Bates field hockey stuns No. 9 Babson, 1-0

Shannon Beaton's goal helped Bates upset #9 Babson on Wednesday. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- Babson came to Lewiston on Wednesday as the #9 team in the nation and undefeated at 13-0. 

They wouldn't leave town undefeated as Shannon Beaton and the Bates field hockey team (6-4) stunned the Beavers by a score of 1-0.

"Hard work pays off," third-year head coach Dani Ryder said. "This has been three years in the making and this team has bought into everything we've thrown at them. It's a really incredible thing for a coach to see. They have so much faith and trust in themselves and the program."  

Beaton's goal in the eighth minute of action put the Bobcats on top for good. She scored unassisted, when a Beaver lost control of the ball a few yards away from the goal and Beaton took advantage, blasting her team-leading seventh goal of the year past Babson keeper Kayla Costa. 

The Bobcats only tallied three shots on goal in the game but their defense shined as keeper Cristina Vega earned her second shutout of the season.

The win is Bates' sixth of the season, the most they've recorded in one year since 2008. It's also their first win over a ranked opponent since at least 2002.

Other standouts in the upset victory on a windy night in Lewiston included sophomore midfielder Caroline O'Reilly, who was everywhere on defense, disrupting the Beavers' attempts to get shots on goal.

"That's Caroline O'Reilly for you," Ryder said. "She is a spitfire, so reliable, always 100 percent. She is a phenomenal player and she really reads plays well."  

Defender Delaney Nalen cleared the ball numerous times out of the scoring zone, keeping the Bobcats out of trouble on the defensive end.

Babson tallied seven penalty corners compared to only one for Bates but the Bobcats denied the Beavers every time.

The Bobcats are back in action this Saturday as they return to NESCAC play with a noon game against Tufts. A win on Saturday would match the most overall & conference wins in one season for Bates since 2005.