LEWISTON — The game wasn’t even a minute old and Bates College’s offense was off and running, but its spread-out attack had to find different ways to get shots past Southern Maine starting goalie Mariah Vaillancourt.

The Bobcats were successful, but Vaillancourt didn’t make it easy in Bates’ 20-1 nonconference women’s lacrosse victory Tuesday at Garcelon Field

The 20 goals are the most this season for the Bobcats (2-3), and they might not have a chance to top it because the rest of the season is in flux due to the daily change in response to the coronavirus.

Bates’ next scheduled contest is supposed to be at home against NESCAC foe Amherst. However, Amherst College has canceled all of its spring sports games, starting Wednesday, “until the situation with COVID-19 becomes clearer,” according to the school’s athletics website.

Another NESCAC opponent, Middlebury, which had been scheduled visited Bates next Saturday, has also suspended spring sports until further notice.

Bates College hasn’t made that same decision, but athletic director Jason Fein said that “everybody’s on edge.”

“We’re kind of taking it minute by minute and finding out just like everybody else what’s going on. It’s corona hysteria all over the place,” he said.

USM (1-2) coach Ashley Durepo said her program is taking things day by day. The Huskies are scheduled to host Emmanuel College of Massachusetts on Thursday. A state of emergency in Massachusetts also puts USM’s upcoming schedule in question.

“I mean, tomorrow we’ll worry a little about Thursday as we prep for them (Emmanuel),” Durepo said. “But we really, pretty much day by day, especially with the young squad, we’ll break down today, try and fix some things tomorrow at practice, and then we’ll tackle Thursday when it comes.”


Vaillancourt, an Edward Little High School graduate, stopped 13 of 25 shots she faced.

“Honestly, I knew how competitive Bates was, and I was just kind of going in with just doing the best that I could, and not letting it mentally get to me because they’re such a good team, and just doing whatever I could to stop the ball,” said Vaillancourt, a junior and an Edward Little High School graduate. 

Durepo was impressed by Vaillancourt’s performance.

“I mean, seeing those shots from those solid attackers, with the ball moving that fast, I’m very happy,” Durepo said. “And we were testing out sort of a new defense tonight, so to be able to backbone that defense and still make all those saves — we’re always proud of her.” 

For the third time in three games to start the season, Vaillancourt had a save percentage higher than 50%.

Tuesday’s contest was the first for Vaillancourt in her home community during her college career. 

“It was good. Sometimes (my parents) don’t travel as often to my other games, so it was nice knowing that they would be here,” Vaillancourt, who also played ice hockey at Edward Little, said. 

“I was definitely pleased with myself,” she added, “with the shots that I was seeing and what I was able to do.”

Bates (2-3) coach Brett Allen said Vaillancourt played “fantastic.” 

“She’s probably the best goalie in their conference, and to be quite honest with you, she did a great job of kind of keeping us at bay a little bit there, especially in the first half,” Allen said. 

Bates’ Lila Hutchins scored her first goal of the season off an assist from Liv Sandford 32 seconds into the game, but the Bobcats didn’t score again for another six and a half minutes, the drought ending when Sandford scored the first of her three first-half goals. 

“(Liv) had a great game,” Allen said of the Kennebunk native. “She usually impacts the game in a lot of different ways — caused turnovers, ground balls, draws — so to see her have a little bit bigger impact on the offense was awesome.”

Sandford added a second assist on the first of Gianna DiPinto’s two goals to open the second-half scoring and give Bates a 10-0 lead. 

Bonny Eagle grad Alex Farley scored a free-position goal for USM just before the midway point of the second half to end the shutout and make it a 12-1 game.

That goal also signaled the end of Vaillancourt’s day in goal. Biddeford grad Ella McKenzie took over and made two saves the rest of the game. 

Rachel Deptula made three first-half saves for Bates, and Cammie Lavoie made one while playing the second half. 

Bates’ Stella Stone scored all three of her goals after Farley’s tally to match Sandford’s game-high total. Sophie Scola and Kate Loughlin scored two goals apiece for the Bobcats, and Eva pitched in with a goal and an assist. 

The Bobcats had 13 different goal-scorers.

Allen said the spread-out scoring helps bring the team together “because they’re so supportive of each other all the time.” 

USM has several players with local ties, including starter Morgan Eliasen, a junior who was a three-sport standout at Lewiston High School, and St. Dom’s graduate Payton Winslow, a sophomore defender.

If this is the end for of the season for Bates, Tuesday was a positive way to finish.

“Whether or not it’s the last day of the season or not, I have no idea, but if it is hopefully everybody feels good about how the day went,” Allen said.

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