Field hockey makes No. 4 Middlebury earn its 4-2 win

Becca Otley (0) made 16 saves behind teammates (left to right) Sarah Warden, Lexie Carter, Bridget Meedzan and Jillian Conway in a 4-2 loss to No. 4 Middlebury on Oct. 19, 2013. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College field hockey team didn't make it easy for No. 4 nationally ranked Middlebury on Saturday, but the Panthers prevailed with a 4-2 victory at Campus Avenue Field. Middlebury's win ended Bates' winning streak at three games, and extended the Panthers' streak to four.

Catherine Fowler scored two goals and assisted on another, while Ellie O'Brien added a goal and an assist for Middlebury (11-2, 7-2 NESCAC).

Bates (4-8, 1-7 NESCAC) got goals from senior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine) and junior Caroline Falcone (New Canaan, Conn.), the latter of which closed the gap to 3-2 with 13 minutes left in the game.

Middlebury put 20 of its 23 shot attempts on goal, as Bates senior goalkeeper Becca Otley (Cumberland, Maine) turned in a strong performance in her final home game, posting 16 saves. Middlebury's Emily Knapp made three saves. The Panthers outshot the Bobcats 23-7 and earned 16 penalty corners to Bates' four.

Middlebury scored twice in the opening 21 minutes before Carter put the Bobcats on the scoreboard with 13 minutes to go in the first half. At the 13:33 mark, a Bates defender tried to clear a shot by Fowler, but instead the ball passed Otley into the cage. With 14:34 left, O'Brien converted a cross from Fowler to make it 2-0 on a penalty corner play.

Bates then cashed in on its first penalty corner of the game, with junior Jillian Conway (Andover, Mass.) setting up Carter's third goal of the season, the second-most on the team.
Middlebury regained a two-goal advantage with 24:30 left in the second half, as Fowler scored from the top of the circle on a penalty corner, after a setup by Alyssa DiMaio and O'Brien.

With eight minutes to go in the game, Bates earned another penalty corner and used it to narrow the gap to 3-2, as Falcone knocked the ball in amid a scrum in front of the Middlebury goal. The goal was Falcone's ninth this season, the highest season total by a Bobcat in the past decade.

Bates kept the pressure on, earning another corner with 5:15 to go, but Conway's shot was turned away by Knapp. Middlebury then added an insurance goal with 3:15 to go, with Katherine Theiss converting Pam Schulman's assist on another penalty corner play.
Carter had an outstanding game for Bates, with several big clears in addition to her first-half goal.

The game marked Senior Day for Bates; it was the final home contest for Carter, Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.), Polly Merck (Beverly Farms, Mass.), Otley and Sarah Warden (North Andover, Mass.).