WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Bates men's soccer team played better and better as the game progressed Sunday, taking a dominant 3-0 victory at defending North Atlantic Conference champion Thomas College in a non-league game.
"It's always tough to play a conference champion, and it showed until we bagged our first [goal]," said Bates head coach Tyler Sheikh. "From there we gave a lot of deserving guys minutes to keep pressure through to halftime. We adjusted our shape and really came out well in the second."
Bates (4-1-1, 1-1-1 NESCAC) outshot Thomas (2-6-1) by a margin of 24-6, and tallied eight corners to two by the Terriers.
In the eighth minute, after conceding a penalty, Bates junior goalkeeper David Goodstein (Bethesda, Md.) made a gorgeous kick-save on the penalty shot, one of his four saves, on the penalty shot to keep the game even. Goodstein finished with four saves.
Later in the 23rd minute, the Bobcats broke through on the scoreboard. Following a long free kick, the ball fell to the feet of senior Austin Sansone (New York, N.Y.), who slotted the ball into an empty net giving Bates a 1-0 lead.
Sixteen minutes later, in the 39th minute, the Bobcats struck again. After a long ball in to senior Eric Opoku (Accra, Ghana), Opoku tapped the ball over to senior Beaufils Kimpolo-Pene (Bronx, N.Y.), who rolled the ball past Thomas keeper Nick Chandler to give Bates a 2-0 lead.
While the Bobcats continued to bombard Thomas with shot attempts, there was a lull in the scoring until late in the second half. In the 72nd minute, Sansone notched his second goal of the afternoon. After a deflection by a Thomas defender, Sansone beautifully placed a left-footed into the top-right corner of the goal to extend Bates' lead to 3-0. It is the eighth goal of Sansone's career and his first multi-goal game.
Bates will play at Husson Wednesday at 5pm for another non-conference contest, then face defending NCAA champion Tufts on Saturday at home.
"It's a massive week for the program going away to Husson Wednesday and welcoming Tufts Saturday, but if we play like we did in the second we'll always be a tough out," said Sheikh.