In their 14-6 season-opening loss to Amherst it was the Bobcats’ offense that struggled. Last week, the defense and special teams units were scorched in a 42-24 loss to Tufts.
The Bobcats (0-2) led the Jumbos 17-13 at halftime before yielding 29 points in the second half. Tufts’ Zack Trause returned a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in the span of two minutes. The Jumbos finished with 405 yards of total offense and 207 total return yards.
“We need to put a full game together on both sides of the ball,” Bates coach Mark Harriman said. “We did some things better offensively. We’re still not as consistent as we need to be. Those two special teams touchdowns are inexcusable, but we’ll get those squared away.”
As a result, Bates heads into its home opener against Williams on Saturday winless. The Bobcats have won their last three contests with the Ephs (1-1).
Despite the loss to Tufts, the Bobcats found their offense last week. Matt Cannone threw for 182 yards and three touchdowns — both career-highs — and wide receiver Mark Riley caught nine passes for 142 and two touchdowns. Riley leads the NESCAC in yards per game (103) and is tied for the lead in receptions per game (8.5)
Bates is still looking to get its running game on track after rushing for 98 yards on 38 carries last Saturday. The Bobcats are averaging 2.5 yards per rush this season.
“We need to run the football better,” Harriman said. “That’s what we’re set up to do. We had some success throwing somewhat because of what (Tufts was) trying to do to us early. We still need to be consistent running the football. We certainly weren’t last week or the week before.”
The Ephs may be just the opponent the Bobcats need to get their running game going. Williams has allowed an average of 200.5 yards rushing through two games. The Ephs surrendered 321 yards on the ground in a 38-0 loss to Trinity last week.
“They’re similar to Tufts. They’re similar to us,” Harriman said. “They played really well in week one, didn’t play so well against a good opponent last week. They’re capable of winning football games. If you look at their statistics and our statistics, it’s an even battle.”
Harriman said he expects Saturday’s home opener to be an emotional one. The Bobcats will honor former teammate John Durkin, who passed away while studying abroad in Rome in Feburary.
Cross country teams enjoying early-season success
You couldn’t ask for a much better start to the season for both Bates men’s and women’s cross country teams.
The 28th-ranked women’s team, three weeks removed from its 65-45 victory against Colby, placed first in the seven-team Bowdoin Invitational on Saturday with a team score of 29. The Bobcats finished 28 points clear of second-place Bowdoin.
Sophomore Jessica Wilson led all Bobcat runners with a third-place finish, completing the 6-kilometer race in 23 minutes, 36.24 seconds.
The women’s team took five of the top eight spots and 10 of the top 15. Seniors Elena Jay (23:54.68) and Erica Gagnon (23:58.66) finished fifth and sixth, respectively.
As for the 24th-ranked men’s team, it opened its season by tying No. 16 Colby in the annual Bates/Colby Class meet three weeks ago. Just like the women’s team, the men followed that performance by claiming the eight-team Bowdoin Invite.
The Bobcats finished with a team score of 22, 14 points ahead of Bowdoin. Bates senior John Stansel won the 8k race in 26:04.90, 24 seconds faster than Bowdoin’s Avery Wentworth.
Freshman Zach Magin (26:37.31) and sophomore Michael Horowicz (26:41.79) finished third and fourth, respectively.
The men’s team placed six runners in the top 10 and 10 in the top 16.
Ellis, Planche take doubles crown
The top-seeded tandem of Pierre Planche and Chris Ellis defeated Amherst’s Aaron Revzin and Michael Solimano, 6-2, 7-6 (5) to win the ITA Northeast Region men’s doubles championship Sunday in Middlebury, Vt.
Planche and Ellis opened the tournament Friday with an 8-6 victory over Brandeis’ Danny Lubarsky and Brian Granoff and an 8-3 decision against Williams’ Jordan Sadowsky and Conrad Harron.
The duo continued their role into Saturday, defeating Middlebury’s Ari Smolyar and Courtney Mountifield, 8-5, in their only match of the day. They advanced to the championship match after disposing of Wesleyan’s Jake Roberts and Sam Rudovsky, 8-6, on Sunday morning.
It is Bates’ first ITA regional title since Ben Stein and Amrit Rupasinghe won in 2008. Planche and Ellis will compete for a national title at the USTA/ITA National Small College Championships held Oct. 9-12 in Sumter, S.C.
Donovan earns NESCAC honor
Bates women’s soccer senior forward Dakota Donovan scored all three of the Bobcats’ goals last week and was rewarded by being named the NESCAC women’s soccer player of the week.
Donovan scored a goal in all three of Bates’ contests last week, including the overtime game-winner against Trinity on Saturday.
Donovan has already surpassed her career high in points with 12. Through nine games, the co-captain has registered five goals and two assists.
With the honor, Donovan becomes the first Bobcat to be named the NESCAC player of the week since Alix Vandeventer in 2010.