LEWISTON, Maine -- The No. 18 nationally ranked Bates women's lacrosse team overcame a 7-3 deficit to defeat Babson College 11-8 in the season opener for both teams Tuesday evening at Garcelon Field.
Senior Joan O'Neill (Westwood, Mass.), the leading scorer in the NESCAC last season, scored a career-high six goals and added an assist for the Bobcats, moving into first place on Bates' career assists list with 51, and out of a tie for the record with Morgan Maciewicz '10. Sophomore Wally Pierce (Weston, Mass.) added two goals, while first-year Kathy Yannopoulos (Weatogue, Conn.) and senior Lindsay Thompson (Ipswich, Mass.) both had a goal and an assist apiece. Junior Eloise O'Connor (Loudonville, N.Y.) made 10 saves in winning her first career start in goal.
Sophomore Misha Beatty (Westwood, Mass.) scored five times for the five-time defending NEWMAC champion Beavers, while Trisha Babson added a goal and an assist along with a game-high five draw controls. Sophomore Julie Baharestani (Syosset, N.Y.) made five saves for Babson.
Senior Jenna Dannis (Milford, N.H.) led the Bobcats with thee ground balls and five caused turnovers, while sophomore Wally Pierce (Weston, Mass.) collected a team-high four draw controls.
O'Neill scored 12 seconds after the opening draw and had all three of Bates' goals in the opening 13:43, while Beatty had Babson's first two, and the teams were tied at 3-3 at the 16:17 mark. Beatty notched her quick hat trick with 14:19 left for a 4-3 Babson lead, starting a four-goal run by the Beavers. After Trisha Babson asssisted on a goal by junior Emma Locke (Boxford, Mass.), senior Colleen Mulligan (Hanover, Mass.) and Beatty both scored goals off of the ensuing draws for a 7-3 lead and a Bates timeout with 6:11 left in the first half.
Bates stemmed the run with 3:09 left, clearing out the right side for O'Neill to operate and get a one-on-one goal to make it 7-4. Junior Linnea Fulton (Bristol, R.I.) controlled the next draw, and less than a minute later O'Neill fed Yannopoulos underneath for the rookie's first goal, closing the gap to 7-5 by halftime.
Bates scored the first three goals of the second half for a 5-0 run and an 8-7 lead with 22:29 left in the game, all three taking advantage of Babson turnovers. Pierce scored her first goal with 27:14 left, and though Babson won the ensuing draw, Dannis caused a Beaver turnover, and the Bobcats charged up the field on a fast break, finished off by Yannopoulos finding Thompson open for the putaway to tie the game. Dannis caused another turnover to set up another scoring possession, with senior Maggie Reilly (Wellesley, Mass.) feeding Wally Pierce for an 8-7 Bates lead.
Babson ended the run with a free-position goal by Beatty, her fifth score of the game, with 19:45 left. But after two clears apiece by both teams, O'Neill got her first goal of the second half with 11:52, assisted by Thompson, for a 9-8 lead that Bates never relinquished. The Bobcats made it 10-8 after another Dannis caused turnover, with sophomore Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.) finishing off another fast break and prompting a Babson timeout. Wally Pierce won the next draw, however, and with 8:27 left O'Neill made it 11-8 with her sixth tally of the game.
With 7:44 left, O'Connor saved a free-position shot by Beatty, her third save of an 8-meter shot in the game, and with 4:24 she repeated the feat, adding another one quickly after on Beatty's follow attempt, helping to preserve the victory for the Bobcats.
Bates has a busy weekend ahead, hosting No. 9 Middlebury on Saturday at 12pm, followed by another NESCAc opponent, No. 17 Amherst, on Sunday at 12:30. Babson plays at Eastern Conn. St. on Saturday at 1pm.