Kundtz, Meedzan score in narrow loss at Babson

BABSON PARK, Mass. -- Three different Babson College players scored goals and goalies Kayla Florence and Kayla Costa combined to make nine saves in net as the Beavers held off visiting Bates College, 3-2, in a non-conference field hockey matchup at MacDowell Field on Sunday afternoon.

With its fourth consecutive victory, Babson improved to 7-2 on the season, while the Bobcats sank to 1-4. Bates plays host to Husson in another out-of-conference game on Wednesday at 6pm (Video).

Babson had two great scoring chances early on, but Bates’ junior keeper Becca Otley (Cumberland, Maine) made two big saves to keep the game scoreless. The first was a blocker swat of Tricia McQuade’s shot that was deflected high into the air at 13:21, and the second was a kick save on a hard shot by Morgan Lockwood on a Babson penalty corner at 13:53.

The Beavers eventually broke through with the game’s first goal at 19:37, as Lockwood scored her team-leading 12th of the season with a sweeping six-yard shot off a short crossing pass from Alex Cabreros.

Bates mounted some offensive pressure in the closing moments of the first half, amassing three straight penalty corners and four shots on net in the final three minutes. Florence stopped the first three shots she faced, including a pair of kick saves on direct penalty corner drives from junior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine), but the Bobcats finally tied the game with 23 seconds left in the period.

Receiving the ball at the top of the circle on yet another penalty corner, Carter smashed a drive toward the left post. There, senior Riley Kundtz (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) redirected it past Florence and into the far side of the cage for her first goal of the season, tying the contest at 1-1 at 34:37.

Bates had an opportunity to grab the lead early in the second half, but Florence made another kick save on a hard drive by Bates junior Polly Merck (Beverly Farms, Mass.) just three minutes in. The Beavers then scored the go-ahead goal less than two minutes later, as Caroline Malone swept a shot inside the far post from the left side off a perfect pass from Lockwood at 39:42. It was Malone’s sixth marker of the season and it put the hosts in front, 2-1.

Babson tacked on what proved to be a critical insurance goal in the 53rd minute, beginning with a clean breakaway by Lockwood down the middle of the field. Otley came charging out of net and made a sliding tackle to knock the ball off Lockwood’s stick, but the defection caromed out to the left wing. There, Kelly Walsh ran it down and blasted a lunging shot into the open cage for her ninth goal of the year and a 3-1 Beaver lead at 52:29.

The Bobcats cut their deficit to 3-2 six minutes later, as junior Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.) took a penalty corner entry pass from Kundtz on the left side of the circle and ripped a direct shot into the center of the cage for her third goal of the season at 58:10.

Bates had several chances to pull even down the stretch, but Beavers’ back-up keeper Costa came up with numerous clutch stops to preserve the lead. The first came just seconds after Meedzan’s goal, as Merck found space just inside the top of the circle but had her drive denied by the rookie keeper at 58:19. The Bobcats then had another rush at 59:40, but Merck’s initial shot from two yards out was saved by Costa and Kundtz’s follow-up bid went just wide into the outside of the net.

Babson's Lila Haffey made a key defensive play with 5:40 remaining in regulation, when she stepped in front of a wide open Bates attacker to disrupt a potential breakaway deep in the Beavers’ zone. Costa then turned away a bid by senior Nicole Santosuosso (Canton, Mass.) with just under four minutes remaining on what would prove to be the Bobcats’ final shot attempt of the contest.

Florence played the first 40 minutes in net and picked up the win for Babson, making a total of five saves. Costa came on in relief and went the final 30 minutes, turning away four shots. For Bates, Otley started and made four stops in 56 minutes of action, and first-year Cristina Vega (Needham, Mass.) added two saves in the final 14 minutes.