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Women's soccer preview: Bobcats bring a lot of firepower to the pitch

Senior captain Sarah McCarthy is one of 14 returnees this year for the Bobcat women's soccer team. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College women's soccer team begins its 2017 season on Tuesday when the Bobcats visit Maine Maritime for a 6:00 p.m. match. 

The Bobcats finished 2016 with a record of 5-9-1 but a talented sophomore class in addition to two-time All-NESCAC selection junior Olivia Amdur has Bates head coach Kelsy Ross excited for the new season.

"We are a high-energy, attack-with-11, defend-with-11, group of women," Ross said. "Our challenge this year will be to bring our game intensity to all our training sessions so when we show up on Saturday morning we know that what we've put in throughout the week is tougher than anything we're going to see that day." 

Amdur (Chicago, Ill.) scored four goals and added five assists in 2016, ranking first on the Bobcats in assists, second in points, and tying for second in goals with Hannah Behringer '18 (Old Lyme, Conn.) and Riley Turcotte '20 (Middletown, R.I.).

Bates boasts an experienced midfield, led by Behringer and junior Cassidy McCarns (Branford, Conn.). While Behringer, a co-captain this season, will miss a little time due to injury, McCarns, who finished 2016 with a pair of goals, is ready to go. 

"McCarns is really dynamic," Ross said. "She makes a big impact both in practice and in games." 

Turcotte headlines a sophomore class that received a lot of playing time right away last year as first-years. She and sophomore Sarah DiPillo (Medway, Mass.) will support Amdur on attack. DiPillo scored two goals and dished out three assists as a first-year. Fellow sophomores MacKenzie Kelly (Dallas, Texas) and Adena Bernot (Old Westbury, N.Y.) help anchor the Bates defense. 

"The term sophomore slump is real and we've discussed that with them," Ross said. "But I tell you what, the way the preseason has gone I don't see that happening." 

Senior captain Sarah McCarthy (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) returns in goal for Bates. McCarthy brings 40 career starts in goal for the Bobcats to the table. 

"McCarthy has been a rock for us," Ross said. "We will continue to lean on her vocal leadership and her vision of the field." 

Another key returnee for the Bobcats is junior Sarah Gutch (Gaithersburg, Md.), who missed five matches last season due to injury. Gutch will lead the Bobcat defense at center back in front of McCarthy. Seniors Ainsley Jamieson (Scarborough, Maine) and Emma Goff (Winchester, Mass.) provide more defensive depth. Goff's leadership and intangibles are off the charts according to Ross, and Jamieson helped anchor the back line in 2016 but is expected to miss the early portion of this season with an injury. Her return later this fall should help make a talented back line even better. 

Ross, the 2015 NESCAC Coach of the Year, is ready to get the 2017 season started.

"You wait a long time for this day to come, and now it's here!" Ross said. "We'll be ready."