BRUNSWICK, Maine - On the heels of its First Round NCAA Tournament win on Wednesday evening, the Bowdoin College field hockey team was highlighted in postseason awards handed out by the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
Headlining the honors were senior defender Brooke Phinney (Dedham, Mass.), who was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year, and first-year Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, Conn.), who was tabbed as the conference's Rookie of the Year. Phinney was joined as a First Team selection by senior Cathleen Smith (Larchmont, N.Y.) and junior Katie Riley (Hingham, Mass.). Seniors Kassey Matoin (Springvale, Maine) and Kayla Lessard (Enfield, Conn.) were both recognized as Second Team choices.
The Polar Bears will travel to play in a regional at William Smith College on Saturday against MIT. Bowdoin will play at 2:00 p.m. with Sunday's regional final scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
Phinney is the second-straight Polar Bear to win NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year honors following Ella Curren's '12 selection last fall. In addition to locking down a defensive unit that has permitted less than a goal per game this year, Phinney was the top-scoring defender in the conference with 12 goals and eight assists this fall.
Kennedy is the fourth Polar Bear to collect Rookie of the Year recognition after being the top-scoring first-year in the conference, totaling 15 goals and two assists so far this year. Previous Bowdoin winners of the NESCAC Rookie of the Year are a who's-who of Polar Bear field hockey, as Ingrid Oelschlager (2007), Taryn King (2003) and Marissa O'Neil (2001) each won the award following their debut seasons.
Cathleen Smith continued to add to her healthy career totals with 12 goals and eight assists this year for Bowdoin. With 32 points this season, the senior co-captain is just fifth Polar Bear to surpass the 100-point mark for a career. Her 115 points heading into this weekend's NCAA regional stand third all-time in program history while her 45 career goals and 25 career assists are both fourth in their respective category.
Katie Riley also garnered a well-deserved First Team nod after a breakout campaign that sees her rank second in the league with 44 points. Her 16 goals and 12 assists were both team-highs and her point total is tied for the sixth-most in a single-season in school history. Riley netted a hat trick in Bowdoin's NCAA First Round win against New Paltz St. on Wednesday night.
Taking Second Team honors are the senior defensive duo of Kassey Matoin and goaltender Kayla Lessard. Matoin, who often garners Bowdoin's top defensive assignment as the central defender for the Polar Bears and also serves as the stopper on penalty corners, where she has grabbed eight assists this fall. Lessard is just the fourth Bowdoin goaltender to earn a NESCAC All-Conference nod after a sensational season that has her among the top five in the nation with a microscopic 0.76 goals-against-average this year.
NCAA Regional Preview
Bowdoin will face MIT on Saturday in a rematch of last year's regional final in Brunswick, claimed 3-0 by the Polar Bears. The Polar Bears are 15-1 in their last 16 NCAA Tournament games dating back to 2007 and have played all of their potential opponents in the regional recently in the Tournament play. In addition to beating MIT in last year's bracket, Bowdoin defeated Tufts in the 2008 NCAA title game and beat William Smith in the regional final of the 2006 tourney.
Among the national polls, Bowdoin heads into the weekend as the highest-ranked team in the NFHCA Division III Coaches Poll. The Polar Bears stand sixth, followed by William Smith (ninth), Tufts (10th) and MIT (18th).
William Smith will provide live stats and video webcast coverage of all the games this weekend. Click the links above for more information.
The complete NCAA Division III bracket is located here: