Many of the mistakes Bates head football coach Mark Harriman saw in his team’s 38-7 season-opening loss at Trinity last Saturday were typical of a young team and thus correctable.

The tough assignment for Harriman, his staff and the Bobcats is to correct those mistakes before this Saturday, when they hit the road again to take on another formidable NESCAC foe, 1-0 Tufts.

The Bobcats got off to a good start against Trinity, beginning the game with a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by sophomore QB Sandy Plashkes’ three-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead.

Led by senior linebacker Mark Upton (12 tackles, sack, forced fumble), the defense kept the game close for the rest of the half. But the offense’s inability to move the ball after the first drive and constantly fighting an uphill field position battle ultimately wore the unit down. It gave up 14 points in each of the last two quarters.

“We had three or four guys at key positions for whom it was their first time on the field, and I think it was “Welcome to college football’ a little bit, as far as the speed of the game,” Harriman said. 

“We saw some real encouraging things, even though the result wasn’t anywhere remotely where we wanted it to be,” he added. “We ran out of gas on defense. They were out there for a lot of snaps.”

Among those showing encouraging signs, according to Harriman, were the veterans along the Bobcats offensive line and a couple of newcomers — Plashkes and sophomore dive back, Peter Boyer (20 carries, 62 yards).

Plashkes, making his first start at quarterback, had the key play on the opening drive — a 57-yard run, and showed some poise against a strong Trinity pass rush that sacked him three times.

“He made a couple of nice throws and he’s certainly more than capable of running our option,” Harriman said. “He’s going to be fine. It was his first college start and I think he’d be the first to admit he could do better and then do what it takes to get better. If practice this week is any indication, I think it will show on Saturday.”

Tufts should still be flying high after rallying from a 14-3 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Wesleyan, 17-14, in its opener. 

Senior running back Chance Brady, the reigning NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year, scored on touchdown runs of three and 31 yards in the fourth quarter to lead the comeback.

“He literally just decided he was going to with the game for them and took the ball and did it,” Harriman said. 

Game time is 1 p.m. in Medford, Massachusetts. The Bobcats’ home-opener follows a week later, Oct. 8, against Williams.

Young field hockey squad showing promise

Despite not having a single senior on the roster, Bates field hockey is off to its best start since 2006 with a 4-3 record (2-3 NESCAC).

Three of the young Bobcats’ four wins have been shutouts, each by a comfortable margin. That includes a 3-0 NESCAC win over Wesleyan and non-conference wins over Worcester State (4-0) at home and in Waterville against Thomas (3-0). 

The Bobcats also held on for a 4-3 conference home victory over Hamilton.

Sophomore Jessie Moriarty leads the offense with five goals, including two in last Saturday’s victory over Wesleyan. Bates’ top seven scorers are either sophomores or freshmen. Only six juniors dot the roster.

Sophomore Adelae Durand and freshman Alyssa Souza have split time equally in the cage in the Bobcats’ four wins.  Durand has a .733 save percentage, Souza .727.

Cross country performs well close to home

Both of Bates’ cross country teams enjoyed strong performances when they hosted the Pineland Super XC Shootout on Sep. 17 at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. The men won their race while the women finished second overall.

Teams from four schools competed in the race, which showcased each team’s depth. The format scored each team’s top 10 runners rather than the traditional top five, with its 11th and 12th runners eligible to displace others.

The Bates men, ranked No. 7 in New England, took fourth through eight place among 67 runners to win with 115 points, well ahead of runner-up Tufts (171), which is ranked 18th in the nation. WPI (196) and the University of Southern Maine (397) also competed.

Freshman James Jones led the Bobcats by finishing the 4.97-mile race in 26:19.7, good for fourth place overall. Seniors Joe Doyle, Evan Ferguson-Hull and Nick Orlando and junior Matt Morris followed him in the 5-8 spots.

Tufts senior Tim Nichols won the race in 25:11.9.

Bates took individual honors in the women’s race with a 1-2 finish by senior Jessica Wilson and junior Katherine Cook.

Wilson, who is from Cumberland, finished the 3.11-mile course in 18:47.4. Cook was right on her heels, crossing the line at 18:52.8.

Sophomore Katie Barker (sixth), senior Molly Chisholm (12th) and junior Mary Szatkowski of Buxton (18th) were the other top Bobcat runners.

Tufts, ranked sixth nationally, placed five runners in the top eight to win the event with 105 points, followed by the Bobcats (170), Wellesley (289) and WPI (317).

The men and women return to action this Saturday with split squads racing at the Louisville Cross Country Classic in Kentucky and the Colby Invitational in Waterville.


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