Mules hold off field hockey's second-half rally, 4-3

LEWISTON, Maine -- Colby netted three goals in the opening 15 minutes and built a 4-0 lead before holding off Bates' second-half rally for a 4-3 NESCAC field hockey victory Wednesday night at Campus Avenue Field, in the season finale for both teams.

Megan Fortier scored two goals for Colby (6-8, 2-8 NESCAC), which received all of its scoring from first-year players. Misha Strage and Ellie Donohue also scored.

For Bates (4-10, 1-9 NESCAC), junior Caroline Falcone (New Canaan, Conn.), senior Riley Kundtz (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) and junior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine) all scored in a four-minute span of the second half.

Just over five minutes into the game, at the 5:25 mark, Bates first-year goalkeeper Cristina Vega (Needham, Mass.) saved an initial shot by Fortier, but fellow Strage was there to put away the rebound.

With 27:07 left in the half, Fortier scored one herself with an assist by Courtney Erskine, jabbing a shot from along the left baseline that jumped off a Bates stick and into the air, volleying high over Vega's head and hitting the right interior of the goal for a 2-0 lead.

Less than six minutes later, with 21:30 left in the half, the lead expanded to 3-0 after an excellent individual play by Fortier. From the top of the circle, the first-year backed into her defender, twice switching directions, before turning and shooting from 10 yards out through Bates defense and past Vega.

Colby tacked on another score with 17:20 left in the second half, as first-year Ellie Donohue finished off a team offensive push, taking a feed from Erskine and shooting from a tough angle into the back of the cage. With a 4-0 lead and 17 minutes to play, Colby seemed comfortably on its way to the win.

But Bates got on the scoreboard with 12:23 left in the game, when Falcone had a clear shot from the center of the circle and cracked it into the back of the cage.

With 10:37 left, Bates finished off another offensive surge. Junior Polly Merck (Beverly Farms, Mass.) recovered a loose ball on the left side of the circle and drove baseline. Her shot glanced off a Colby defender and out to Kundtz, who swatted in a looping shot past Colby goalkeeper Michelle Burt to close the gap to 4-2.

Just 2:10 later, with 8:27 left in the game, Bates closed the gap to 4-3 on a penalty corner. Merck started the play, inserting the ball to junior Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.), who stick-stopped the ball for Carter's rocket of a shot from the top of the circle.

Bates' final flurry, including a penalty corner with 55 seconds left, passed with no further shots attempted.

Colby outshot Bates 8-6 in the first half, but Bates turned the table in the second half with a 6-3 edge. Penalty corners were 5-4 in Bates' favor.

Burt finished with three saves for Colby, and Sarah Evans played the final 10:27 in Colby's goal. Vega made one save and first-year Katie Knox (Bronxville, N.Y.), who played the final 56:30 in goal for Bates, also made one save.

Playing in their final games for the Bobcats were seniors Laura Baran (Pittsburgh, Pa.), Michelle Brady (Milton, Mass.), Kundtz, Alie Philip (Simsbury, Conn.) and Nicole Santosuosso (Canton, Mass.).