The men's lacrosse team won two challenging games this weekend only to lose to rival Bates on Wednesday. The Polar Bears (7-2, 4-2 NESCAC) had built up a five-game winning streak after a 9-7 win against Middlebury and a 9-6 win against Williams, but lost to the Bobcats for the first time in five years.

After Bowdoin fought back from a 2-0 deficit early in the game on Wednesday, Bates regained its lead with 9:04 left in the second quarter and never looked back, winning 11-5. Conor O'Toole '14 and Ben Brewster '14 led Bowdoin with five ground balls apiece, and Patrick Lawlor '13 finished with a goal and an assist. The Bobcats' win was just their second of the year in NESCAC play.

In Saturday's game at home, Bowdoin and Middlebury were tied 3-3 before the Polar Bears started the second half with five quick goals in under 10 minutes. Bowdoin was soon called for five penalties in just six minutes, but the Panthers only converted one of their extra-man opportunities. Captain Mark Flibotte '12 scored four goals in the win, while Chris Williamson '12 saves 15 shots in goal and captain Matthew Egan '12 accrued five ground balls and four forced turnovers.

It was a bittersweet win, however, as Keegan Mehlhorn '12, second on the team in ground balls, came out with a broken metacarpal and will likely be out of action for a few weeks.

The game against Williams on Sunday started out with an element of uncertainty for the Polar Bears, as they found themselves facing a 4-1 deficit by the end of the first quarter. From then on, however, Bowdoin maintained control of the game.

"Williams made some good plays early on," said Head Coach Tom McCabe. "The key for us was that we kept our poise and didn't panic. We came back one goal at a time, eventually tied them up, and then went ahead."

Flibotte scored four times for the second day in a row, and was named NESCAC Player of the Week for his efforts. In light of Mehlhorn's injury, Flibotte's role has become especially important.

"We lost one of our best all-around athletes," said Egan of Mehlhorn. "Coming into Williams we were missing him, but Flibotte came up and lit the fire that we needed to overcome the early deficit."

Bowdoin's defense, led by Egan and Brendan Hughes '12, has also been performing well. Egan caused eight turnovers and collected 10 ground balls in the past three games, while Williamson has saved 35 of 59 shots.

"Chris has also been making a lot of saves," said Egan. "He's been playing well when we need him to play well."

Egan added that Nathan Fritts '12, an attacker by trade, has recently been a key playmaker as well.

"He has also taken some runs at the midfield, so he's been playing a couple different positions for us," Egan said.

The team has been working on simulating many game situations in practices recently, including a new emphasis on ground balls.

"If the ball goes on the ground after a face off, or someone drops a pass, everyone on the field is fighting to get it," said Egan. "It's important to be able to pick it up and gain an extra possession for your team."

McCabe stressed the importance of maintaining control of the ball and preventing opponents from stealing it.

"We still had a lot of turnovers" this weekend, McCabe said, "and we're working to cut down those numbers as much as we can."

Bowdoin was the top-ranked NESCAC team in the most recent D-III poll, coming in at No. 11 in front of No. 12 Tufts, No. 14 Amherst and No. 15 Wesleyan. However, it will face a difficult battle tomorrow against No. 19 Trinity, which is undefeated in the NESCAC.