Balanced Attack Leads Second-Ranked Field Hockey Over Wesleyan in Opener

Brooke Phinney had a goal and an assist in Saturday's win (Creative Images Photography)
Brooke Phinney had a goal and an assist in Saturday's win (Creative Images Photography)

BRUNSWICK, Maine – Three different players scored to give the Bowdoin College field hockey team a 3-1 victory over Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at Ryan Field.

In the season opener for both squads, Bowdoin improves to 1-0 (1-0 NESCAC) while the Cardinals fall to 0-1 (0-1 NESCAC). The Polar Bears, ranked second in the NFHCA Division III preseason poll, extend their winning streak at Ryan Field to 24 straight games dating back to 2009.

Bowdoin controlled much of the play of the first half, earning three penalty corners in the first ten minutes, but Wesleyan goalie Tori Redding was equal to the task and stood tall in net for the Cardinals to keep the score deadlocked. Bowdoin broke onto the board midway through the frame off of a corner insert as Brooke Phinney let loose a hard drive that Redding turned aside. Katie Riley pounced on the rebound, though, and slipped the ball underneath the sprawling goaltender at 17:48. The Polar Bears scored again on another corner opportunity with 9:02 remaining in the half. Riley fed the insert to Kassey Matoin, who set the ball for Phinney to blister a shot through the Wesleyan defense and extend the score to 2-0.

The Cardinals rallied in the latter minutes of the first half to close the gap before intermission. A deflected shot off a Wesleyan penalty corner skittered around the front of the net and, just as Bowdoin goalie Kayla Lessard came out to play it, Cardinals' forward Alyssa Murray tapped it to teammate Taryn Murray to bury at 4:08.

Wesleyan could get no closer, however, as Bowdoin first-year Rachel Kennedy would break through with the lone goal of the second half and the first of her career at 18:37, putting home a loose ball off of a penalty corner. The Cardinals battled back to earn two corners late in the game and forced Lessard to make three big saves in the closing minutes to seal the victory.

Redding made 12 saves for Wesleyan while Lessard earned four in net for the Polar Bears. Bowdoin owned the advantage in both penalty corners (10-3) and shots (21-5). The Polar Bears will play next at Husson University on Wednesday night (7:00 p.m.). Wesleyan will play on Wednesday too, at Wellesley (4:30 p.m.).