BRUNSWICK, Maine - Katie Riley exploded for four goals to carry the Bowdoin field hockey team past Bates on Tuesday evening.
The win improves the Polar Bears' record to 7-1 (3-1 NESCAC) while the Bobcats drop to 3-5 (1-4 NESCAC) with the loss.
Bates controlled the opening five minutes of the game and struck first in the scoring. After a second corner attempt, senior Riley Kundtz dug out a loose rebound from beneath Bowdoin goalie Kayla Lessard and fired it into the back of the net at 29:44. The 1-0 lead marked the first time Bates led Bowdoin in a field hockey contest since 2006. The lead was short-lived, however, as Riley tallied her first goal of the night by flicking a loose ball out of the air and into the Bates goal at 27:28.
Both teams vied for control of the ball until Rachel Kennedy increased the lead for Bowdoin at 7:18. A shot from teammate Cathleen Smith took a hard ricochet off of Bates netminder Christina Vega's pads and bounced right to the waiting stick of Kennedy at the center of the circle for the finish. Riley added a late goal just before the halftime break, diving to poke in a trickling ball along the goal line with 13 seconds left in the first half.
Bowdoin continued its momentum control in the second half, widening the lead less than five minutes into the frame. Kennedy tapped in a rebound at 32:22 to increase the Polar Bear lead to 4-1. Riley recorded her third goal of the net after skillfully tipping a hard shot by Olivia King from the top of the circle at 20:40. Riley capped off the scoring at 18:33, batting an airborne ball from the stick of Emily Simonton into the Bates net. Further Bowdoin efforts were stymied by Becca Otley and a great defensive save by Hannah Beinecke, who slapped a ball away as it bounced towards the back of the cage.
Vega (49:00) stood tall in net for Bates, making seven saves and allowing five goals before giving way to Otley (21:00), who turned aside four shots and allowed one goal in the remaining minutes. Lessard (64:08) was forced to make three saves and allowed one goal between the Bowdoin pipes before being relieved by Hannah Gartner, who was not forced to make a stop in the final 5:52 of play.
Tuesday's game marked the 28th consecutive Bowdoin victory over Bates, dating back to 1985. The Polar Bears own the all time series against the Bobcats with a record of 32-8-3.
Bowdoin will return to action on Saturday, October 6th with another in-state conference match-up at Colby College at 11:00 a.m. Bates will also continue NESCAC play on October 6th as they host Wesleyan at 12:00 p.m.