Bobcat Beat: Bates football wants to finish on high note

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Bates defensive back Jon Lindgren flies to attempt to make a tackle during the Bobcats’ win over Bowdoin last week. Lindgren was named NESCAC defensive player of the week. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

The CBB trophy now claimed, it’s time for the Bates College football team to finish on a high note.

“We’re rolling now. We’re rolling now,” senior captain Frank Williams said after last week’s 24-17 win over Bowdoin. “On to Hamilton.”

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The Bobcats, winners of two straight games, have won the past four Colby-Bates-Bowdoin titles, but the past two years their season ended with losses to Hamilton — 24-17 last year and 14-0 in 2015.

“Our coach, (offensive coordinator Skip) Capone, is talking about just finishing this season,” junior diveback Kyle Flaherty said. “I guess that’s the biggest goal this week. The past two years we’ve lost to Hamilton, just kind of a letdown after the CBB, so we’re trying not to let that happen again.”

Bates (2-6) and Hamilton (2-6) have had similar seasons. Both have been defeated handily by most of the NESCAC, and both teams’ two wins came against Colby (in fact, both defeated the Mules 27-24) and Bowdoin.

“In some ways, we’re kind of mirror-images teams,” Harriman said. “They throw the ball more than we do, but they’re, I think, a very similar team if you look at the scores of the games that they’ve played, and obviously, they beat Bowdoin and Colby as well. So I think it’s a pretty evenly matched game.”

To win their third straight game, Harriman said the Bobcats need to stick with the mentality they had against both Colby and Bowdoin.

“We just got to stay focused and make sure we stay with the same type of intensity level that we have for the last two weeks,” Harriman said. “We’ve talked to the guys about understanding that we’ve still got a big game in front of us.”

Lindgren honored

For the second week in a row, a Bates Bobcat received a weekly NESCAC award. This time, sophomore free safety Jon Lindgren was named the conference’s defensive player of the week.

Lindgren opened the Saturday’s game against Bowdoin with a blocked field goal on the first drive of the game.

That was only the beginning. Lindgren seemed to be in on just about every play, and racked up career-highs of 16 tackles (11 solo) and six pass breakups. The latter is the most by a Bates player this year.

Lindgren leads Bates this season in tackles (63), solo tackles (42), pass breakups (12) and blocked kicks (1).

Fleet-footed freshman QB

Freshman quarterback Brendan Costa didn’t see significant action until the third week of the season and didn’t start until Week 4.

Despite that, Costa has the second-most rushing yards, 781, in the NESCAC, and the second-highest rushing-yards-per-game average, 111.6. Only Trinity’s Max Chipouras surpasses Costa in the two categories (986 yards and 112.0 per game).

Against Bowdoin last week, Costa ran for a career-high 171 yards on 20 carries. That output included a 69-yard touchdown run.

Lough makes second team

Taylor Lough had one of the best seasons in recent memory and helped the Bates field hockey team to its best season in 15 years

The junior forward was honored for her efforts Wednesday, when she was named to the NESCAC all-conference second team.

Lough scored 10 goals, which tied for ninth-most in the NESCAC and is the most by a Bates player since Johie Farrar tallied 12 in 2001. Three of Lough’s goals were game-winners.

Lough’s 26 points are the most by a Bobcat since at least the mid-1990s.

She helped lead Bates to a second consecutive winning season and a third straight NESCAC tournament berth.

Lough also was a catalyst in one of the best weeks in Bates field hockey history. She had a hand in three of the Bobcats’ four goals the week of Oct. 8-15, during which the team defeated three teams ranked in the top six nationally — No. 2 Babson, No. 5 Tufts and No. 6 Amherst.

The last Bates player to receive All-NESCAC honors was Polly Merck in 2014.

Spikers awarded

Bates volleyball sophomore Gabi Eustache is the NESCAC’s defensive player of the year, the conference announced Wednesday.

Eustache, a libero, also was named to the all-conference first team, while teammate Jacqueline Forney, a senior setter, was chosen for the second team.

This is the first time Bates has had two players on All-NESCAC volleyball teams since 2004.

Eustache topped the conference with 6.89 digs-per-set average in NESCAC games this season. She also averaged 0.45 assists per set, which ranked second on the Bobcats.

Eustache is the Bobcats first defensive player of the year since Lauren Fennessy won two years in a row, 2000 and 2001. She is Bates’ first first-team honoree since Olivia Zurek in 2004.

Forney is Bates’ first all-conference setter since Kate Hagstrom in 2000. Forney, a three-year captain, notched career-highs in assists (9.62 per set), digs (2.80) and blocks (0.35).

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