Growing up together in Wells, the Colley twins – Becca and Lily – were “constantly grouped together,” said Becca.
So when it was time to head off to college, they decided it was time to go their separate ways.
Becca in particular, “had a strong desire to get out of Maine and make my own path.”
She went to Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C., earning dean’s list success in the classroom and quickly gaining a starting position in lacrosse for a team making a rapid rise in the Division III Old Dominion Athletic Conference.
Lily, the more dynamic high school athlete (McDonald’s team in basketball; single-season state record 66 goals in lacrosse), wanted to stay closer to home and was determined to give college basketball a try. She went to Clark University in Worcester, Mass. As a freshman she played less than eight minutes a game, although she did have a 17-point game late in the season.
She tried to use that game as fuel for her sophomore season, working hard over the summer. But when the 5-foot-5 shooting guard saw that the Clark coach had brought in several 6-foot shooting guards, she knew a change was in order.
“The beginning of my sophomore year at Clark I was pretty miserable,” Lily Clark said.
She looked into Endicott College, where an older sister had played, and also at Guilford. She was accepted at both schools for a mid-year transfer.
She chose Guilford, and the reunion has been a huge boost to the lacrosse program. The Quakers set a school record in 2012 with 11 wins, with Lily scoring 48 goals and dishing out a school-record 30 assists.
This season Guilford is 9-1 overall and undefeated in the ODAC, with legitimate aims to win its first-ever conference tournament and earn an NCAA tournament bid.
Lily Clark, who plays attack, has 41 goals and 26 assists, and is currently ranked eighth in the country (second on the team) in points and 16th in assists. Becca Colley, a midfielder, has already established career highs in goals (23), assists (8) and points (31).
“We really have a shot at getting a ring this year,” Becca Colley said. “This year we really want to go all the way and that drive really hadn’t been there until this year.”
Becca said once she realized her sister was unhappy at Clark, she actively recruited her to join the Guilford team.
“I told her if you want to play every second of every game, come down here,” Becca said.
For her part, Lily had to make sure her sister was ready to renew their teammate relationship.
“We had a long conversation because I didn’t want to do something that would ruin her college experience,” Lily said. “We had to talk it out and when we had conflicts we had to figure out how to deal with them.”
Guilford first-year lacrosse coach Sarah Lamphier inherited the Colleys. (As a captain, Becca conducted phone interviews with candidates during the hiring process.)
“You can definitely tell that they’re sisters, sometimes by the way they talk on the field,” Lamphier said. “They push each other and they push each others’ buttons.”
Both twins admit they can be tough on their sibling.
“We’re terribly competitive with each other,” Becca said.
In high school the critiques at times rankled. Now they are seen through a more mature perspective, Lily said.
“Being together again has benefited both of us, and off the field our relationship has improved as well,” Lily said, “but that initial first year was good where she could establish her own friendships and do her own thing.”
In one game this season, Becca showed she could also do Lily’s thing — score goals. Becca scored a career-high five goals in the first half, including four in a 14-minute flurry, in a 17-7 win against Bridgewater (Va.). Lily assisted on a pair.
“I was honestly so happy for her because she’s extremely talented and there is a lot more to lacrosse than scoring and she does all those things, but scoring is what usually gets noticed,” Lily said.
In the second half, Lily scored five times and with six assists tied a school record for points in a game with 11.
Ashley Bennington of South Berwick (Marshwood) is also on the Guilford roster. She’s seen limited time at defense for the Quakers in her freshman season.
Merrimack College sophomore Mia Rapolla of Gorham scored in overtime as previously winless Merrimack earned a 10-9 win over Dowling, ranked seventh in NCAA Division II. Rapolla finished with three goals and an assist. Rapolla transferred to Merrimack after playing as a freshman at the University of Massachusetts. She has eight goals and three assists in six games.
Assumption College (6-4) is receiving strong play from former SMAA rivals Camille Auger of Kennebunk and Lindsay Hagerman of Scarborough. Auger, a sophomore midfielder, is second on the team with 20 goals and has a team-high seven assists. Hagerman, a junior attack, has 14 goals and three assists. Both have started every game. Auger had three goals and two assists in a recent 14-13 win against Saint Michael’s that snapped a four-game losing streak.
St. Michael’s College sophomore Kate Boyer of Standish (Bonny Eagle) matched a career high with three goals in the 14-13 loss to Assumption.
Wheaton College junior Leila Mills of Brunswick helped the Lyons defeat Springfield College for the first time in six seasons with a pair of goals on Saturday.
Bentley University junior Jason Knight of Portland has three goals on three shots, having seen action in four of five games so far this year. Also on the team are junior Matt Mayo of Scarborough (two games, one goal) and freshman Jon Blaisdell of Scarborough (three games, one goal).
WOMEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Wheaton College freshman Amanda Peterson of Gray-New Gloucester was on the 400-meter relay team that included two indoor track All-Americans and finished first in the 23-team Tufts Snowflake Classic.
Husson University first-year Kateri Jeffrey of South Portland turned in a personal-best 1,500-meter time of 5:24.44 to place 14th out of 27 at the Mount Holyoke Spring Fling. Waterboro’s Kendra Jackson (Massabesic), a sophomore, set a PR in the 400 and finished 10th.
MEN’S TRACK & FIELD
Bentley University senior Craig Robinson of Scarborough helped set a school record in the seldom-contested 6,000 relay during the Raleigh Relays in Raleigh, N.C. Robinson covered his anchor leg in 4 minutes, 7.1 seconds to finish off the 16:34.58 clocking, about 11 seconds faster than the old Bentley record set in 2001 at the same meet.
Bentley freshman Tom Dean of Portland (Deering) attended the 24-team Tufts Snowflake Classic and finished second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10:47.15).
Wheaton College senior Sam Fear of Bath (North Yarmouth Academy) and freshman Sam Miklovich of Gray-New Gloucester were on the eighth-place 3,200 relay team at the Snowflake Classic.
Boston College senior catcher Matt Pare, formerly of Portland and Deering High, went 3 for 4 Saturday against Duke. The Eagles are 4-22 (0-11 in the ACC) and hitting just .202 as a team. Pare started eight of BC’s first 14 games and was struggling with a .179 average. In his most recent eight starts, he’s raised his average to .226, third on the team. Freshman Joe Cronin of Scarborough is hitting .214.
Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: