Field Hockey Beats Bates To Cap Three Win Week; WPI, Conn. Next
By by STEVE VLADECK, Staff Writer
After convincing wins in their first two games against Colby College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology last week, the field hockey team finally faced a tough test on Saturday afternoon in its first-ever meeting with NESCAC foe Bates College.

"We really [didn't] know much about them coming into the game," said Head Coach Chris Paradis. "I think both teams spent the first half trying to get a sense of the other."

The result was a back-and-forth opening 35 minutes, during which both teams had plenty of chances to score.

The Bobcats, playing only their second game on their new turf field, almost broke through twice, with shots coming off penalty corners in the 13th and 19th minutes. The Amherst defense, however, was up to the task, and goalie Beth Sensing '02, en route to her 22nd career shutout, posted all five of her saves in the opening half.

Sensing's counterpart, Bates senior Peggy Ficks, was equally brilliant, posting seven of her game-high 10 saves in the first period, as the game went to halftime scoreless. "I thought their goalie was their best player," said Paradis. "She kept them in the game."

The second half opened in much the same fashion as the first had ended, with neither team able to find the back of the net. After halftime, however, the momentum clearly belonged to the visiting Jeffs.

"Towards the end of the first half, I thought that we picked our passing up," said Paradis. "By the second half, we had begun to wear them out defensively. After that, I thought it was only a matter of time before we'd break through."

As the Jeffs began to dominate in the midfield, led by Co-captains Gretchen Bowe '01 and Mairin Brady '02, the Amherst offense also got going, pestering Ficks with repeated shots on net. After a series of shot attempts, Allison Aldrich '04 forced a corner in the 58th minute, leading to the Jeffs' best scoring chance of the day. Off the corner, Carlyn Lamia '03 fired a shot from the top of the circle, which was deflected wide at the last minute by a Bobcat defender.

Just two minutes later, however, the Jeffs would break through. After earning another penalty corner, Marcy Busch '02 sent a pass to Brady, who launched a rocket that Ficks got a pad on, deflecting the shot back in front of the net. Bowe pounced on the rebound, knocking a shot past Ficks to put the Jeffs ahead for good, 1-0.

Bowe's third goal in as many games, which came with 9:22 remaining in the second half, proved to be the game-winner. The defensive quartet of Kristin Harrison '03, Anne Close '02, Molly O'Connor '03 and Laurie Smith '02 shut down Bates' late rally, putting the finishing touches on a second half in which they allowed zero second-half shots on goal, and the Jeffs had their third win of the week.

"It was nice to get a shutout," said Paradis. "The defense has really been coming together as a unit [and] I think it showed [in Saturday's match.]"

Saturday's game against Bates was the second of three straight games on artificial turf for the Jeffs, including last night's showdown at fourth-ranked Springfield College, also an NCAA Final Four team one year ago.

Tomorrow, the Jeffs return home to host Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), before Saturday's NESCAC showdown against their league foe, the Connecticut College Camels.

Issue 03, Submitted 2000-09-19 19:52:25