LEWISTON, Maine -- No. 16 nationally ranked Bates scored 10 of the final 12 goals, including the last five, pulling away from No. 20 Hamilton for a 12-6 NESCAC women's lacrosse victory on Saturday at Garcelon Field.
Coming off of two straight one-goal losses, both of which were of the come-from-behind variety, the Bobcats (7-3, 3-2 NESCAC) were determined to keep their feet on the gas pedal.
"We talked at halftime about not letting up, how a one-goal lead isn't enough and a 10-goal lead isn't enough," said Bates senior Bridget Meedzan (Ipswich, Mass.), who tied a career high with three goals.
Hamilton (4-4, 1-4 NESCAC) saw its two-game win streak end while suffering its fourth straight conference loss, despite attempting 32 shots to Bates' 20, as well as committing fewer turnovers (18-16) and controlling more draws (11-9) than the hosts. Senior Katie D'Antonio (Garden City, N.Y.) led the Continentals with two goals, while senior Emily Brodsky (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) assisted on two scores. Ashleigh Stephan caused three Bates turnovers and scored once.
On the balmiest day of the season so far, a 48-degree scorcher, senior Blair Shrewsbury (Boxford, Mass.) led the Bobcats with a career-high five goals. Meedzan added three scores, while senior Wally Pierce (Weston, Mass.) added two goals, two assists, four ground balls, three draw controls and two caused turnovers.
Sophomore Moriah Greenstein (Glenmont, N.Y.) dished out three assists and scored once. Greenstein is just one assist away from tying Joan O'Neill's team single-season record of 26. Fellow sophomore Hannah Jeffrey (Greenwich, Conn.) posted another big game in goal for the Bobcats, with 14 saves, tying the season-high she set against Williams last weekend.
Less than 10 seconds into the game, Pierce controlled the opening draw, charged down field and hit an open Meedzan in soft spot in defense for an extremely quick early Bates lead. Greenstein's cross-zone pass to Shrewsbury on the left doorstep gave Bates a 2-0 lead at 26:16.
A give-and-go from Stephan to Brodsky back to Stephan put Hamilton on the board and narrowed the lead to 2-1.
Hamilton then evened the game when D'Antonio got a step on her defender and senior Lauren Brady (Kent, Conn.) hit her in stride for an uncontested shot on the left side.
D'Antonio then gave Hamilton its first lead, at 3-2, getting a step on her defender to find a shooting lane from the top of the circle.
The Continentals made it four straight and assumed a 4-2 lead with 13:40 to go in the opening period, as first-year Casey File (Huntington, N.Y.) scored on a pass by seniro Kathryn Maiorano (Chatham, N.J.).
Shortly after Pierce controlled the ensuing draw, however, Shrewsbury's one-woman charge and top-shelf shot closed the gap and ended Hamilton's 4-0 run.
Meedzan was then awarded a free-position shot and evened the game at 4-4 with 4:09 left in the first, and with 1:22 left in the half, Bates assumed the lead again, and for good, when Greenstein fed sophomore Cara Cappellini (Manhasset, N.Y.) for the close-range finish.
Cappellini returned the favor on Greenstein's goal to open the second half, giving the Bobcats breathing room at 6-4.
Hamilton then broke a 4-0 streak of Bates' own with 23:57 to go, closing the gap to 6-5 on a delayed break, with Brodsky feeding first-year Taylor Ryan (Darien, Conn.).
Less than a minute later, the teams traded turnovers in Hamilton's end, giving Bates the ball back, and Meedzan drove and bounced a sneaky shot over Hamilton junior goalie Kari Koga's (Eldorado Springs, Colo.) right shoulder and into the upper left corner for a 7-5 edge with 22:44 to go.
Far from out of the game, Hamilton closed the gap to one once more with an unassisted goal 45 seconds later to make it 7-6. It would be the Continentals' final goal, however. Jeffrey made seven of her 14 saves in the final 17 minutes of the game as Bates finished the game with five unanswered goals over the final 18:44.
A Hamilton turnover was corralled by Jeffrey in Bates' end, and Pierce scored her first goal of the game to make it 8-6. Shrewsbury then tallied a second unassisted goal with 13:17 left in the period for a 9-6 lead, causing Hamilton to call timeout.
Pierce made it 10-6 when she led a counter-attack upfield, then scored on a leaping shot on an entry feed by Greenstein on the outside of the circle.
Shrewsbury then finished off a baseline drive, and an extended Bates possession, to make it 11-6 with 6:20 left in the game. Pierce fed Shrewsbury with the game's final score with 2:27 remaining.
The Bobcats play another NESCAC game on Wednesday at 7pm at Bowdoin, while the Continentals play a NESCAC game at Middlebury Wednesday at 5pm.