There was plenty of optimism in the Bates College football locker room prior to the start of the season. 

With a surplus of upperclassmen, the Bobcats had high hopes for a successful year. 

Five weeks into the season and that optimism has faded following the Bobcats’ 1-4 start, the latest installment a 35-6 thrashing at the hands of Middlebury College last Saturday. Bates turned the ball over four times and had just 185 yards of total offense. 

Both sides of the ball struggled in what was Bates’ worst loss of the season to date. Its previous worst was a 42-24 loss at Tuffs in the second week of the season. Quarterback Matt Cannone returned after an ankle injury sidelined him against Wesleyan, but completed just three passes for 92 yards and a touchdown while tossing two interceptions. Seventy-four of those yards came on a touchdown pass to Mike Tomaino in the first quarter. 

An injury again forced Cannone to the sideline against Middlebury for most of the second, prompting third-string quarterback Mike Decina to take the snaps. 

The defense surrendered 287 yards passing by Middlebury quarterback Matt Milano, who tossed four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Panthers scored the final 28 points of the game. 

Off to its worst start since 2010, when Bates started 1-6, the Bobcats shift their focus to Colby, which also enters Saturday’s contest 1-4. The Mules are coming off their first win of the season, a 47-14 victory over Hamilton. Prior to last Saturday’s game, the Mules had scored just 31 points all season. 

Bates and Colby sit in the basement of the NESCAC’s scoring statistics. The Bobcats sport a conference-worst 13 points per game, while the Mules come in at 15.6 points per game. 

Colby quarterback Gabe Harrington ranks fifth in the conference at 175.4 yards passing per contest. He’s thrown for more than 200 yards each of the last two games. The Bobcats have struggled all season to limit opposing quarterbacks, surrendering 250.2 points per game, which ranks ninth in the NESCAC.

The Mules lead the all-time series 66-43-6, winning their previous meeting 21-3. It’s the opening game of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin series, which the Bobcats have won a share of each of the last two seasons.  

Stansel garners NESCAC honors 

Senior John Stansel finished first amongst a field of 147 runners at the Maine Collegiate Cross Country Championships in Farmington on Saturday and was rewarded by being named the NESCAC men’s cross country performer of the week. 

Stansel’s first-place finish was the program’s first at the Maine Collegiate Cross Country Championships since 2006 when Steve Monsulick took the top spot. Stansel completed the 8k in 26 minutes, 22 seconds, finishing nine seconds ahead of Bowdoin’s Avery Wentworth. 

Led by Stansel’s performance, the Bobcats won the event with 26 points, 12 clear of Bowdoin. Bates’ top five runners place in the top nine. Zach Magin took third at 26:35 and Allen Sumrall (26:49), Joe Doyal (26:52) and Michael Creedon (27:01) placed sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively. 

Women’s rowing continues hot start 

One couldn’t ask for a better start to the season if you’re the Bates women’s rowing team. 

A week after winning the Quinsigamond Snake Regatta, the Bobcats won the 50th Head of the Charles Regatta on Sunday in Cambridge, Mass. The varsity eight team completed 4,800-meter course in 17 minutes, 25.60 seconds, 1.77 seconds faster than Trinity. Wellesley was a distant third, 17.06 seconds behind Bates. 

The Bobcats’ second varsity eight squad finished 11th among the 30 boats, coming in at 18:11.53. 

Volleyball woes continue for Bobcats

There looked to be such promise for Bates volleyball after it started 5-0 and claimed the SJC Autumn Invitational. 

Things went downhill from there. The Bobcats are 3-13 since their hot start and are in the midst of a seven-match losing streak entering Wednesday’s match against Maine Maritime. They have fallen in straight sets in five of those matches. 

The Bobcats (8-13, 0-7 NESCAC) are still searching for their first conference win with three attempts left. 

Sophomore Chandler McGrath leads the team with 152 kills, while juniors Mary Deneen (118) and Abby Leberman (104) have surpassed the 100-kill mark this year. Bates averages 9.33 kills per set. 

Setting up the kills are setters Tess Walther and Jacqueline Forney, who have accounted for 387 of the team’s 604 assists. 

Errors have been Bates’ undoing. The Bobcats have committed 392 errors this season, 74 more than their opponents. 

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