Weaver, Popolizio and Stoneman Honored, Women's Soccer Set for NCAA's

Courtesy of www.CIPhotography.com
Courtesy of www.CIPhotography.com

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin women's soccer head coach Brianne Weaver was named Co-Coach of the Year and two players netted All-conference recognition in New England Small College Athletic Conference awarded dished out on Thursday.

Bowdoin junior midfielder Molly Popolizio (Rexford, N.Y.) was named as a First Team All-NESCAC choice while classmate Becky Stoneman (Faribault, Minn.) was tabbed as a Second-Team choice.

The Polar Bears finished as runners-up in the NESCAC Tournament last week and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament where they will play Scranton in an opening-round match on Saturday at Ithaca College. See below for a preview of the regional.

A spark plug on both sides of the field, Popolizio dominated the midfield for Bowdoin this fall, recording a team-high 17 points and seven assists. Her assist total was second-best in the conference and she also scored five times for the Polar Bears. Three of her five tallies were game-winners, and all three came in crucial one-goal decisions against Brandeis, Connecticut College and Trinity.

Becky Stoneman was also recognized by the conference coaches for her efforts on the Bowdoin backline. A constant presence in all 17 outings for the Polar Bears, Stoneman was the centerpiece of a much-improved Bowdoin defense, which nearly cut its goals-against-average in half from 2011 (1.60, last in NESCAC) to 2012 (0.96, fifth in the league).

Brianne Weaver made a splash in her first campaign in Brunswick, leading a young squad to an 11-3-3 record and runner-up finish in the NESCAC this fall after a 6-6-3 campaign last year. This week, the Polar Bears made their debut in the NSCAA Division III National Coaches poll, as they cracked the rankings at #24. Bowdoin will be making its first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance since 2007 when they play on Saturday afternoon.

NCAA Regional Preview
The Polar Bears will be in uncharted territory this weekend in Ithaca. Bowdoin, in its seven previous NCAA appearances, has not played a tournament game outside of New England. The Polar Bears will play Scranton (9-7-4), who won its third straight Landmark Conference championship with a 2-0 win over Moravian on Sunday. This will be Scranton's third straight NCAA appearance and 14th overall. Match time is set for 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner will play the victor of the Ithaca-UMass Boston contest on Sunday in the second round at 1:30 p.m.

Ithaca will provide live radio coverage and live stats coverage of all of the weekend games. Click the links above to follow the action on the web.

The Polar Bears will be looking for their second NCAA victory, with the program's lone national tournament victory coming in the opening round against Framingham State in 1999. The Polar Bears have never faced Scranton, but did play Ithaca in the opening round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament, falling 2-0 to the Bombers. Despite the proximity of the teams, Bowdoin and UMass Boston have never played.

The complete NCAA Tournament bracket is available here: