LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates men's soccer team kept the pressure on Maine-Farmington all night long and it paid off with two second half goals in a 2-0 victory for the Bobcats over the Beavers Wednesday night on Garcelon Field.
The Beavers (1-2-0) did not record a shot in the first half. Meanwhile, Bates tallied 12 shots but did not find the back of the net. Beaver keeper Matthew Wilson made three first half saves; he tallied five saves overall in the contest.
The Bobcats substituted liberally throughout the night as new head coach Tyler Sheikh experimented with different lineups. All 23 active non-goalkeepers got playing time for Bates. Maine-Farmington finally got a shot off in the 60th minute but the Bobcats outshot UMF by a count of 25-1 on the evening.
"I am proud of the guys who implemented things in tonight's action that we've been working on this first week," Sheikh said. "We are a long way off from where we need to be, but we took a step in the right direction."
Bardong did not play until he entered the contest in the 64th minute. He immediately made an impact with some help from his older teammates. In the 65th minute, junior Eric Opoku (Accra, Ghana) set the table by taking the ball on the near sideline and passing it back to junior captain Peder Bakken (Seattle, Wash.) who was about 25 yards from the goal.
Bakken drove aggressively toward the net, shaking a couple defenders before delivering a perfect cross to Bardong from five yards out. The first-year slid and finished with his left foot to put the Bobcats up 1-0.
Then in the 71st minute the Bobcats struck again, this time off a corner kick. Junior Liam Goldfarb (New York, N.Y.) delivered a beautiful feed from the far corner. Dewdney and senior captain Sam Huebschmann (Lynnfield, Mass.) both jumped for the ball and Dewdney made solid contact, heading it in for his first career goal.
Bates has won four straight regular season contests going back to last year. This is also the Bobcats' fourth consecutive season-opening victory. They host the Hamilton Continentals Saturday at 2pm on Russell Street Field to open NESCAC play. Bates defeated Hamilton on the road by a count of 2-1 last year.
For now, the Bobcats are celebrating a win that saw two players score the first goals of their careers.
"It's telling that a supposed walk-on was the game-winning scorer tonight," Sheikh said. "I'm pleased for Ciaran and the rest of the team because their attitudes to do whatever is asked of them has helped us get better day by day. We'll be ready for Hamilton."