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Defense shines in field hockey's 1-0 loss to No. 1 Tufts

Jillian Conway '15 and the Bates defense held No. 1 Tufts to just one goal on 27 shots. File photo by Mike Bradley/Bates College.

LEWISTON, Maine -- It wasn't the 8-2 win enjoyed in the season opener Thursday night, but the Bates field hockey team's 1-0 loss to No. 1 Tufts on Saturday might rank as more impressive, all things considered.

The defending NCAA champion Jumbos (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC) outshot the host Bobcats (1-1, 0-1) by a 27-0 margin and took 17 penalty corners to Bates' zero. Still, Bates was just a score away from a tie until the final second.

"At halftime, I gave them a laundry list of things to work on, and it was great to see them execute them," said Bates head coach Danielle Ryder. "The great thing about this team is that when you ask them to do something, they do it, even if it's uncomfortable."

Tufts first-year forward Annie Artz (Gates Mills, Ohio) scored in the 16th minute of the game on an assist by sophomore Rachel Terveer (London, Ohio), for the lone goal of the game. About 10 seconds after sophomore Brittany Norfleet (Solana Beach, Calif.) started the Jumbos' eighth penalty corner of the game, Terveer directed the ball toward the face of the goal, where Artz beat a Bates defender to get her stick on the ball and past senior goalkeeper Becca Otley (Cumberland, Maine).

Otley finished with eight saves, including back-to-back diving stops of shots by senior Chelsea Yogerst (San Diego, Calif.) with 12 minutes left in the game.

In front of Otley, Bates' defensive unit, comprising junior Jillian Conway (Andover, Mass.), senior Lexie Carter (Saco, Maine), sophomore Hannah Beinecke (Manchester, Mass.) and senior captain Sarah Warden (North Andover, Mass.), did an outstanding job of thwarting Tufts' many scoring opportunities, particularly on penalty corners. Senior midfielder Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.) excelled in gaining and maintaining possession for the Bobcats in key moments.

"Becca was largely responsible [for the close margin], but on top of that, our defense was on top of every rebound," said Ryder.

Tufts will play host to Babson on Tuesday at 4pm; Bates will play at Husson on Wednesday at 7pm.