BRUNSWICK, Maine - Katie Riley recorded a hat trick to lead the Bowdoin College field hockey team to a 6-1 win over New Paltz State in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Wednesday afternoon.
The sixth-ranked Polar Bears improve to 15-3 this season and advance to play in the second round of the tourney on Saturday against MIT at William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y. New Paltz finishes the finest season in school history with a record of 16-5.
After the Polar Bears sidestepped an early push by the Hawks, Bowdoin took control with a flurry of action. Rachel Kennedy got the hosts on the board by finishing off a scramble in front at 8:05. Bowdoin doubled its lead less than eight minutes later as Riley inserted a penalty corner to Kassey Matoin who placed it for a low, hard drive by Brooke Phinney at 15:38.
Bowdoin put the game out of reach with three goals in an 8:04 span later in the frame. Riley knocked home a loose ball at 21:03 before Cathleen Smith tapped in a shot from close range at 22:49. Riley capped the run by depositing a feed from Smith at 29:07 to give the Polar Bears a 5-0 edge.
New Paltz was able to get one back before intermission when Dani Ackerman redirected a shot in front at 32:03. But the Polar Bears would not permit another shot in the game as Riley rounded out her hat trick with a breakway goal at 49:15. The six goals were the most allowed by the Hawks this year.
Antonija Pjetri made nine saves in goal for New Paltz while neither Kayla Lessard (60:01) or Hannah Gartner (9:59) earned credit for a save in the victory for Bowdoin. The Polar Bears held a 18-2 edge in shots and 6-1 lead in penalty corners.
Bowdoin has won 32 consecutive home games dating back to 2009. The Polar Bears completed their third consecutive unbeaten season at home and are 15-1 in their last 16 NCAA Tournament games.
Information about the William Smith regional will be announced by the NCAA on Thursday.