Bates (6-2-1, 2-2-1) scored at the 36:56 mark of the opening half Saturday and held off a second-half charge from visiting Middlebury for a 1-0 NESCAC victory over the 15th-ranked Panthers (5-1-3, 2-1-3). Middlebury, who sees a 12-match road unbeaten streak come to an end (8-0-4) and was also one of Division III's last remaining unbeaten teams, returns to action on Sunday with a road contest at Maine Maritime starting at 2:00 p.m.
The Panthers had their best chance to get on the scoreboard in the 25th minute when a header attempt from Henry Wilhelm on a corner kick was knocked away by Bates' defender Frederick Hohmann. The Bobcats broke the scoreless tie with 36:56 elapsed. Alec Szwarcewicz sent a long cross from the right that connected with Bobby Dall, as Dall headed it in on the far post as the attempt glanced off the crossbar and went down into the goal for a 1-0 advantage.
Out of the halftime break, the Bobcats looked to double their lead at the 54:00 mark, but Panther goalie Ryan Grady came off his line to challenge Eric Opoku on the left side. The Panthers looked for the equalizer near the midway point of the half, mustering four shots and earning three corner kicks over a span of 4:43 of action. The best opportunity came when Brandon Reid headed a ball on the left doorstep that was saved by Bates goalie David Goodstein at the 62:36 mark.
In the final stages of the contest, the Panthers continued their pressure, but were unable to find the tying goal in the 1-0 setback.
Grady finished with four saves for the visitors, while Goodstein also registered four stops for Bates. The Bobcats held a narrow 12-10 advantage in shots, while Middlebury took five of the contest's six corner kicks, including a 4-1 edge in the second half.
With the win, the Bobcats reclaim the Hedley Reynolds Cup. Awarded annually, the cup is named after Thomas Hedley Reynolds, who served in administrative roles at both institutions. He began his tenure as the Dean of Men at Middlebury in 1957, and became the Dean of the College seven years later. He then served as the president of Bates from 1967 through 1989.