Field hockey enters Division III National Coaches Poll at No. 15

Senior captain Grace Fitzgerald and the Bates field hockey team is ranked 15th in the country in the latest NFHCA Division III National Coaches Poll. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

GILBERT, Ariz. -- The Bates field hockey team is off to its best start since the 2007 season and on Tuesday the Bobcats got some national recognition, entering the Penn Monto/NFHCA Division III National Coaches Poll at No. 15, the program's highest ranking ever.

The Bobcats (3-1, 2-1 NESCAC) have wins over then-No. 18 Hamilton College and then-No. 20 Endicott College, both on the road. They rank second in the NESCAC in shot percentage (.239) and third in penalty corners (33). 

Eight different players have scored for Bates, with sophomore Riley Burns (Sterling, Mass.), junior Elsbeth Caulo (Amherst, N.H.) and first-year Paige Cote (Auburn, Maine) tied for the team-lead with two goals each. Cote scored the game-winner in overtime to start the season at Hamilton. Senior captain Grace Fitzgerald (Larchmont, N.Y.) makes the offense go with one goal and a team-high two assists so far this season. Sophomore Ellie Bauer (Denver, Colo.) and first-year Grace Biddle (State College, Pa.) split time in goal, with Biddle ranking fourth in the NESCAC in save percentage at .778. 

The Bates field hockey team last entered the national rankings in 2017, when the Bobcats spent multiple weeks at No. 20 in the country. 

After playing three of their first four games on the road, the Bobcats have six straight home games coming up. Bates hosts Thomas College this Thursday at 7pm.

Thursday is the team's annual Green Dot game where the Bobcats raise awareness and encourage members of the campus community to become Green Dot certified. The Bates Green Dot mission states that "We believe that we can foster a safe community where social norms are transformed to show that violence is not tolerated and that everyone can play a part in violence prevention. Through the everyday actions of individuals on campus, showing that violence prevention is important to us and looking out for each other is paramount, we can create a campus that is safer for everyone."