LEWISTON, Maine - The Bates College women's soccer team received first-half goals by sophomore back Rebecca Titcomb and first-year forward Julia Rosen, both on their first collegiate shot attempts, to defeat Saint Joseph's College of Maine 2-0 in the Bobcats' season opener Tuesday evening at Garcelon Field.
With less than a week of practice under its belt, Bates (1-0) at times displayed crisp passing and staunch defense at times, while at other times lacked cohesion, with the fast surface a likely factor in many missed connections. The end result was a satisfying victory earned before a large crowd of students, the night before classes began for the fall semester.
The visiting Monks fell to 0-3 in their most closely-contested game so far this season.
After the teams traded errant shots in the first minutes of the game, junior forward Leah Humes(Beaconsfield, Quebec) was the first to control the ball past the 20-yard line, and from there she let fly with a shot punched over the crossbar by Monks sophomore goalkeeper Marina Cameron (Houlton, Maine). Subsequent attacks were thwarted by early-season foibles like an offsides call and a one-timer of a pass that sailed well past the mark.
In the 21st minute, Titcomb (Henniker, N.H.) broke the scoreless tie on her first collegiate shot. A failed clear out of the penalty area by the Monks resulted in the ball finding Titcomb at the top of the box. Titcomb deftly stopped the ball and quickly shot over the Monks defense, grazing the top of an opponent's head en route to the back of the net to Cameron's right.
Less than 14 minutes after Titcomb's goal, Bates padded its lead to 2-0 on a brilliant play. A beautiful volley pass by Humes looped over a St. Joe's defender, who was drawn well out of the penalty area. Rosen streaked toward the goal and collected the ball without breaking stride. With Cameron advancing toward her, Rosen tapped the ball past the diving reach of the Monks goalie and saw it roll softly inside the left goalpost.
Bates outshot St. Joe's by a 4-1 margin in the first half, but both teams were more active offensively in the second period, with a 9-4 edge in shots going to the hosts.
St. Joe's junior Megen Pollini (Wolfeboro, N.H.) created the Monks' best chance in the second half, when her corner kick with 22:00 to go sailed threateningly through Bates' defensive zone but couldn't find a Monk to strike the ball.
Rosen responded in the 72nd minute with a nice shot from the top of the box that was deflected slightly by a Monk defender before bouncing just wide right of the goal. Less than a minute later, Bates sophomore Ana Urbina (Bow, N.H.) shot and hit the crossbar, drawing oohs from the crowd of students.
Senior Alyssa Morgosh (Carlsbad, Calif.) started in goal for Bates and played the first half to earn the victory. First-year Allegra Sacco (Medway, Mass.) took over in the second half and made Bates' lone save. For St. Joe's, Cameron made one save in the first half and first-year Brooke Troup (East Bridgewater, Mass.), making her first NCAA appearance, added another in the second stanza.
It was the first match between the in-state rivals since 2010, when Bates notched a 2-1 win. The Bobcats own a 10-0 record in the history of series with the Monks.
Bates opens its NESCAC schedule on Saturday at Tufts at noon; St. Joe's next plays at New England College on Sunday at 2:30 PM.
COURTESY OF BATES COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.