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Field hockey hangs tough with No. 3-ranked Jumbos

McEnroe

Brady

Rothkopf

Judkins

Brusca

Merullo

Ross

Ballard

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College field hockey team battled through a physical game with the third-ranked team in the country on Saturday, the Tufts Jumbos, falling short in the end for a 3-1 loss. Tufts has retained most of its 2008 team, which was the national runner-up a season ago.

The Jumbos came out firing, earning a penalty corner on their first possession in their offensive circle. The Bobcat defense was up to the task, turning away the Jumbos’ potent offense for much of the first half. Tufts earned 13 penalty corners in the first half but the Jumbos were only able to convert on one of them.

While the Bobcat team defense weathered the storm for the first 20 minutes, the Jumbos broke through for the first goal of the game in the 20th minute, when junior Amanda Roberts (Wenham, Mass.) found herself on a 1-on-1 breakaway against Bates junior goalie Katie McEnroe (Hockessin, Del.) and converted her first goal of the season. The Jumbos scored again four minutes later on a hard-hit shot from senior midfielder Margi Scholtes (Grosse Pointe, Mich.). The ball was inserted to the top on a penalty corner and passed left by junior Jess Perkins (Barrington, R.I.) to Scholtes, who snuck it just inside the near post past McEnroe.

Down 2-0 at the half, Bates came out looking to turn the tide and put some pressure on Tufts’ defense. The Bobcats gained some momentum with some nice passing combinations through the midfield into their offensive end. Bates’ first possession in their offensive circle resulted in a penalty corner. The ball was inserted by sophomore Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) to senior defender Sammy Rothkopf (Chicago, Ill.) at the top of the circle. Rothkopf put a shot on goal that was deflected by a Tufts defender. The ball was loose in front of the goal cage as both teams fought for possession, before first-year Michelle Brady (Milton, Mass.) knocked it in past Tufts junior goaltender Katie Hyder (Winston-Salem, N.C.) to make it a one-goal game with 24:30 left in regulation. It was Brady’s first collegiate goal.

The Jumbos took advantage of a defensive miscue less than three minutes later, as senior Michelle Kelly (Downington, Pa.) found senior Amanda Russo (Garden City, N.Y.) behind the Bates defense for a one on goalkeeper situation. Russo’s fifth goal of the year put Tufts up 3-1.

Bates continued to work the ball into their offensive end and play solid defense for the remainder of the game, but could not find the back of the goal cage again.

McEnroe played an outstanding game, making 17 saves for the second straight contest. The Bobcat defense of Rothkopf, senior Heidi Judkins (Farmington, Maine), sophomores Amanda Brusca (Prides Crossing, Mass.), Sarah Merullo (Essex, Mass.), Mackenzie Ross (North Yarmouth, Maine) and first-year Isabel Ballard (Shaker Heights, Ohio), stayed strong and played well against a strong Jumbo offense.

The Bobcats next travel to Williams next Saturday for another conference game. Tufts has a non-conference game at Wellesley on Tuesday at 4:30.

STATS: Tufts 3, Bates 1