After dropping seven of its first eight games under first-year coach Danielle Ryder, the Bates College field hockey program is finding its stride.

Bates won back-to-back games in a three-day stretch this past week, stopping Southern Maine, 3-1, before storming back for a 2-1 victory over Connecticut College.

The Bobcats are now within reach of matching or surpassing their total of four wins each of the past two seasons, with four regular-season dates remaining.

Junior Caroline Falcone keyed Bates’ non-conference win over its in-state rival, finding the cage twice against USM on Oct. 3. Alex Eliopoulos assisted Falcone’s first goal.

Later, after Lexie Carter worked the ball into the circle, senior Polly Merck cashed in on a penalty stroke.

Making her first start of the season, sophomore Cristina Vega delivered six saves to backstop the Bobcats’ triumph.

Bates wasn’t done with its winning ways, not even after falling behind the Camels 1-0 in a conference matchup.

Senior captain Sarah Warden scored early in the second half off a feed from junior defender Jillian Conway to put the Bobcats in front. It was Warden’s first goal of the campaign.

Bridget Meedzan, also a senior, pulled Bates even just before the half.

Becca Otley made nine saves to register the win in goal for Bates, which next hosts Babson on Sunday. Contests also remain with Middlebury, Williams and Colby.

Many irons in the fire

The Bates men’s golf team split up this past weekend and celebrated success on both fronts.

In the Mariner Invitational at Augusta Country Club in Manchester, senior captain Garrett Johnson finished third out of 40 individuals.

Johnson carded a 4-over 74, which was only one shot off the co-medalist pace of USM’s Tom Murray and Husson’s Bill Hutchins.

Senior Zach Abbott of Rangeley shot 86. Bates was fourth out of the eight teams in attendance.

The Colby Classic at Waterville utilized a best-ball scramble, alternate shot modified format. Freshman Thomas Garone and senior Brad Rutkin thrived in that environment, shooting a 67 that was good for second place overall.

Bates finished second in the team sweepstakes, only three shots (206 to 209) behind Bowdoin.

All the team’s eyes will be focused on the CBB Tournament this Saturday at Brunswick Golf Club.

Right back at ’em

There are few happier occasions for a Bates athletic team than a win over Colby, and the women’s volleyball celebrated that outcome in dramatic fashion this Saturday.

In the type of seesaw match you might expect from the rivals, Bates won the second, fourth and fifth sets — the first two in extended fashion — to pull out a 23-25, 26-24, 13-25, 26-24, 15-12 victory at Colby’s Wadsworth Gym.

Chandler McGrath chalked up three of her team-high 15 kills in the final set, including the game-winning point. Gabby O’Leary also notched three kills in the deciding set. Laryssa Schlepel registered her seventh match of the season with 20 or more digs.

As part of NESCAC’s joint effort to promote breast cancer awareness, volleyball will host a pair of “Dig Pink!” matchups against Tufts (Friday, 8 p.m.) and Connecticut College (Saturday, 2 p.m.) at Alumni Gym. The team will wear special uniforms while raising funds for the Side-Out Foundation, which awards grants to organizations dedicated to providing patient services to breast cancer patients and their families.

Around campus

— The nationally ranked cross country teams will compete in the all-division Open New Englands at Franklin Park in Boston this Saturday. The women’s race goes off at noon, with the men’s starting gun at 12:45 p.m.

— Leah Humes headed in an pass from Caitrin Griffin for the women’s soccer team in a 2-1 loss to Connecticut College. Bates hosts the University of New England at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Garcelon Field.

— Women’s tennis had a bizarre ending at Babson. The Bobcats were trailing 3-2 when all other matches, including four of the six singles events, were halted because of darkness without an indoor site available. Elena Mandzhukova and Elizabeth Erbefina picked up a doubles win for Bates, while Kate Rosenthal prevailed at No. 4 singles.

— In the final women’s golf tournament of the season, Emily Plotnikov shot back-to-back rounds of 92 to lead the Bobcats at the Williams Fall Invitational.

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