April 5, 2013

College connections: After brief split, Colley twins are teammates again

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Growing up together in Wells, the Colley twins – Becca and Lily – were "constantly grouped together," said Becca.

click image to enlarge

Becca Colley

Courtesy photos

click image to enlarge

Lily Colley

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."

(Continued on page 2)

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