LEWISTON, Maine -- No. 11 nationally ranked Colby College controlled the game from start to finish and downed the No. 17 Bates women's lacrosse team 10-6 in the regular-season finale for both teams Wednesday evening at Garcelon Field.
The Mules (8-5, 6-4 NESCAC) finish in a tie for fifth place in the NESCAC with Tufts. The Mules will be the sixth seed in the NESCAC Championship, and will play at third-seeded Middlebury in the conferece quarterfinals on Saturday.
Bates (8-7, 4-6 NESCAC) finishes in a tie for seventh place with Bowdoin. The Bobcats earned the eighth seed in the NESCAC Championship, and will play at top-seeded Trinity in the conference quarterfinals on Saturday at noon. Bates won 6-3 at Trinity on March 15 in a major upset.
Sarah Lux got the Mules off to a 2-0 lead with the game's first goal, followed by an assist to Abby Hatch. Lux finished with three assists and a goal, while Hatch scored three times to lead the Mule attack. Lindsey McKenna and Katharine Eddy added two goals apiece.
Senior Blair Shrewsbury (Boxford, Mass.) led the Bobcats with two goals and two assists, and sophomore Alex Briody (North Kingstown, R.I.) added a goal and an assist. Senior Wally Pierce (Weston, Mass.) had game highs of four ground balls and four draw controls.
Colby was a flawless 18-for-18 on clears and held advantages over Bates in shots (25-18) and turnovers (16 for Bates, 10 for Colby).
Colby struck first on a free-position goal by Lux seven minutes into the game. Colby controlled the ensuing draw, and less than two minutes later, an extended Mule possession was capped by Lux's feed from behind the Bates goal to a cutting Hatch for the 2-0 edge.
The score remained 2-0 until halfway through the period. With 15:28 to go, a great find by Bates' Briody to first-year Kaileigh Maguire (Sudbury, Mass.), followed by Maguire's juke on Colby goalie Michelle Burt, cut it to 2-1, the last time Bates was that close the rest of the way.
Five minutes later, Colby made it a two-goal game again, when Hatch made a strong move from the right side and faked out Bates sophomore goalie Hannah Jeffrey (Greenwich, Conn.) for her second score.
Bates' Pierce picked off a Colby pass and charged upfield as the game clock went under 6:00, but the Bobcats turned the ball back over, failing to capitalize on the counter-attack. Colby called timeout, and soon after Alex Mintz fed to a cutting Emilie Klein from behind Bates' cage, putting the Mules up 4-1, where the score stayed heading into intermission.
Bates' hopes for a second-half insurgence grew dimmer just 30 seconds into the period, when Hatch, with her back to Bates' goal, faked one way, turned and shot to make it 5-1. That was followed less than a minute later with an impressive goal by McKenna, who cut across the lane and dived to get a shot off past her defender, finding a gap past Jeffrey to open up a 6-1 Colby lead.
Bates sophomore Emma Noto (Portland, Ore.) broke up Colby's 4-0 run with a free-position goal on Mules goalie Claire Dickson, who had come in at the 26:02 mark, cutting the lead to 6-2. Colby answered with two straight, however, as Eddy ripped an 8-meter shot of her own, and with 21:46 to go Lux fed a cutting McKenna from behind the net for a commanding 8-2 advantage.
Shrewsbury fed Briody for a Bates goal with 20:45, but Colby maintained the big lead when Eddy sprinted into the Bates zone from the left wing and unleased an unassisted goal.
Shrewsbury, clearly not giving up, determinedly streaked in on a Bates clear, made a nice one-move juke and fired into the top of the Colby net with 16:24 left, closing the score to 9-4. But Colby had the answer again, with Lux's interior pass to Katie Griffin for the finish made it 10-4 with 15:30 left to play.
Colby was very effective in playing keepaway down the stretch, though Shrewsbury figured in two more Bates goals, scoring on an 8-meter shot with 4:46 to go, then feeding Pierce from behind the Colby net with 30.6 seconds left for the final tally.
Jeffrey made 11 saves for Bates. Burt made three saves in the first half for Colby, and Dickson made one stop in the second half.
The game marked the final appearance at home for seven Bates seniors: Rosie Hale (Winchester, Mass.), Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.), Cat Dioli (Ipswich, Mass.), Melanie Watson (West Granby, Conn.), SooHee Yoon (Lexington, Mass.), Shrewsbury and Pierce.