Women’s Soccer Recap: Influx of youth sparks improvement
|Sam Alper ’12 made an immediate impact on the Bobcats as the team’s second leading scorer.|
The 2008 Bates women’s soccer team was largely comprised of underclassmen this season, with 18 out of the 24 players being either sophomores or first-years. However, under interim head coach Carla Flaherty, along with strong leadership from seniors Julie Brown (Lynnfield, Mass.), Jen Marino (Methuen, Mass.) and Caitlin McMahon (Sudbury, Mass.), as well as junior tri-captain Avery Pierce (Weston, Mass.), the team competed fiercely in the always tough NESCAC.
Bates played Williams to a hard-fought 2-1 loss in its opening game of the season. Although they did not record the victory, the Williams game set a precedent that the Bobcats were going to be a tough matchup all season. Williams went on to win the conference with a record of 8-0-1 and is currently playing for a chance at a national championship.
In conference play, Bates secured a convincing victory against Connecticut College and downed Wesleyan in a double-overtime thriller, but the Bobcats were otherwise frustrated offensively. In the midst of their offensive drought, the Bobcats maintained a strong and stringent defense, holding most of their opponents to two goals or less. In fact, eight of Bates’ nine conference games were decided by two goals or less including a 1-0 overtime loss to Colby in their final game of the season. A tie or a win against Colby would have propelled Bates into the conference playoffs.
With the graduation of Brown and Marino, both offensive threats, as well as defender McMahon, the Bobcats will look to their youth to close the gap next season. First-year Sam Alper (Holliston, Mass.) showed her knack for scoring points this season, leading the team in assists and being second on the team in goals and points behind Brown. The Bobcats gained vital experience and confidence this season, which will undoubtedly help them build on their success in 2009.