Merck strikes again as field hockey bumps Thomas

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Dating back to last season, Bates junior forward Polly Merck has now factored in the past five goals scored by the Bobcat field hockey team.

On Wednesday night at Thomas College, Merck (Beverly Farms, Mass.) connected on the eventual game-winning goal in the 11th minute, helping to lift Bates to a 1-0 non-conference victory over the host Terriers, in the inaugural game on Thomas's new synthetic turf field.

Bates first-year goalkeeper Cristina Vega (Needham, Mass.) made her college debut with a shutout, making two saves as Bates outshot Thomas 26-7 in the win.

Bates evened its record to 1-1 while dropping Thomas to 0-3.

Thomas goalkeepers Sofia Sourgiadakis (Littleton, N.H.) and Jasmine Bishop (Waterville, Maine) combined for 11 saves in the loss.

The Terriers started off the game maintaining possession and putting pressure on the Bobcats, but were unable to get shots across.

Merck collected the ball in front of a crowded net and buried it past Sourgiadakis.

Merck had two penalty stroke opportunities, one in each half, to add to Bates' tally and to her own scoring streak, but Sourgiadakis saved the first one with 3:55 left to play in the opening half, and Bishop stopped the second one less than two minutes into the second period.

Merck scored once and assisted on Bates' other goal in the Bobcats' season opener at Williams on Saturday. She capped the 2011 season with the lone goal in a 1-0 Bates win over Colby. She also assisted Carter on Bates' previous goal of last season in a loss at Tufts on Oct. 16.

Senior Ally Kennedy (Winthrop, Maine) paced the Terriers with three shots in the defeat.

Junior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine) attempted a game-high 11 shots, three on net, in the win for Bates.

Bates held a 14-6 advantage in penalty corners.

Bates hosts back-to-back NESCAC games next weekend, with Amherst coming to Campus Avenue Field on Sept. 15 at 11am (Video), and Trinity arriving on Sunday, Sept. 16 for another 11am start (Video).