LEWISTON, Maine -- No. 6 nationally ranked Colby College erased a 5-2 first-half deficit, took its first lead with 10:56 left in the second half and went on to a 10-8 NESCAC victory over the Bates College women's lacrosse team on Wednesday night, in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Colby (13-1, 9-1) has the second seed in this weekend's NESCAC Championship quarterfinals, and will host seventh-seeded Hamilton Saturday at noon. Bates (7-7, 3-7 NESCAC) entered the game knowing it had the eighth seed at NESCACs and will play at top-seeded Trinity on Saturday at noon.
Both teams emphasized holding possession, resulting in only 37 shots in the game -- 20 for Bates, 17 for Colby. The Mules put an impressive 16 of their shots on goal.
Lindsey McKenna scored three goals for the Mules, and Tess Petesch accounted for two goals and one assist. Notching one goal and one assist apiece for Colby were Kate Pistel, Alex Mintz and Sara Miller.
Senior Joan O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.) scored three times and assisted on another goal for Bates. The NESCAC's leading scorer finished the regular season with a career-high 50 goals. First-year Kathy Yannopoulos (Simsbury, Conn.) scored two goals and helped on two others, and senior Lindsay Thompson (Ipswich, Mass.) scored a pair of goals.
Michelle Burt started in goal for Colby and made three saves. Claire Dickson played the second half and also made three saves in earning the win. For Bates, senior Leah Elsmore (Broadview Heights, Ohio) made six saves.
Thompson scored the first two goals of the game for Bates, at the 29:17 and 27:45 marks, but Colby's McKenna evened the game before the first 10 minutes had expired. Yannopoulos and O'Neill then accounted for a 3-0 Bates run spanning less than two minutes on the game clock. Yannopoulos got it started with an 8-meter shot, then O'Neill scored right after the ensuing draw. O'Neill then fed Yannopoulos with 16:39 left in the half for a 5-2 Bates lead.
The Mules held Bates scoreless over the rest of the half and 10 minutes into the second half, meanwhile closing the gap to 5-4 before halftime on a pair of goals by Petesch. Katie Griffin scored unassisted with 23:53 left in the second half to tie the game at 5-5.
O'Neill sandwiched a score by Colby's Miller with her 49th and 50th scores of the season, for a 7-6 Bates edge with 12:36 left. Colby then ran off four straight in the game's decisive stretch. Pistel tallied her 21st goal on an assist by Hilary Barr to tie the game again at 7-7. Claire Donegan won the ensuing draw and never broke stride, streaking up the field, outrunning Bates defenders and scoring the go-ahead goal with 10:56 to go. McKenna added her team-hihg 38th goal at the 6:09 mark for a 9-7 lead, and the Mules made it 10-7 on an unassisted goal by Mintz.
Yannopoulos found Bates senior Maggie Reilly (Wellesley, Mass.) to close the gap to 10-8 with 2:16 left, but Colby's defense frustrated the Bobcats from getting any closer, holding Bates to only one shot the rest of the way, a blocked offering by O'Neill.
Playing at Garcelon Field for the final time were six Bates seniors: Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.), Elsmore, O'Neill, Caroline Pierce (Weston, Mass.), Reilly and Thompson.