Bates’ field hockey team has played three games since last weekend, and have improved on their 1-2 record to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the NESCAC, which includes their first NESCAC win in two years. The team is full of confidence and is looking forward to a great season. Sophomore Sam Reiss commented, “We have a strong group of 22 young women, all very skilled and willing to give 100% everyday. Our win against Wesleyan will set the tone for the rest of the season and show the other teams in our conference that we are by no means a team to be underestimated or taken for granted.” The team is fairly young, with plenty of underclassmen. However, that’s not going to hold them back, according to first year Taylor Lough. “The team is such a supportive environment; it doesn’t matter what grade a person is. We all share one goal, are all part of one team, and are all one family.”
On Wednesday, Bates hosted Thomas College and defeated them 4-0, with first year Taylor Lough scoring a hat trick, the first three goals of her college career. Bates scored their first goal in the second minute (Clair Markonic) and kept the pressure on the entire game. Thomas College failed to get a shot on goal in either half; this can be credited to sharp passing from Bates and stellar defending from the back line and midfield. The Bobcats did a great job possessing the ball and keeping the ball in their opponent’s final third. Bates outshot Thomas 20-1. The continual pressure led to nine penalty corners and Lough capitalized on two of them. Senior Katie Knox recorded her first shutout of the season.
On Friday, the Bobcats traveled to Connecticut to face Wesleyan College. The Cardinals opened the scoring in the tenth minute but Bates didn’t back down from the challenge and ended up scoring the next three goals to take a 3-1 NESCAC victory over Wesleyan. Senior Shannon Beaton scored the tying and go-ahead goal for the Bobcats, while Lough added her fourth career goal to seal the win. This is the first NESCAC win for the field hockey team in 14 games, a period that has lasted since October 5, 2013. It was a solid victory for the ‘Cats, who outshot the Cardinals 8-7, and earned eight corners to their opponents’ six. The win gave the Bobcats a lot of confidence that they can carry through the rest of the season. “In years past, Bates has been that ‘easy win’ for conference matches, but that is just not the case anymore. We’re forcing every team to start their best players against us and fight tooth and nail to compete with us,” Reiss stated.
The next day, Bates competed against Williams, ranked 18th nationally. After a hard fought scoreless first half, the Ephs managed to pull away for a 3-0 win. Williams outshot Bates 20-4 and had ten corners to Bates’ four. While the loss to Williams is a setback, sophomore Delaney Nalen believes the mental strength of their team will be instrumental to their success this season. “Our biggest battle this season will be against ourselves from the past, as our program has a history of not winning NESCAC games. Winning against Wesleyan was a great ego boost, especially for NESCAC play.”
The team is absolutely confident in their ability to compete at a high level this year. Lough exclaimed, “We are the team everyone is talking about, that no one knows what to expect, because we have been building and growing and it has come time for us to show the NESCAC what we are made of.” Next weekend, Bates will show Trinity (2-2 in NESCAC) what they’re made of during Back to Bates weekend as parents and alumni watch them compete.