Pirie nets four in Mules' quarterfinals loss to Cardinals

Middletown, Conn. – The 14th ranked Colby women's lacrosse team visited 7th ranked Wesleyan for a conference quarterfinal of the NESCAC postseason. Earlier in the season, Wesleyan beat the Mules 16-6, but the playoffs offered a different landscape and intensity level and the game proved to be a physical and tenacious affair. 

Wesleyan jumped out to a fast start, taking advantage of draw controls and patient offensive possessions to score three times in the first three minutes. Several saves by Mules' goalie Emily Podgorni helped the Colby jumpstart their offense, and they began an early comeback when Grace Crowell found the back of the net on a feed from Robyn Pirie. Colby continued to chip away, with Taylor Moore bringing the Mules to within one goal after a Wesleyan yellow card. Colby could never quite catch the Cardinals, though. Wesleyan answered with two more goals before Grace Langmuir scored for the Mules to make the game 5-3. The seesaw action continued with another Wesleyan goal, followed by free position goals from Robyn Pirie and Emma Banks. Their lead cut to one, Wesleyan went on a run for the last 10 minutes of the half, scoring three of the last four goals to take a 9-6 lead into halftime. During the stretch, Robyn Pirie scored her second goal for the Mules on an assist from Bridget Horwood.

Colby answered the Cardinals with a run of their own to begin the second half. Grace Toner buried a feed from Horwood and then, after a Wesleyan goal, scored again on a pass from Grace Crowell. Emma Banks followed it up with a goal of her own to bring the Mules back to within one. Aggressive play by both defenses created a stalemate for the next ten minutes, with neither offense generating open looks or securing lengthy possessions. Wesleyan finally broke the drought, scoring twice to regain a three goal lead before Grace Langmuir scored on a free position shot for the Mules. The two teams would trade goals for the remainder of the game. Robyn Pirie followed up a Wesleyan goal by netting a top shelf shot, then finished the Mules' scoring with a free-position goal for her fourth of the game. Although goalie Emily Podgorni made nine saves and led a strong defensive effort for the Mules that included three ground balls each for Sarah Stark and Melinda Edie, Colby controlled only eight of 26 draws and never caught up after the Cardinals' quick start, losing 14-12. The loss brings Colby's NESCAC playoff campaign to a close but highlights the team's grit, as the game was one of the closest the Mules played all season.