March 20, 2014

WD3 Notebook: Bates Putting Big Trinity Win in Rear View

by Mark Macyk | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter


Wally Pierce, who was a a third-team All-American a year ago, leads the Bobcats with 43 draw controls this season. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

There was plenty of history to consider when the Bates women’s lacrosse team headed to Trinity this weekend. The Bantams, who won the NCAA title in 2012 and returned to the championship game in 2013, had not lost a regular season game since April of 2012.

You had to go back even further, seven more years to be exact, to find the last time Bates had defeated Trinity, an overtime victory in April of 2005. 

But in pulling one of the biggest upsets of the season, the Bobcats didn’t dwell on the past. They stayed firmly in the present.

The NESCAC was officially shook up on Saturday, as Bates stifled the three-time defending league champion Bantams, 6-3. The Bobcats took an early 3-0 lead and then slowed things down, making sure every possession, and every moment, counted. 

It’s the only way to defeat Trinity, an athletic team that tends to dictate the flow of games. But even when the Bantams had the ball, the Bobcats remained in control of their present. Sure, Trinity got off 24 shots to Bates’ 10, but they were they were altered shots, the kind of shots the Bobcats were willing to allow.

“When you play a team that plays as well as Trinity does, it’s a matter of limiting them to lower percentage shots,” said coach Brett Allen.

Bates goalie Hannah Jeffrey made 12 saves, a few that Allen called “spectacular,” but just as frequently came shots that the defense had redirected. Trinity pulled within two goals midway through the second half but when all was said and done, Bridget Meedzan had a goal and two assists, Kelan McCann had two goals, Wally Pierce had four draw controls, Cat Dioli and Cara Cappellini each had two caused turnovers and Bates had its first win over Trinity in nine years.

They celebrated after the game, as they should have, Trinity was ranked No. 2 at time, but didn’t dwell on it for long. After all, the Bobcats live in the present and it’s still the middle of March. 

“I think every win gives you more confidence, but our philosophy right now is one game at a time,” said associate head coach Heidi Allen.

The Bobcats took another game on Monday, when Moriah Greenstein had three goals and three assists in a 17-3 victory over Saint Joseph’s of Maine. The next day Brett Allen reiterated the one day at a time mantra and said Bates could not look past Wednesday’s opponent Endicott, which he called “a classic midweek trap game.”

Endicott scored the final six goals of the game, including the winner from Siri Mason with 39 seconds remaining and won, 11-10. It was an all-too-painful reminder of the recent past. The Bobcats lost four one-goal games last season.

Now they’ll have to put the wins and losses behind them.This weekend waits another challenge, a visit to No. 14 Williams. The Ephs are the first of five straight ranked opponents for Bates. But don’t expect them to think that far ahead.

“We really aren’t trying to look forward too much,” said Allen. “The win this weekend was huge, but it’s already in the past.”

Looking Ahead

No. 4 Franklin & Marshall (5-0) at No. 1 Salisbury (6-0), Sunday 1 p.m.

Bates’ upset of Trinity kept Division III from seeing an undefeated showdown between Salisbury and Trinity on Tuesday. No worries, Franklin & Marshall gives the world that shot just five days later. While Salisbury has played a couple of close ones, the Diplomats haven’t won a game by fewer than six goals, and that includes victories over three Top 20 teams. Tuesday’s game between Trinity and Salisbury lived up to the hype. The Seagulls took down the Bantams, 11-8, on behind three goals and one assist from Bethany Baer and eight saves from Ashton Wheatley. This one probably will too. F&M pushed Salisbury to the brink before falling by two goals in last season’s NCAA quarterfinals.

Game Balls:

Gabby Horner, Tufts: Horner had five goals and two assists as Tufts came from behind and upset Colby, 16-14, on Saturday. The senior from Allentown, N.J., leads the Jumbos with 13 goals this season and also has three assists.

Tierney Conlon, Montclair St.: The reigning NJAC Co-player of the Year paired one goal with six assists in the unbeaten Red Hawks’ 18-1 blowout of Elizabethtown on Tuesday. The junior from Caldwell, N.J., has 18 goals and 20 assists in six games this season.

Christy Thoden, Farmingdale St.: The junior from Bayport, N.Y., grabbed 12 draw controls and scored the go-ahead goal in the unbeaten Rams’ 15-14 upset of Oneonta on Saturday. Two days later, Thoden put up five goals and two assists in a 17-12 victory over the University of New England. Farmingdale visits Montclair St. on Thursday night, with first place in the Skyline Conference on the line.

Notes

Erica Geremia and Cortland showed Long Island what Upstate New York lacrosse is all about during a 20-3 victory over Catholic on Saturday at Mount Sinai High School. Geremia paired six goals with four assists for a career-high 10 goals. Geremia  kept it up against Ithaca on Wednesday pairing five goals with two assists as the Red Dragons won their home opener, 12-7, against their local rivals.

Ithaca fell to 1-4 with the loss but has dropped games against  Geneseo, York, Gettysburg and Cortland -- all top 13 teams. The Bombers will certainly be ready for their Empire 8 season, which begins on Saturday against St. John Fisher.

***

St. John Fisher just keeps on winning. The unbeaten Cardinals shot up the rankings this week after a pair of SUNYAC victories, including an 11-6 victory over previously-unbeaten Oneonta. Lindsey Shoales scored five goals against Oneonta, in a game in which the Cardinals built up a 5-1 lead and never trailed.

***

Unbeaten Geneseo received a scare from Springfield, but held on for a 10-9 overtime victory in Disney World on Tuesday. Springfield rallied from a three-goal deficit, and scored two goals in the final 30 seconds to force overtime. Geneseo’s Katey Hart, who had four goals and two assists in the game, scored two goals in the extra session, including the winner with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime. 

***

There are only two unbeaten teams left in the NESCAC: Middlebury and Amherst. Middlebury took down RPI, 11-8, behind three goals from Laurel Pascal on Tuesday. Amherst received four goals from Rachel Passarelli in a 9-2 victory over William Smith on the same day. They’ll both be tested by ranked conference opponents this week, Amherst on Thursday against Hamilton in Florida and Middlebury on Saturday, home versus Bowdoin. Amherst and Middlebury will square off against each other next Saturday.


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