The women’s lacrosse team began a new era during last Saturday’s season opener against Stony Brook, but this new era, in only one game, has been up and down. After a terrific 2006 season that ended with a loss to Holy Cross in the Patriot League final, this will be a season of transition for the Raiders. New Head Coach Heather Bliss has inherited a team that lost nine players to graduation and returns only four seniors and two juniors. With 19 underclassmen, the team’s youth will play a pivotal role in its success and determine if Colgate can reclaim the Patriot League crown and return to the NCAA Tournament.
The Bliss era, however, got off to a rocky start against Stony Brook. The Raiders started slowly, allowing six first-half goals en route to a 6-3 halftime deficit. The halftime adjustments worked well for Colgate, as they opened the second half with a flurry of goals to knot the game at six. Sophomores Ashley Didio and Molly Carroll were responsible for the tallies, as Didio added her second of the game before Carroll scored back-to-back goals.
The remainder of the game was as exciting as the opening game of a college lacrosse season could be. Both teams seesawed back and forth, as each side answered every goal the other scored. After the Seawolves grabbed a 7-6 lead, the Raiders answered back with two goals in thirty seconds. Junior Jessica Van der Meulen and senior tri-captain Tara Casey scored the tying and go-ahead goals.
After Stony Brook answered once again to make it 8-8, Colgate scored two unanswered goals to take a 10-8 lead with just 8:22 remaining. Casey and junior Lindsay Pittard netted the goals, but the Raiders were unable to hold onto the lead. The Seawolves scored the final three goals of the contest to capture the 11-10 victory in thrilling fashion.
“I was very pleased with the way the team played against Stony Brook and although we ended up with a loss in the end we learned a lot,” said Casey, who let the Raiders with three goals. “A lot of the mistakes we made were fixable mistakeswhich is awesome. Overall, I think we are going to be underrated by many teams and I am excited to prove them wrong.”
Colgate begins a seven-game road trip this Saturday against LaSalle at 12 p.m.