Field Hockey NCAA Preview - Bowdoin Set For Tournament Opener Saturday

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College field hockey team will begin pursuit of its fourth NCAA Division III Championship this weekend as they travel to play in a regional hosted by Montclair (N.J.) State University.

After receiving a first-round bye, the fifth-ranked Polar Bears (14-3) will face New Paltz (N.Y.) State (14-8) in a second round match at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, November 16. Top-ranked Montclair State will host #16 Mount Holyoke in an 11:00 a.m. contest that day. The winners will play on Sunday, November 17 at 1:00 p.m. for a trip to the Division III "Final Four" in Virginia Beach the following weekend.

Montclair will not provide live video coverage of the games this weekend, but fans can follow along via live statistics (link above). For fans in attendance, tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students and children.

Click below to hear co-captain Katie Riley's thoughts on this coming weekend's regional

One of the most successful programs in NCAA Tournament history, the Polar Bears have won three NCAA Championships in the last six years - most recently the 2010 title that included this year's senior class as first-years. This will be Bowdoin's 11th NCAA Tournament appearance overall with the Polar Bears owning a 20-7 record, including 16 wins in their last 18 NCAA Championship matches dating back to 2007. Last year, Bowdoin advanced to the regional finals before falling to eventual national champion Tufts 2-1.

Bowdoin has been ranked consistently in the top-five of the NFHCA Division III poll all season, and rolled of ten straight wins between Sep. 17-Oct. 26 to propel themselves as high as #2 in the rankings. The Polar Bears fell to Tufts in their season finale, 1-0, on October 30, but bounced back to beat the Jumbos in the NESCAC Semifinals just 11 days later, 4-2. Bowdoin fell to Middlebury, 5-4 in overtime, in a wild NESCAC Championship game last Sunday.

Bowdoin's 1-2 combo of Katie Riley and Rachel Kennedy are the second-highest scoring pair of teammates in Division III, accounting for 32 goals and 22 assists this fall for Bowdoin. Riley and Kennedy were joined by midfielder Olivia King as First Team All-NESCAC selections earlier this week. Bowdoin's offense ranks third in Division III (4.65 goals/game) their defense stands 14th (1.11 goals allowed/game) and their scoring margin (+3.52) also stands first in the nation.

The champions of the SUNYAC, New Paltz is coming off an impressive 5-2 win at William Smith on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Hawks their first-ever NCAA Tournament win. New Paltz is led offensively by Danielle Conklin, who ranks 11th in the nation in scoring (2.81 points/game). The Polar Bears played New Paltz State in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament on Ryan Field, taking a 6-1 win in the team's only meeting. Bowdoin has never faced Montclair or Mount Holyoke.