No. 6 men's lacrosse keeps ball, lead away from Hamilton in 19-10 win

Clarke Jones fires and scores in the first half of Bates' 19-10 victory over Hamilton on April 2, 2017. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- The No. 6 nationally ranked Bates men's lacrosse team scored first and never trailed, thanks in part to senior Sam Francis's dominance on faceoffs, as the Bobcats remained undefeated with a 19-10 NESCAC victory over Hamilton on Sunday at Garcelon Field.

Francis won 23 of 27 faceoffs and collected a game-high 12 ground balls for Bates (8-0, 5-0 NESCAC), which stands 8-0 for the first time since 2006.

Senior Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) led Bates with five goals and one assist. Senior Andrew Melvin (Medfield, Mass.) had three goals and two assists and senior Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) scored three goals with one assist. Junior Clarke Jones (Pepper Pike, Ohio) and first-year Matt Chlastawa (Westfield, Mass.) scored two goals apiece, with Jones adding an assist.

Hamilton (3-6, 1-4 NESCAC) received four goals from Henry Hill and three from Clay McCollum in the loss. Casey Kopp led the Continentals with five ground balls. Starting goalie Noah Weissman made 10 saves in the first half and John Schisler made 10 more in the second half.

In the game's first nine minutes, Hamilton matched goals by Weber and Fay with scores by Hill and McCollum, the latter coming with 6:27 to go. Bates then finished the period with three straight goals, beginning right off the ensuing faceoff as Melvin's diagonal pass found Chlastawa to make it 3-2 with 6:19 left. Fay added unassisted tallies at the 5:26 and 3:45 marks, giving him three goals in the quarter. The two-time All-American beat his defender on all three scores with his back to the goal, spinning away and firing, with two low shots followed by a high-release bounce shot for a 5-2 lead.

Bates scored the game's first extra-man goal with 10:25 to go in the second quarter for a 6-2 lead. McCollum answered with an unassisted goal to close the gap to 6-3, but Bates scored the next three goals and scored five of the final six goals in the half to grab an 11-4 lead at the break. Five different Bobcats scored in the decisive run: junior Regan Haas (Fairfield, Conn.), junior Burke Smith (Wilton, Conn.), sophomore Andrew Small (Deerfield, Ill.), Melvin and Weber. 

Brock Bowers scored in the opening two minutes of the second half to make it 11-5, before Bates reeled off three straight goals to open up a 14-5 advantage. Weber and Fay scored man-up goals at the 12:00 and 9:16 marks of the quarter, sandwiching an even-strength score by Chlastawa on Fay's assist.

In the fourth quarter, Hamilton outshot Bates 13-11 and won three of five faceoffs, but turned the ball over eight times and was blanked on three extra-man chances in the period.

Bates outshot Hamilton by a 60-35 margin, including a 16-5 difference in the first quarter and an 18-7 difference in the third. The Bobcats won 25 of 32 faceoffs in the game and scored on three of four extra-man opportunities, while holding Hamilton scoreless on six man-up chances.

Sophomore Mitchell Drake (Annapolis, Md.) made six saves in goal for Bates over the first three quarters. First-year Rob Strain (Montclair, N.J.) and junior Jared Baumann (Portland, Ore.) split goalie duties in the fourth quarter and came up with one save apiece.

Bates' next three games promise to pose their biggest challenges of the regular season. Bates plays at No. 18 Bowdoin this Wednesday at 7pm, then hosts No. 20 Middlebury Saturday at 1pm. A showdown at No. 2 Tufts, the NESCAC's only other unbeaten team, looms on Tuesday, April 18 at 7pm.