LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates field hockey team defeated No. 5 nationally ranked Tufts University 1-0 Saturday, the Bobcats' second win over a top-five team this week and their first against the Jumbos since 2002.
Junior inner Emma Patterson scored the only goal of the game for Bates (6-5, 3-4 NESCAC), which also defeated No. 2 Babson 2-1 in overtime Tuesday in a non-conference game.
Neither team had much success penetrating the opposing side's impressive defenses, and the game featured only 14 shots. Tufts (8-4, 6-2 NESCAC) outshot Bates 8-6 and had a 6-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Tufts threatened early on, with Bates thwarting a third-minute penalty corner then blocking a shot by Mary Kate Patton in the fourth minute.
Bates junior Taylor Lough had a shot of her own blocked early in the 12th minute. Bates kept the ball in Tufts' end and Lough lifted a high pass from the right baseline to the front of the Jumbos' goal. Patterson, about 8 feet in front of the right post, maintained position against a Tufts defender and batted the ball off a bounce into the turf, where it bounced again into the cage for the 1-0 lead, with 23:26 to go in the first half.
Tufts threatened again in the 33rd minute, as Erin Sanders, driving in from the right wing, had a shot blocked and a follow-up shot turned away by Bates junior goalie Adelae Durand.
Bates threatened to double its lead on back-to-back penalty corners with about eight minutes left in the game. Two shots by sophomore Grace Fitzgerald were blocked and a third, by Lough, was saved by Tufts goalie Emily Polinski.
For Bates defenders Samantha Reiss, Alexa Jurgeleit, Fitzgerald, Shelbie McCormack and Caroline O'Reilly, the second half was mainly an exercise in keeping Tufts out of the circle. The Jumbos earned two penalty corners in the final four minutes as Bates fans held their breaths. With four minutes left, Celia Lewis's shot was blocked. The final corner came after time had expired, which the Bobcats were able to clear out without a shot attempted.
Durand had two saves in her first solo shutout this season and the third of her career. Polinski made one save for Tufts.
Bates is tied with Bowdoin for seventh place in the NESCAC, while Tufts drops into a tie for second place with Williams.