A cloud of sadness envelops the Hamilton community as the women’s lacrosse team clears the SUNY Cortland field on an overcast afternoon. The Continentals have just been denied a fifth consecutive berth in the NCAA regional finals, losing a 6-5 heartbreaker to the stubborn Mules of Colby on a tie-breaking goal with just 13 seconds left.
This was Hamilton’s seventh appearance in the NCAA tournament and the fourth with senior captains Sarah Bray, Anne Graveley and Becca Green. The three were first-year players in 2008 when the Continentals secured the College’s first national team championship. “Oblivious” to the talent of defending champion Franklin & Marshall as underdog Hamilton played for the NCAA Division III title that year, Graveley and Bray were the game’s top scorers.
Next season the Continentals will leave the Liberty League to enter the New England Small College Athletic Conference, and Hamilton fans anticipate the type of competitive play that was seen today. “We will always strive for the highest success,” Bray says, “whether as underdogs or as established greats.”
Work ethic and camaraderie are staples of the team, and Green credits Coach Patty Kloidt with recruiting character as well as talent. Annual bonding traditions include an April Fool’s prank on Kloidt’s birthday and a skit mocking the upperclassmen, performed by first-year players during preseason training. This year’s skit theme: “The Next Best Babysitter,” for Kloidt’s expected twin girls.
Filing into the locker room, the team mourns the abrupt end of the season and the finish it represents for the collegiate athletic careers of its senior captains. But the melancholy air dissipates later when the team celebrates a last night together. “You never want to let your fan base down,” Graveley reflects, “but you also know that they support you, no matter what.”