LEXINGTON, Va. – The Bowdoin field hockey team defeated Ursinus 4-2 in the NCAA semifinals Saturday afternoon to punch their third consecutive ticket to the national championship game.
The top-ranked Polar Bears improve to 21-0 on the season while eliminating Ursinus (19-4). The last time the two teams met was in the 2008 NCAA semifinals, with the Polar Bears taking a 3-2 victory.
Bowdoin will battle conference rival Middlebury for the NCAA Division III Championship on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Polar Bears won the championship in 2013 (1-0 vs. Salisbury) and lost in the final in 2014 (2-0 vs. TCNJ).
How It Happened
- The Polar Bears broke through with just under ten to play in the opening half, converting on a penalty corner. Mettler Growney inserted up to Emily McColgan who drew the fly before slipping a pass towards the center of the circle where Kelsey Mullaney waited for a feed. Mullaney teed up a drive from five feet inside the circle and put Bowdoin on the board at 9:29.
- A goal from Nicole Barbieri with 4:26 remaining in the first half doubled Bowdoin's lead. Rachel Kennedy started the play as she worked the ball down the center of the field and broke through a pair of defenders, drawing Danielle DeSpirito towards stroke, and dished a pass right to Barbieri. Barbieri capitalized on her open look and gave the Polar Bears a 2-0 lead.
- After facing increased pressure from Ursinus to open the second half, Bowdoin added a third goal 11:15 into the frame. Mullaney took a direct shot off the corner insert, with DeSpirito making a save, but Kennedy waited on the doorstep to put away the rebound.
- Following a Bowdoin green card, the Bears earned a corner but were unable to convert as Kim Kahnweiler blocked the direct shot from Megan Keenan.
- Ursinus eventually broke through with deflection goal from Ann Kopera. Following a corner, the ball got popped up as it cross the goal face, where Kopera waited on the right post to connect with the airborne ball.
- Bowdoin regained its three goal lead off another Kennedy score with ten minutes remaining. Following the corner insert, McColgan passed to Mullaney who took another shot from the top. Kennedy waited a few steps up from the left post and deflected the drive into Ursinus' net for the team's fourth.
- Ursinus tallied one final goal with under five minutes remaining in the game off a solo effort from Amber Steigerwalt. The junior split a pair of Bowdoin defenders coming down the right side into the circle and swept a shot to the opposite post.
- Bowdoin outshot Ursinus 21-12 with a 13-8 edge in penalty corners. DeSpirito made six saves while Clara Belitz made seven saves for the Polar Bears.
- Bowdoin advances to its third consecutive NCAA Championship game tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against familiar foe Middlebury
- The Polar Bears and Panthers have played twice already this season with Bowdoin winning the regular season meeting and the NESCAC final both by 2-1 scores
- It will be the second time the teams have met in the NCAA Championship, with Bowdoin completing a perfect season in a 4-3 triumph over Middlebury in 2007 title match