on a high shot off a pass from O'Connell. White had another key draw control and the Panthers were able to run out the time.