LEWISTON, Maine -- Emma Stevens scored on a penalty corner in the third minute, and it held up as the game-winner, as No. 9 nationally ranked Bowdoin defeated the Bates field hockey team 1-0 Wednesday night in the Bobcats' home opener on Campus Avenue Field.
Bowdoin (3-0, 2-0 NESCAC) controlled most of the first half. Bates (1-1, 1-1 NESCAC) turned the tables somewhat in the second half but failed to score on the Polar Bear defense, which has allowed only one goal this season.
The Polar Bears outshot the Bobcats 11-7, but Bates achieved a 9-5 advantage in penalty corners, all nine of them in the second half.
Just 2:22 into the contest, on the first penalty corner awarded to either side, Elle Brine inserted to Peyton Jackson on the wing. Jackson's ball from the perimeter was redirected by Stevens past Bates sophomore goalie Ellie Bauer (Denver, Colo.) for the 1-0 lead.
Bowdoin outshot Bates 5-0 in the first quarter continued to control the game throughout the second quarter, building a 9-0 advantage in shots attempted. The Polar Bears briefly appeared to take a 2-0 lead on a penalty corner early in the period, as a ball struck again by Jackson seemed to be knocked into the goal by Stevens. The goal was called off, apparently called an illegal shot. Stevens was struck by either the ball or a stick on the play and exited the game after an injury timeout. Bauer made three saves over a 10-minute span in the quarter to preserve the one-goal margin for the home side.
Bates' halftime adjustments proved effective, as the Bobcats outplayed the Polar Bears in the third quarter, mounting a run of six consecutive penalty corners and six straight shots attempted.
On the Bobcats' first corner, sophomore Riley Burns' (Sterling, Mass.) shot was blocked, and her follow show went wide.
Bates lined up for its second corner in the 40th minute to set up a crucial sequence in the game. Bates senior captain Grace Fitzgerald (Larchmont, N.Y.) inserted to first-year Paige Cote (Auburn, Maine) at the top, who served the ball toward goal. First-year Sarah Bussell (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) set up in the middle and tipped the ball down at the goal, but Bowdoin goalie Maddie Ferrucci knocked it away with her foot. Fitzgerald then had back-to-back chances to score on the rebound, but Ferrucci got in the way of both offerings to save the Polar Bears.
Bates outshot Bowdoin 6-1 in the third quarter, before the teams just one off-target shot apiece in the fourth quarter. A crossed pass from Burns to Fitzgerald on a penalty corner with under six minutes remaining barely missed a connection with Fitzgerald on a key opportunity. The Bobcats collected two last penalty corners in the final minute but couldn't cash in.
Ferrucci finished with three saves, all within seconds of each other. Bauer made four saves in the first half. First-year Grace Biddle (State College, Pa.) tended goal in the second half for Bates but fielded no shots on target.
Bowdoin next hosts No. 1 Middlebury Saturday at 11am, while Bates plays at Connecticut College Saturday at noon.