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Women's soccer hangs tough at Amherst




AMHERST, Mass. – Facing a daunting opponent for the second straight day, the Bates College women’s soccer team hung tough in a 2-0 loss at Amherst College on Sunday.

The Lord Jeffs improve to 7-2-0 (5-1-0 NESCAC) while the Bobcats fall to 3-6-1 (1-5-0 NESCAC).

Amherst, which gave Middlebury its first loss yesterday, took a 1-0 lead on an own goal in the 30th minute and got an insurance tally from first-year Kathryn Nathan late in the second half. The Jeffs held a commanding 34-5 advantage in shots and a 19-3 edge in shots on goal, but Bates sophomore goalkeeper Annie Burns (Topsfield, Mass.) made 17 saves and held the hosts to only two goals during a phenomenal performance.

Burns made 11 saves Saturday against Williams, as she was put to the test during a tough weekend against two of the region’s top teams.

Amherst increased its winning streak to six and its shutout streak to four.

The Jeffs’ first goal began to develop when senior Meg Murphy faked out a Bates defender on the left wing, brought the ball back to her right foot and ripped a shot that hit the bottom of the crossbar. The ball then bounced off a Bobcat defender and into the net, giving Amherst a 1-0 lead with 15:17 to play in the first half.

Bates nearly tied things up with six minutes to play in the opening half when a cross by sophomore Mariah Barstow (Philadelphia, Pa.) from the right wing hit the far post. The ball bounced back out along the goal line but never crossed it, as Amherst escaped unharmed and carried its 1-0 lead into halftime.

Amherst outshot the visitors by a commanding 21-1 margin in the second half. The Jeffs looked to score a second goal six minutes into the second frame when Hannah Cooper played the ball ahead to Murphy in the box, but Bates sophomore Amanda Sirianni (Holliston, Mass.) was there to make a nice play and clear the ball away.

The Jeffs nearly scored on rebounds in the 57th and 73rd minutes, but Burns came up with impressive saves on each occasion. Twelve minutes into the second half, Nathan took a shot from the top of the 18 but had it denied by a diving Burns, with the ball making its way to Emily Little. Little was in the perfect position for a rebound, but her one-touch attempt was sent right into the arms of Burns, who was still on the ground after making her diving save.

The hosts pressured the Bates defense for the majority of the second half, but they would not add to their lead until the 84th minute, when Hirsch played a ball to Nathan, whose left-footed attempt from just inside the 18 got by Burns.

The Bobcats will next play at UMaine-Farmington on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.

STATS: Amherst 2, Bates 0