Raiders Earn PL Playoff Berth

The women’s Lacrosse team has been about as predictable as the words coming out of Don Imus’ mouth. After opening the season with six consecutive defeats, it looked to be a lost campaign for the 2006 Patriot League runner-up. Under the guidance of new Head Coach Heather Bliss, however, the team responded admirably with four wins in six games, including an essential league victory over Bucknell. But after a heartbreaking 16-14 loss to conference foe Lehigh, the Raiders were just 4-9 overall entering their contest with Syracuse, the 10th ranked team in the nation.

Early in the game, things looked promising for the underdog Raiders. Back-to-back goals by junior Jessica Van der Meulen sparked Colgate to a 3-2 lead fifteen minutes in. The remainder of the half, however, was dominated by the Orange, as they went on an 8-0 run to take a commanding 10-3 lead. Sophomore Ashley Didio found the back of the net with less than five seconds remaining in the half to cut the deficit to six at the intermission.

Syracuse continued its dominance, scoring the first three goals of the second half to increase its lead to nine. Colgate was unable to sustain any kind of prolonged run, as the two squads traded goals for the remainder of the game. The final score was 16-8.

Fortunately, the news was not devastating for the Raiders, as the contest was a non-league game. A loss against Lafayette, however, would seriously jeopardize any chance of a postseason run for the squad.

The Leopards came to Hamilton in search of their first win of the season; they would leave looking for that elusive victory. It was a complete team effort for Colgate in the annihilation of Lafayette as an astounding fourteen players recorded at least one point in the 18-6 win. Although the offensive output was great, the defensive effort was even more noteworthy. After allowing sixteen goals in back-to-back games and double-digits in eleven games this season, holding an opponent to just six goals was a great accomplishment and an even more significant momentum builder.

Sophomore Sara Drexler was stellar in goal, making three first half saves before being replaced once the game was out of hand. First-year Amanda Gurin was equally impressive, recording 10 saves in the second half. Offensively, sophomore Sarah Kellogg had three goals and an assist for a career-high four points. Didio continued her great play, recording a hat trick and increasing her team-leading goal total to 33 this season, an average of over two goals per game. Van der Meulen and first-year Katie Holland added a pair of goals a piece for Colgate.

With the victory, the Raiders improved to 5-10 overall, but remain .500 in the Patriot League at 2-2. They currently sit in third place in the league and have already clinched an all-important playoff berth.

The team concludes its regular season with a pair of games on Tyler’s Field this weekend. The Raiders play host to league-leading Holy Cross at noon on Saturday and Quinnipiac at noon on Sunday.