Middlebury, Vt. - The Colby College Mules outscored the Trinity College Bantams, 8-4, in the second half, including a 6-0 run to end the game, to pull away with a 13-9 victory in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Women's Lacrosse Championship game on Sunday afternoon at Kohn Field in Middlebury, Vermont. Colby captures its third-ever conference crown and first since 2009 with its 13th-straight victory this spring. Trinity, seeded No. 3 in the tournament and No. 12 in the Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Coaches Poll, falls to 14-4 on the year and awaits a probable at-large bid in this evening's NCAA Division III Tournament selection show. The Mules, ranked No. 5 in the IWLCA Coaches Poll, improve to 15-3 overall and receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
Colby's scoring came spread out as four Mules tallied double-digit goals, led by Emilie Klein (North Andover, Mass.) who had a team-high four scores. Kendall Smith (Glen Ridge, N.J.) added three goals on the day while Gemma Bready (Newbury, N.H.) and Maddie Hatch (Wilbraham, Mass.) each found the back of the net twice. Colby won 15-of-24 draw controls, led by Bready and Grace Crowell (Medfield, Mass.) who combined for nine, and outshot Trinity 21-18 while comitting two less turnovers.
The Bantams were powered offensively by junior Kiley Coffey (West Newbury, Mass.) who had a game-high seven goals to go along with a team-high three draw controls. Coffey's seven goals ties a NESCAC Tournament record for most in a game while her 17 throughout the tournament is a new conference-best. Junior Clara Nowlan (Needham, Mass.) and first-year Sarah Montalbano (Huntington, N.Y.) each tallied a pair of caused turnovers defensively for Trinity while junior goalie Zoe Ferguson (Ridgewood, N.J.) and her Colby counterpart, sophomore netminder Izzy Scribano (Darien, Conn.), both stopped four shots on the day.
Both teams went toe-to-toe in the first half with the Bantams holding a one-goal lead at the end of the first 30 minutes. Colby got things going just 3:20 into the opening frame when Smith scored her first goal of the afternoon off an assist by junior Sasha Fritts (Darien, Conn.). As was the theme of the first half, the Bantams responded at the 20:36 mark when Coffey converted her first of three free-position goals to even the game at 1-1. Crowell and Coffey traded goals on free-position attempts to make it a 2-2 game before the Mules reclaimed a one-goal lead when Fritts beat Ferguson on a free-position shot. Coffey answered with her third goal at 8:13, thanks to an assist by senior captain Clare Lyne (Concord, Mass.), to once again tie the game.
The Bantams took their first lead of the game less than two minutes later when junior Allie Barrett (Concord, Mass.) whipped a free-position attempt past Scribano to make it 5-4 Trinity with 6:34 left in the half. Klein found the back of the net with her first goal of the day to even the score once more but Coffey's fourth goal of the half, coming with 22 seconds left, gave the Bantams a 5-4 lead at the break.
Trinity outscored Colby, 4-3, within the first 15 minutes of the second half to climb to a 9-7 lead but a furious final 15 minutes by the Mules propelled them to the victory. Bready and Fritts scored once each, just 56 seconds apart starting at the 14:49 mark, to tie the game at 9-9. Smith then scored twice more, at 13:15 and 12:31, to put the Mules up two. Fritts assisted on Hatch and Klein goals to give Colby a four-goal lead which would stand as the difference, but it was the Mules defense that came up clutch, not allowing a Trinity shot on net in the final 17:39 to come away with the NESCAC trophy.