Bowdoin captures NESCAC
BRUNSWICK — Liz Clegg scored the game-winning goal with 1:48 remaining to give the Bowdoin College field hockey team its seventh New England Small College Athletic Conference championship on Sunday at Ryan Field, 2-1, over Middlebury College.
The top- seeded and topranked Polar Bears improved to 17- 0 this season and stretched the nation’s longest winning streak to 24 consecutive matches. Bowdoin earns the NESCAC's automatic bid to the Division III Tournament, while Middlebury (14-3) receive an at-large bid and a first-round bye.
Bowdoin earned a firstround bye and will host a regional in the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The champions of the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the Polar Bears will play the winner of Keene State and Endicott in a secondround match on Saturday. Keene State and Endicott’s firstround match will be played on Wednesday at Keene.
Also coming to Brunswick will be Denison (Ohio), which earned a first-round bye, and will face the winner of Wednesday’s first round match between MIT and Husson that will take place in Cambridge, Mass.
The winners of the secondround matches will play at Ryan Field on Sunday for a trip to the Division III “Final Four” scheduled for Nov. 19-20 at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass.
Match times, ticket information and live coverage for the regional games will be announced today.
Bowdoin has claimed three of the last four Division III titles (2007, ’08, ’10) and have won their last 12 games in NCAA Tournament play. The Polar Bears are 10-0 all-time in NCAA Tournament play at Ryan Field.
It’s Middlebury early
Middlebury owned most of the possession in the earlygoing, forcing Bowdoin's defense to come up with some big stops. Elena Crosley picked up a defensive save for the Polar Bears and goaltender Kayla Lessard came off her line to make a sliding stop on a shot by NESCAC leading-scorer Lauren Greer midway through the period. Bowdoin replied with some pressure downfield, but came away empty when a shot by Kassey Matoin rang off the post to keep the game scoreless.
Both teams broke into the scoring column on their first shots of the second half. Bowdoin’s came nine minutes into the period off a penalty corner as Clegg delivered the insert to Matoin, who placed it for Ella Curren. Curren blasted a low shot inside the left post to give the Polar Bears the lead with 25:25 to go. Middlebury answered seven minutes later when Catherine Fowler intercepted a Bowdoin clearing attempt, walked into the top of the circle and rifled a low shot past Lessard to even the score with 18:25 to go.
The teams traded possession in midfield for the majority of the remainder of regulation until the Polar Bears garnered a pair of late corner attempts. With under two minutes to go, the ball was played into the Middlebury defensive circle. An initial shot attempt bounced off the leg pads of goaltender Becca Shaw and came to the waiting stick of Clegg, who swatted home the loose ball with 1:48 remaining to give Bowdoin its sixth NESCAC crown in the last seven years.
Lessard made seven saves in net for Bowdoin while Becca Shaw stopped six shots for Middlebury. The Panthers held a 15- 14 edge in shots. Bowdoin earned an 11-9 edge in penalty corners.
The defending national champions improved to 16-1 in NESCAC Tournament play over the last seven years, including a 6-0 mark in conference title matches and 3-0 record in title games against Middlebury.
2-0 over Trinity
On Saturday, Bowdoin scored a pair of goals in the final 17 minutes to take a 2-0 win over Trinity in the semifinals.
Bowdoin owned the possession, holding a 30-0 edge in shots and 18-0 edge in penalty corners, but couldn’t find the back of the net until midway through the second period.
After Trinity’s first sustained possession of the game in Bowdoin territory, the Polar Bears responded with a push downfield. Katie Herter controlled the ball on the left wing and centered it to Cathleen Smith, who slapped the feed inside the right post with 16:50 remaining.
Herter doubled Bowdoin’s nine minutes later, knocking home a rebound off an Curren slapshot with 5:42 left.
Gina Dinallo kept the Bantams in the contest, stopping 14 shots in the setback. Lessard had no saves.