WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Bates women's soccer team continues to thrive in 2017. On Sunday they visited No. 4 nationally ranked Williams and battled the 2016 NCAA quarterfinalists to a 1-1 draw.
The Bobcats (4-1-1, 2-0-1 NESCAC) are off to their best overall start since 2005 and their best start against NESCAC opponents so far this century.
"Getting points on the road is really important in this conference," Bates head coach Kelsy Ross said. "We're pleased to be coming home with four points from a warm doubleheader weekend."
Bates earned the draw on Sunday despite being outshot by the Ephs (6-0-1, 5-0-1 NESCAC) by a count of 24-8. Senior captain Sarah McCarthy (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) made six saves in goal for the Bobcats. Olivia Barnhill tallied three saves for Williams.
Junior two-time All-NESCAC selection Olivia Amdur (Chicago, Ill.) scored her team-leading fourth goal of the season to put the Bobcats up 1-0 in the 40th minute of action.
"The build up to the goal was the type of soccer we need to play more of: movement off the ball, game speed decision making and accuracy in our possession," Ross said. "As we generate more of those types of chances, our personnel will have more success in making the net ripple."
Bates led 1-0 at halftime but the Ephs did not waste much time responding in the second half. In the 53rd minute, Williams earned a corner kick opportunity, one of the 11 they recorded on the day. They didn't convert right away but 21 seconds later Victoria Laino found the back of the net for the equalizer and her second goal of the year.
McCarthy made one save through the first 83 minutes. Then she made two in the final seven minutes of regulation and three more in the first overtime period.
The Ephs' Sarah Kelly got a shot off just 55 seconds in to the first overtime period but McCarthy made the save. Then in the 92nd minute, Georgia Lord attempted a header that McCarthy turned away. In the 100th minute, a Bates handball gave the Ephs a direct kick from just outside the box. McCarthy denied an Alison Lu shot to maintain the score at 1-1.
In the second overtime period, Williams outshot Bates 5-1 but the Ephs did not record a shot on goal.
The Bobcats' best chance in the second overtime came in the 106th minute.
First-year So Kim (Thornhill, Ontario) attacked the Ephs aggressively on the left wing, getting off a shot that Barnhill was able to chase down for her third save of the match and her first since the first half.
Williams got two more shots off that both missed wide before time expired for a draw between the two teams.
The Bobcats recorded six of their eight shots in the first half. Senior captain Hannah Behringer (Old Lyme, Conn.) paced the Bobcats with three shots, two on goal. Amdur's lone shot found the back of the net. Natasha Albaneze led the Ephs with four shots and four different players recorded three shots apiece.
"I'm really encouraged by some of the intangibles this team showed throughout the weekend," Ross said. And I can't wait to add more to our résumé through training next week."
Bates is back in action this Wednesday when they visit Thomas College. The match gets underway at 7:00 p.m.