After winning its previous six games, the Bowdoin men’s lacrosse team (6-3, 4-2 NESCAC) was defeated by an unbeaten Bates squad (9-0, 6-0 NESCAC) on Wednesday. The game—with a final score of 13-12—was extremely close with neither team holding more than a three-goal lead at any point in the match. The Polar Bears led 12-9 with just under nine minutes left in regulation but were unable to hold off the Bobcats who scored four unanswered goals to win the game.
The Polar Bears came into the game as the underdogs looking to knock off the No. 1 ranked team in the NESCAC and No. 4 ranked team in Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches’ poll.
“They’re really good. They’ve got a ton of seniors that have been playing for a long time for them—three or four-year starters,” Head Coach Jason Archbell said before the game. “I think they can put up a lot of points and in a hurry. It’ll be a really big test for our defense.”
The Polar Bear defense answered by holding the Bobcats well below their average goals per game on the season. Goalie and captain Peter Mumford ’17 ended the game with 12 saves, several of which were emphatic and garnered uproar from the crowd. Bowdoin’s face-off specialist, Sam Carlin ’19, dominated his battle winning 16 of 28 attempts.
Some mistakes down the stretch opened the game up for Bates to come back and clinch the victory in the fourth quarter. After conceding two quick goals, the Polar Bears were called on an offside penalty that gave Bates an extra-man opportunity. The Bobcats then capitalized, scoring the game-tying goal with 2:34 left on the clock.
“When you play good teams, there’s always things to learn from so as we watch the film there’s definitely some things we can get a lot better at,” said Archbell.
A chance to score his third goal and regain Bowdoin’s lead came to Matthew Crowell ’18 in the last two minutes, but he was unable to convert as he ripped a shot against the woodwork. Bates controlled possession after this and ultimately scored the game-winner with 18 seconds left in the game.
While the loss is disappointing, the team has shown that it can overcome adversity—it rebounded from a 0-2 start to the season with a six-game winning streak.
“It definitely wasn’t the start we wanted to have, but we found a way to respond,” said Mumford. “Guys worked hard, the offense started clicking, the defense buckled down and one win turned into a few more—just kept focusing and working hard.”
The Polar Bears will have to continue to find ways to win when they host Connecticut College (5-4, 2-3 NESCAC) on Saturday. Though the Camels have not had as much success as Bates, the Polar Bears are no less determined about this game than the last.
“It’s a NESCAC game so it’s always a tough, close, physical game,” said Archbell. “They do play a pretty physical style. It’s usually a pretty big physical team so we’ll certainly have our hands full there too.”
Conn’s defensive style will make for a vastly different game compared to the Bates match. The Polar Bears are almost certain to have fewer opportunities to score than they usually do, so capitalizing on the ones they get will be crucial.
Bowdoin will host the Connecticut College Camels tomorrow at 1 p.m. on Ryan Field.