In high school, Kate Otley was, well, a little intimidated by Ashley Allen and Mariah Monks. They played for Waynflete, a girls’ lacrosse power in Maine, Otley played for Greely.

Now, as a teammate of both at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., Otley is glad to be on their side – and part of one of the nation’s top Division III women’s lacrosse programs. Hamilton advanced to the NCAA championship game last weekend, losing 7-6 to Salisbury College. The three midfielders played pivotal roles for the Continentals, who finished 21-1.

Otley, a sophomore from Cumberland, scored 21 goals and seven assists while collecting 22 grounds balls and winning 21 draws. Allen, a sophomore from South Portland, scored 15 goals with one assist, collected 15 ground balls and caused nine turnovers. Monks, a freshman from Cape Elizabeth, had seven goals and two assists with 16 ground balls.

“We’re happy to have all three of them,’’ said Coach Patty Kloidt. “They all do a great job of contributing.’’

Kloidt set up two lines of midfielders, with the Mainers “intertwined into those two lines,’’ said Kloidt. “The middies run a lot and do a lot of hard work. We need those two lines.’’

Allen and Monks have known each other since the fourth grade, when they started playing on club teams for soccer and lacrosse.

Monks was happy to see Allen, noting, “having a familiar face at the beginning of the school year made it less nerve-racking.’’

The three became fast friends. “It’s really cool playing with them,’’ said Otley. “We have our own inside jokes. We talk about Maine all the time.’’

Otley made a big jump from her freshman year, when she played on defense. Kloidt wanted her to adjust to the college game, while learning Hamilton’s philosophy. This year Kolidt wanted to take advantage of her speed and field intelligence in the midfield. “She made a huge jump,’’ said Kloidt.

“It was a great year,’’ said Otley. “Definitely more than I could have anticipated. I didn’t get a lot of playing time (as a freshman) but I worked really hard in the fall, did all the lifting, and had a much better season.’’

Allen has the ability to keep the ball moving through the midfield. “Playing with these girls, they’re all so athletic and talented, has definitely made me better,’’ she said. “The competition in practice makes you a much better player. It’s definitely a big leap from high school.’’

And it’s a leap all the players have to make. In high school, most were stars. “Sometimes they come in with ways that made them successful in high school, but might not be successful in college,’’ said Kloidt. “It’s always interesting to watch them take that next step.’’

Monks had to make that step this year. “I know I had to grow a lot,’’ she said. “I’m definitely, definitely challenged every day.’’

The three were all looking for a strong academic school with a strong lacrosse program. Hamilton filled both requirements.

“It’s a small school,’’ said Allen. “And if it didn’t have lacrosse, maybe it would be a little too small. But I love the people on this team. It’s like, the second you get here, you instantly have a group of 30 friends that want to hang out with you.’’

Otley, who scored a goal in the championship game, went to Hamilton for the science and chemistry programs – “I’m kind of a nerd,’’ she said. Going out for lacrosse, she said, “was probably the best decision I ever made.’’

The championship game loss was disappointing but doesn’t take away from a great season.

“We did a good job of not letting our record get to us,’’ said Otley. “We went into each game just hoping we would win that one. It was unbelievable to make it that far.’’

CREW
Senior Anastasia Miliano
of Gorham is the coxswain on Dartmouth College’s varsity men’s heavyweight (eight) crew, which is ranked seventh nationally going into the IRA national championships June 3-5. Dartmouth has had two huge victories in the last two weeks, finishing fifth in the EARC Eastern Sprints – entering the races ranked 12th then beating No. 1 Brown and recording the fastest time (5:36.769) in the three heat races – then beating No. 10 Syracuse to win the Packard Cup.

• Freshman Kathryn Goffin of Falmouth is a member of the Wellesley 2V8 women’s crew team that was selected to participate in the NCAA championships.

• Smith College sophomore Katherine Miller of Falmouth was selected to the Eastern College Athletic Conference/National Intercollegiate Rowing Championship Stewards All-Academic team.

TENNIS
Sophomore Maggie Taylor
of Yarmouth and freshman Melissa Keroack of Falmouth each had strong seasons for the Simmons College women’s team, which finished 15-8 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III regional tournament before losing to top-ranked Amherst. As the No. 2 doubles team, Taylor and Keroack went 7-3. In singles, Taylor was 8-6 while Keroack was 6-3.

TRACK AND FIELD
Senior Lauren Blackburn
of York finished her Babson College career with six school records: the 400 (1:02.79), 800 (2:22.01), 100 hurdles (15.97 seconds), 400 hurdles (1:05.04), heptathlon (3,857 points) and as the anchor leg of the 4-by-400 relay team (4:17.23). She recently missed qualifying for the NCAA championships in the 400 hurdles, finishing in 1:05.56 in the Last Chance Qualifier, one second shy of qualifying. She is the only female Babson athlete to earn all-conference, all-New England and all-ECAC honors.

• Colby junior Emma Linhard of Brunswick set a school record in the 800 (2:13.33) in the recent Last Chance Qualifier.

AWARDS
Senior second baseman John O’Brion
of Portland received the Morry Stein Award of Valor from Brandeis University. The award is given to a student-athlete who has demonstrated courage on or off the field or intervened to make the lives of others better. O’Brion came back from hip surgery to hit .284 with 17 RBI. He had no errors in 95 chances.

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]