Taylor Lough (11) of Bates College carries the ball down the field during a game against UMF earlier this season. Lough was named NESCAC Player of the Week this week.

Bates football coach Mark Harriman says the final scores haven’t been indicative of the progress the Bobcats have made this season.

Take this past Saturday’s 41-23 loss at Wesleyan.

The 23 points the Bobcats scored in the first half exceed the amount they scored in any complete game so far this season. They also held a halftime lead for the first time in 2017.

Wesleyan took the lead in the third quarter, but Bates stayed within one score until 5:15 left in the game, and the Cardinals added to the margin with a late touchdown after a Bates fourth-down conversion failed deep in its own territory.

How can the 0-5 Bobcats look to flip the script and be more positively and accurately represented on the scoreboard?

“Part of it’s confidence,” Harriman said. “And I think last week, that will help; I hope that that’s going to help our guys, that they’re going to play with more confidence, because they did go up against a real quality opponent, and for the most part went toe-to-toe with them.”

Next up on Bates’ difficult start to its NESCAC slate is Middlebury (4-1), which suffered its first lost last week against Williams.

“I’m hopeful that our young guys are going to be able to see that, hey, we can do this, you know, as long as we keep working hard and preparing the right way, then we can go out on Saturday and compete with what is a very good team in this conference,” Harriman said.

Field hockey’s arrival

Bates’ field hockey team entered last week with a 4-5 record. By the end of the week, the Bobcats were 7-5, but even more impressive was that their three wins came against teams ranked in the top six nationally.

There was a 2-1 overtime win over No. 2 Babson and 1-0 wins over No. 5 Tufts and No. 6 Amherst.

Fifth-year coach Danielle Ryder said the Bobcats have been building toward success all season.

“I think that last week was really just was from continuous momentum throughout the season that just kind of peaked all at once,” Ryder said. “They’ve had a tremendous season so far, I think they’ve flow under the radar quite a bit because they’ve had some tough one-goal losses to some top teams in the country to begin the season, but they were really relentless throughout their training this season, knowing that they had the capability of competing with those teams, but not just competing but winning, and so a lot of work has gone into what everyone else sees as this great week.”

All five of Bates’ losses were by one goal, and all came in September.

Ryder said the Bobcats’ 4-0 October has been boosted by a structural change that has allowed their offense to find the back of the cage a few more times — enough to turn one-goal losses into one-goal wins.

“We just changed our attacking structure, in the circle, specifically, to make us more successful capitalizing on a goal,” Ryder said.

Now Bates field hockey is under the radar no more. The Bobcats were voted into the Division III national rankings — they’re 20th — for the first time in more than a decade.

Junior Taylor Lough, who scored two of Bates’ four goals last week and assisted on another, was chosen as the NESCAC player of the week. She also was named Longstreth/NFHCA Division III honorable mention player of the week and ECAC Division III North offensive player of the week.

“What was really impressive about Taylor is that because of her success in previous games, she was really heavily marked in all three games,” Ryder said.

Sophomore Alexa Jurgeleit, meanwhile, was picked as the ECAC defensive player of the week.

The Bobcats play at Southern Maine on Thursday, and then host the nation’s new No. 2 team Middlebury on Saturday at noon.

Better setter

Bates senior setter Jacqueline Forney was named NESCAC volleyball player of the week for leading the Bobcats to a 3-0 week, which included a nine-set win streak.

Forney averaged 12.9 assists, 4.3 digs, 0.3 kills and 0.2 blocks per set for the Bobcat in wins over Bowdoin (by a 3-1 score), Connecticut College (3-0) and Wesleyan (3-0).

The win over Connecticut College was Bates’ first since 2004, the win over Bowdoin was the Bobcats’ first since 2009. The win over Wesleyan’ was the Cardinals’ first NESCAC loss of the season.

With two conference games remaining, Bates is tied with Amherst for seventh place in the NESCAC. The top eight teams advance to the conference tournament.

State champs

Senior Katherine Cook became the first Bates runner to win the women’s cross country individual state championship since 2000, winning the Maine State Meet last Saturday in Brunswick.

Cook finished the 5-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 47.9 seconds.

The Bates women claimed the state meet for the second straight year, placing seven runners in the top 11 and notching four all-state performances.

Along with Cook’s championship, Olivia LaMarche placed second, Ayden Eickhoff took fourth and Abby Hamilton finished sixth.

Hamilton, a freshman from Yarmouth, was named ECAC Division III north women’s cross country rookie of the week.


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