With the Patriot League playoffs looming, Colgate’s women’s lacrosse team played two very important games in the past few days against league opponent Lehigh and No. 4/5 Syracuse. Colgate also clinched at least a share of the regular-season Patriot League title. Against Lehigh last Saturday, Colgate’s defense proved to be dominant, shutting the Mountain Hawks out for the first 13:19 of the game and allowing the offense to build an insurmountable 8-0 lead. Junior goalkeeper Sara Drexel made six consecutive saves during that pivotal stretch of the game and ended the half with nine saves. When Lehigh finally got on the scoreboard, seniors Lindsay Pittard and Jessica Van der Meulen answered with back-to-back goals to push the lead back up to 10-1. Following a three-goal run by Lehigh, Van der Meulen again found the back of the net, this time with just 31 seconds left in the half, allowing Colgate to take a 11-4 lead into halftime. Matching its first-half performance, the Raiders opened up the second half with another eight straight goals, taking a 19-4 lead and never looking back. With a commanding lead, Colgate’s coaching staff was able to clear the bench and make sure every healthy player got in the game. Lehigh scored the game’s final three goals, including two from the Patriot League’s leading scorer and first-year Lauren Dykstra, who had been held scoreless for the first 55 minutes of the game by a stifling and extremely active Raider defensive unit.
“Our win against Lehigh was huge,” first year Kate Bergstrom said. “They were one of the better Patriot League teams we’ve played. We just showed up to play and finally put together a full 60 minutes of solid lacrosse as a team. Our defense and our goalie especially played incredibly well.”
Sophomores Brie Moran and Meghan Lawler each scored six points each, including a combined ten goals, to lead the offense. Senior Jessica Van der Meulen also had a strong game, recording four goals and two assists. With the win Colgate finally reached .500 with a record of 7-7. The Raiders are still the only undefeated team in the Patriot League at 5-0. Lehigh on the other hand dropped to 3-2 in the Patriot League and 8-6 overall, but they have clinched a spot in the Patriot League tournament.
The Raiders then made the short trip to Syracuse to take on the Orange at the Carrier Dome yesterday. For the first time in over a month and a half, Colgate was clearly outmatched by its opponent, loosing handily to a strong Syracuse team, 24-6. The Raiders found themselves down early and often, trailing 7-0 in the opening stages of the first half, and later 17-4 at halftime. Senior Jessica Van der Meulen and sophomore Meghan Lawler, both who are from the Syracuse area, led Colgate with two goals apiece, but could never really get the Raider offense going.
“We just didn’t show up to play against Syracuse,” Bergstrom said. “I think we overlooked a really great opportunity to play at such a high level and didn’t give it our best.”
The Raiders will be back on the field on Saturday when they travel to American to play undoubtedly their most important game of the season so far. The winner of the game will earn the right to host the Patriot League tournament from April 25-27 and claim the top seed.
“Being undefeated in the league, our morale is unreal,” Bergstrom said. “Everyone is so pumped to take on American this weekend. It’s going to be an all-out brawl for hosting rights.”