AMHERST, Mass. - The Bowdoin College men's soccer team will look to win its first NESCAC Championship this weekend as they travel to play unbeaten and top-seeded Amherst College in the conference semifinals on Saturday.
The fifth-seeded Polar Bears (8-3-4, 5-3-2 NESCAC) will battle the top-seeded Jeffs at 1:30 p.m. on Hitchcock Field. The first semifinal game will feature Williams and Wesleyan at 11 a.m. The winners will play for the NESCAC Championship Sunday at noon. All games will feature live video coverage.
The Polar Bears punched a ticket to the semifinals for the first time since 2009 with a dramatic penalty-kick win over Tufts last Saturday. Bowdoin first-year forward Cedric Charlier netted his fourth goal of the season in the 71st minute to break open a scoreless game. Less than ten minutes later, rookie Matt Dias Costa doubled the margin. The Jumbos scored a goal in the 87th minute and tied the contest with 37 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime, though. Following two scoreless overtime periods, the advancing team was decided on penalty kicks, as Bowdoin came out on top, 3-1.
The Polar Bears have had 13 different scorers this season with senior midfielder Zach Danssaert leading the offensive production with 17 points on five goals and seven assists. First-year Noah Safian has assumed starting goalkeeping duties over the last few weeks, posting a 0.97 goals against average. Since opening this year's campaign 1-2-2, Bowdoin has gone 7-1-2.
Amherst extended its unbeaten streak to 35 games when it handed eighth-seeded Hamilton a 4-1 setback in the quarterfinal round last Saturday. Christopher Martin has provided an instant spark for the Amherst offense, recording a team-high seven goals and four assists for 18 points. The Lord Jeff defense and sophomore goalkeeper Thomas Bull lead the NESCAC with a 0.46 goals against average. Amherst's last loss came to Stevens in the sectional semifinals of the 2011 NCAA Tournament (11/19/11).
The Jeffs turned in a 3-0 win versus the Polar Bears very early in the season on September 14. The NESCAC post-season series is even at 2-2 with the most recent meeting taking place in the 2007 semifinal, where the top-seeded Lord Jeffs defeated fifth-seeded Bowdoin, 2-1. The Polar Bears advanced over Amherst in penalty kicks in the regional semifinals of the 2010 NCAA Division III Championship in the teams' last postseason battle.
Click here [for iOS users] - or on the viewer above - to hear senior captain Ben Brewster talk about the upcoming conference tournament.