Overtime goal by Cote sends field hockey to 3-2 win at No. 18 Hamilton

Alexa Jurgeleit's defensive save in overtime proved crucial to the Bobcats' 3-2 victory at Hamilton on Sept. 7, 2019. (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

CLINTON, N.Y. -- First-year Paige Cote slapped in a shot from the top of the circle on a penalty corner with 5:04 remaining in the first overtime period, giving the Bates field hockey team a 3-2 season-opening win at No. 18 nationally ranked Hamilton.

The win gave the Bobcats (1-0, 1-0 NESCAC) a measure of revenge for their season-opening loss a year ago, in which the Continentals came back from a 2-0 deficit to also win 3-2 in overtime. It is the eighth consecutive meeting between the teams that has been decided by one goal.

Senior Grace Fitzgerald (Larchmont, N.Y.) inserted the ball to Cote (Auburn, Maine) in the Bobcats' sixth and final penalty corner of the game. Cote stopped the ball and lunged for a low shot that found the right corner of the Hamilton goal to end the game.

Hamilton (1-1, 0-1 NESCAC) came back to tie the game twice after Bates seized 1-0 and 2-1 leads.

All three of Bates' goals came after a penalty corner. The Bobcats took an early lead in the fifth minute when sophomore Bridget Thompson (Newtown, Pa.) knocked in the rebound after sophomore Riley Burns (Sterling, Mass.) had her shot blocked.

Hamilton tied the game at 1-1 91 seconds into the second quarter (a new rule change has field hockey games now played in 15-minute quarters) as Maddie Beitler scored on a Tracey Stafford assist. But Bates struck again to grab the lead before halftime, as Fitzgerald assisted fellow senior captain Abigail Ford (Wells, Maine) on a Bates corner with 4:25 to go.

After first-year Grace Biddle (State College, Pa.) took over in goal for Bates to start the second half, the teams went scoreless in the third quarter despite a 7-1 Hamilton advantage in shots. Biddle made two saves in the period and Ford made a defensive save to minimize the hosts' barrage.

But Beitler evented the game for Hamilton again on the first shot for either team of the fourth quarter, nearly 10 minutes in, with an assist from Lizzie Clarke.

The Bobcats survived a potential game-ending sequence in the fourth minute of overtime, as Biddle knocked away a shot by Michaela Giuttari. The ball caromed out to Sarah Pierpont, who sent another shot toward the right post, where senior captain Alexa Jurgeleit (Barrington, R.I.) was there for the deflection and game-saving defensive save.

Bates earned the game-deciding penalty corner one minute later, sending the Bobcats on a victorious bus ride home.

Bates prevailed despite disadvantages of 16-7 in shots and 12-6 in penalty corners. Bauer and Biddle made three saves apiece for the Bobcats, while Maggie Reville made one save for the Continentals.

The Bobcats will host rival Bowdoin on Wednesday at 7pm.