MIDDLEBURY, Vt. - The Bowdoin College field hockey team will look to win its seventh NESCAC title in the last eight years as they travel to Vermont for the conference championship this weekend.
The third-seeded Polar Bears will take on second-seeded Tufts at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday in the semifinals. Middlebury and Amherst will play in the first semifinal at 11:00 a.m. The winners will meet at noon Sunday for the NESCAC Championship. All games will be available via live webcast (link above).
Defending champion Bowdoin (13-2, 8-2 NESCAC) will be looking to avenge a 3-1 loss at Tufts on the final day of the regular season. The Polar Bears have been dominant in the postseason, claiming NESCAC titles in each of the last two seasons and six of the last seven. Their tournament record of 22-5 is easily the best in league history.
Bowdoin rebounded nicely in the quarterfinal round, topping sixth seeded Williams 3-0 behind two goals from forward Rachel Kennedy. The first year has made an immediate impact on the program with 11 goals thus far this season. Junior forward Katie Riley has piled up 29 points on 12 goals and 11 assists to set the tone for the Polar Bears. Seniors Brooke Phinney and Cathleen Smith have added 11 tallies apiece. Meanwhile, classmate Kayla Lessard has recorded a goals against average of 0.65.
Tufts (14-1, 9-1 NESCAC) has rattled off 14 straight wins after opening the season with a 5-2 loss to Middlebury. The Jumbos punched their ticket to the final four with a 2-0 victory over seventh seeded Wesleyan on Saturday. Forwards Chelsea Yogerst and Kelsey Perkins (Barrington, R.I.) scored goals in the game, while sophomore goalkeeper Brianna Keenan posted her fourth shutout of the year. In 14 games, Keenan has allowed just 10 goals. Meanwhile, Yogerst and Perkins have combined for 18 goals. Tufts took home the NESCAC title in 2009.
The Polar Bears have been perfect in four previous meetings against Tufts in the NESCAC Championship. They earned semifinal wins in both 2000 and 2003 before topping the Jumbos in the finals in 2008 and 2010.
A complete preview of the tournament, including an electronic version of the championship program, is available at the NESCAC site.