Raiders Advance to Patriot League Semi-Final for the First Time in Four Years

On Friday, April 26, the Colgate Women’s Lacrosse Team traveled to Easton, Pennsylvania to face the Lafayette Leopards in their first game of the weekend. The game against Lafayette was the final regular season match for the Raiders, before they would travel to Boston, Massachusetts to face Boston University in the Patriot League playoffs.

Colgate seized the lead quickly at the start of the game, shutting out the Leopards and scoring four goals within the first 14 minutes of regulation play. The first of the Raiders’ goals was scored by sophomore attacker Danielle Van Calcar and was followed by two back-to-back unassisted goals by senior attacker Tara Atkinson. The fourth goal, scored by first-year midfielder Jacklyn Hooey, was assisted by junior attacker Payton Gabriel. The Raiders 4-0 lead did not last too long, with the Leopards finally slot- ting a goal in the back of the net with 12 minutes remaining in the half. Following this goal, they began to play off of the momentum, scoring two more goals to bring the score to 4-3. Atkinson brought an end to the scoring run, notching an- other goal for the Raiders with seven minutes remaining. Unfortunately, Lafayette answered once again, scoring three more goals in the half, answered only by one goal from Atkinson to close out the half with a score of 6-6.

The second half saw a similar back and forth for the first 20 minutes, featuring Colgate goals by sophomore midfielder Annelise Kotz as well as Gabriel, Atkinson and junior midfielders Noelle Patterson and Alissa Masini. With nine minutes remaining in the game, the scoreboard read 11-10 Colgate, and within the next three minutes, Colgate had once again seized a three-goal lead, thanks to goals by Van Calcar and Hooey. With three minutes remaining in the half, play was suspended due to thunderstorms in the area, but this did not deter the Raiders. Upon returning from the rain delay, they preserved the lead and closed out the game with a 13-12 victory.

“It was Lafayette’s last game as well as their senior day and they always play us tough so we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. But, we had a good game plan and tried to really shut off their key players,” senior defender Madeline Barcia said. “Despite the weather delay we kept the energy going and walked away with a win.”

Leaving Easton, the Raiders hit the road once again, this time toward Boston, to prepare for the first game of their post-season play. On Sunday, April 28, Colgate faced the Boston University Terriers, the No.4 seed in the Patriot League. In their in-season matchup, the Terriers had walked away with a 17-12 victory. Despite this defeat, the Raiders entered the game undeterred. The Terriers were the first on the scoreboard, but, Colgate answered quickly with three goals from Kotz, making the score 3-1. All three of these Raider goals were assisted by Atkinson. Boston answered the three goal run with one of their own, which brought the score to 3-4 with 15 minutes remaining in the first half. Colgate outscored the Terriers for the remainder of the first half, with four goals to their two, making the score at the conclusion of the first half 7-6. Two goals by junior attack Lindsay West, as well as goals by Gabriel and Hooey, contributed to the successes of this latter portion of the first half.

The Raiders came out in the second half ready to continue avenging their in-season loss, scoring unanswered goals within the first five minutes of play. Of the three goals, Patterson scored two of them and assisted the other to Van Calcar. The duo’s goals brought the tally to 10- 6. Although the Terriers answered with two goals, the Raiders forged full speed ahead, scoring three more, making the score 13-8 with 15 minutes remaining in the half. These three goals were scored by Kotz, Patterson and first-year midfielder C.C. Telesco, giving Colgate their largest lead of the game. However, the lead did not last long, for Boston scored four unanswered goals, the scoreboard reading 13-12 with only seven minutes remaining in regulation play. Junior midfielder Noelle Patterson scored another for the Raiders with six minutes remaining, and although the Terriers answered with five minutes remaining, bringing the score to 14-13, it was not enough to earn them the win. Colgate’s defensive unit held out any other shots, sealing the final score, and making Colgate victorious.

“I think we all played for each other today and I really think that is what made us so successful. Going into this game, we were all determined to make sure this wouldn’t be the last time we were going to play together as a team, and in the end we made it happen,” Kotz said.

The Raiders’ victory brought their overall record to 8-9 and earned them a spot in the Patriot League semifinals on Thursday, May 4. They will travel to Loyola University in Maryland where they will face the Loyola Greyhounds, the No.1 seed in the Patriot League. In their in season matchup, the Greyhounds defeated Colgate 19-8. Despite this history, the Raiders are excited for the challenge.

“Nothing is more satisfying than coming out on top in playoffs after all the work we have put in this entire sea- son. We can’t wait to carry our momentum into our next game against Loyola and fight just as hard as we did today,” West said.

The game against Loyola will be at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 2, and will be streamed online on the Patriot League Network. Loyola is not only the top seeded team in the Patriot League but is also the No.11 team in national polls, the only Patriot League team to be ranked inside of the top 20.

Based on Colgate's record, the only way they can qualify for the NCAA tournament would be to win the conference tournament. Making it to the league semi-finals for the first time since 2015 is a good start, but the team needs to win their next two games to take the Patriot League crown. Should they defeat Loyola, they will play the winner of Army and Navy both of whom Colgate lost to during the regular season. The league championship game will be held at Loyola on Saturday, May 4, at a time to be determined.

Despite being an underdog, Colgate fans only have to think back to this fall, when the Men's Soccer team, which was the No.3 seed in the Patriot League tournament came off three straight victories including Loyola and army to win the Patriot League title and clinch a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Women's Lacrosse Team hopes to mimic the success of the soccer team and shock everyone by winning their first league title since 2009.

Contact Isabel Van Wie at ivanwie@colgate.edu

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