GORHAM, Maine – Junior Caroline Falcone scored twice and senior Polly Merck converted a penalty stroke to propel Bates College field hockey past the University of Southern Maine, 3-1, at Hannaford Field on Thursday afternoon.
Giving the Bobcats (2-7) a 1-0 lead, Falcone (New Canaan, Conn.) scored off a pass from sophomore Alex Eliopoulos (Akron, Ohio) at the 25:30 mark. Eliopoulos found Falcone in front of the right side of the cage, and she then turned and beat USM (4-8) goalie Kayla Kennedy on the near side. Falcone tallied her second goal of the game and her third of the contest off a rebound in the 66th minute.
Merck (Beverly Farms, Mass.) added the Bobcats' second tally off a penalty stroke in the 51st minute. Bates put pressure on the Huskies' defense prior to earning the penalty as senior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine) drove a shot on goal. USM pulled within a goal on a score from Peyton Dostie and an assist from Leanne Reichert just over three minutes later.
In her first start of the season sophomore Cristina Vega (Needham, Mass.) made six saves to earn the win.
The Bobcats threatened to score again midway through the second stanza as the team recorded three shots on target from the 55th to the 57th minutes. Falcone nearly broke through in the 59th minute, but USM made a defensive save. At the opposite end Carter notched a defensive save for the visitors just under two minutes later.
Falcone took all six shots for the Bobcats in the first half and placed five on goal. She registered two in the first eight minutes, the second of which came after a drive into the circle from sophomore Danielle Pierce (Parsonsfield, Maine). USM threatened shortly thereafter, but Vega made two saves in slightly over a two-minute period.
About 15 minutes into the contest, Falcone shot just wide off a pass from sophomore Shannon Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) and landed two shots on goal in the last six minutes of the opening period.
Next, Bates returns to NESCAC action at Connecticut College on Saturday at noon.