Bears claw their way to the top
On an atypically warm November morning, the Bowdoin Women's Soccer Team traveled to Lewiston and set out to claim first place in the NESCAC by beating the Bates.
Although the weather conditions were remarkable, Bowdoin's performance on the field was not as noteworthy. The Bobcats were fired up. Even during warm-ups, their energy radiated off of the field into the stands, giving Bates fans much to hope for. Every Bates player seemed ready to play.
From the first whistle, they beat the Polar Bears to almost every ball in the air and on the ground. The Bears could not seem to find a rhythm and were continuously out hustled throughout the first half. Their lethargic play coupled with an early injury to leading-goal scorer Jill Falwell '04 seemed to further excite the already energetic Bobcats.
Fortunately for the Polar Bears, their status as a NESCAC powerhouse seemed to frighten the young Bates team. The Bobcats managed to dominate the majority of the first half, and their great intensity and enthusiasm propelled them towards the goal many times. However, the black jerseys seemed to intimidate Bates. Almost every time they neared the goal, they appeared almost shocked or stunned and could never quite finish.
The Bears, although not playing up to their potential, made sure not to make the same mistakes as Bates and capitalized on the few opportunities they had.
Nearing the end of the first half with no score on the board, Cedar Goldman '05 did what she does best and sent a soaring corner kick directly to the head of central back Melissa Anderson '05. Anderson headed the ball into the corner of the net, giving the Bears a 1-0 advantage as well as a bit of much needed confidence heading into halftime.
Bowdoin played a finer second half, but Bates was relentless. They never let up and were constantly challenging the strong Bowdoin defense. However, the Bears were not going to let this game slip away. Too much was at stake, as a win meant not only first place in the division but also home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
With 15 minutes to play in the game, coach Cullen made sure his team would secure victory by adding a fifth defender to the normal four-member defense. The Bears would not give Bates an inch offensively. To Bates' credit, they never gave up. They pressured the Polar Bear defense until the last minute. Yet when the whistle blew, Bowdoin remained on top.
With the win, the Bears captured the regular season NESCAC crown as well as a first round bye and the rights to host the NESCAC Semifinals and Championship this weekend in Brunswick.
While the Bears have been resting, the Bates Bobcats continued their aggressive play and advanced to the NESCAC semi-finals by knocking off Trinity College in the first round last weekend.
Proud Polar Bear fans are in for some exciting tournament play as the Bears and the Bobcats will face off again, both hoping to advance to the finals and ultimately earn a place in the NCAA tournament. Bowdoin is looking to make up for their poor performance last weekend and show the Bobcats what Polar Bears are truly made of. Captain Michal Shapiro '04 is convinced her squad will secure victory. Quoting the motivational movie Rudy, Shapiro said, "I think that when Saturday rolls around, we are going to be ready to play, 'Because no one, and I mean no one comes into our house and pushes us around!"
Come support the women's soccer team in what is promised to be one of the most exciting games of the season at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. And if that isn't reason enough, Captain Rebekah Metzler '04 promises, "The Bates Bobcats will be reduced to meowing kittens after we are done with them." GO U BEARS!