Joan O'Neill '12 exploded for four goals and five assists in Bates' 15-10 win over Colby. (File photo)
LEWISTON, Maine -- Junior Joan O'Neill scored four goals and dished out five assists, and sophomore Jenn Brallier added five goals and two assists, as the No. 20 nationally ranked Bates women's lacrosse team nearly led wire-to-wire in a 15-10 upset victory over No. 8 Colby on Friday night at Garcelon Field, in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The teams will meet again on Sunday in Waterville in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Championship. Bates (9-6, 4-5 NESCAC) tied for sixth place in the conference and earned the sixth seed, while Colby (11-3, 6-3 NESCAC) takes the third seed.
It is Bates' second straight win over Colby, following a 13-year victory drought against the rival Mules.
The point totals were career highs for both O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.) and Brallier (Chambersburg, Pa.), Bates' top two scorers this year. O'Neill's nine points are the most by a Bobcat since at least the 2005 season, and her five assists are tied for the most in that time span. Senior Briana Gross (Andover, Mass.) and junior Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) added three goals and one assist apiece.
Lindsay McKenna led the Mules with four goals, while Kate Pistel and Anne Geraghty added two apiece.
Colby scored the first goal, a free-position shot by Casey Thomas at the 27:56 mark of the first half. But Bates answered immediately, evening the game at 27:37 as O'Neill fed Dannis, and going ahead for good just 13 seconds later, at the 27:24 mark, as O'Neill fed Brallier, who reached behind her and swung her shot over her shoulder for a 2-1 lead. O'Neill assisted on three of Brallier's goals in the game.
After Brallier scored on another O'Neill feed at the 21:27 mark, Colby closed the gap with another free-position goal, scored by Pistel, to make it 3-2. But from there, the Bobcats scored four straight goals -- one apiece by Gross, O'Neill, Brallier and Dannis -- over a span of less than three minutes to seize a 7-2 lead with 16:43 left in the half. Colby closed it to 7-3 on yet another free-position goal, by Geraghty, but the Mules never got any closer the rest of the way. Bates slowed the game down as much as possible in the second half to milk the clock. O'Neill, who had all five of her assists in the first half, took advantage of Colby's extended defense to score three of her goals in the second half.
Bates first-year defender SooHee Yoon (Lexington, Mass.) played an outstanding game with six ground balls and six draw controls, as did first-year Cat Dioli (Ipswich, Mass.) with three draw controls and three caused turnovers.
Senior Mara Krueger (St. Louis, Mo.) made eight saves for the Bobcats, while Sarah Warnke also stopped 10 shots for the Mules. The game marked Senior Night for Bates' four seniors, playing in their final game at Garcelon: Gross, Emily Howe (Carlisle, Mass.), Ingrid Knowles (Yarmouth, Maine) and Krueger.
O'Neill now has 40 goals and 25 assists for 65 points, tying for the team's single-season assists mark with Carrie Smith in 2002, and coming within three points of the team's single-season record of 68, set by Stephanie Smith in 1987. O'Neill is also just one assist away from tying the team career record of 50 set by former teammate Morgan Maciewicz last year.
2011 NESCAC Women’s Lacrosse Championship
Sunday, May 1 at Higher Seeds
No. 8 Williams at No. 1 Trinity – 12:00 pm
No. 7 Amherst at No. 2 Bowdoin – 12:00 pm
No. 6 Bates at No. 3 Colby – 12:00 pm
No. 5 Tufts at No. 4 Middlebury – 12:00 pm
Saturday, May 7 at Highest Remaining Seed
Semifinals – game times at 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Highest remaining seed vs. lowest remaining seed
Remaining first round winners
Sunday, May 8
Final – 12:00 pm