The consolation for Bates is that it will see the Mules again on Saturday, when Colby hosts a rematch in the NESCAC quarterfinals.

“I think we’re looking forward to playing again,” Bates coach Brett Allen said. “We want to redeem ourselves and prove that we’re better than we showed that we were today. The fact that we get to do it against the team we played against today is a nice little bonus. But we’re going to have to play better Saturday, no matter who we play.”

The Bobcats (11-4, 6-4 in NESCAC) got off to a hot start, taking a 3-0 lead just over five minutes in. Senior attacker Alex Briody got Senior Day started off right, scoring a pair of goals off assists from Drew Barry before dishing out an assist of her own to classmate Emma Noto.

“We went in really confident,” Briody, one of 10 Bates seniors, said.

The Mules (12-3, 7-3) didn’t get their first shot on net until nearly nine minutes into the game, then scored their first goal 13 minutes in to cut it to 3-1. Lexie Perticone fed Gemma Bready, then scored a goal of her own just over a minute later to make it 3-2.

“Every game, whether you’re winning or losing early and get scored on or score some goals, both teams settle into the game,” Allen said. “I think they settled into the game. We were certainly playing on a little bit of an emotional high with it being Senior Night.”

The Bobcats got back on the scoreboard midway through the opening half with a Camille Belletete goal, assisted by Briody, but Colby got a pair of goals from Kelsey Bowen within the minute to knot the game 4-4.

The Mules used that momentum to take their first lead just over a minute later with a Perticone goal from Sasha Fritts.

Bates struggled with turnovers in the half, which allowed Colby to methodically eat up clock with the lead. Both teams had long possessions in the final 10 minutes of the half, first for the Bobcats, then for the Mules.

A Colby turnover gave Bates one last chance to tie the game going into halftime, and the Bobcats took advantage. Leading scorer Moriah Greenstein drove toward the net before feeding Sydney Howard by the left post for a goal with 1.2 seconds before intermission.

The Bobcats faced the sun in the first, which Briody said was a factor on some of the turnovers, but refused to use it as an excuse.

“We know that we can pass and catch, and we just have to make sure that we’re staying composed and not letting the excitement of the game get too much,” Briody said.

Despite scoring the last goal before halftime Bates didn’t start the second half any stronger than they ended the first. The Mules took back their lead — for good — with Perticone feeding Emilie Klein just over four minutes in.

Colby’s lead slowly grew, to 7-5 on a Kendall Smith goal 11 minutes in, then 8-5 thanks to Bready with just over 10 minutes to play.

The turnovers continued for the Bobcats, and with help from an aggressive Mules defense, so did off-target shots.

“I think a lot of our mistakes were just poor execution or poor decision-making,” Allen said. “I think we did a much better job of clearing in the second half as opposed to the first half. I think in the second half we were rushing our shots a little bit.”

Allison Dewey cut the deficit to 8-6 with just under 10 minutes to go, but Bates had few chances to get any closer.

The Bobcats finished with 23 turnovers, only four of which were caused by Colby. Allen said that total needs to be cut in half for his team to have a chance at exacting revenge on Saturday.

In her final regular-season game, Bates senior goalie Hannah Jeffrey was her typical solid self. The Division III leader in save percentage hit her mark in that category, stopping 12 of 20 shots after entering Wednesday’s game converting at a .598 clip.

Briody said the great thing about the NESCAC is that any team can win on any day. With a “wake-up call” Wednesday night, the senior is hoping that things are different against Colby on Saturday.

“It’s a good opportunity. It’s frustrating (to lose on Senior Day), but we get to see them in three days,” Briody said. “That’s NESCAC quarterfinals, so it’s a lot more important than this game.”

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