Women's Soccer Survives Penalty Kicks, Advances in NCAA Tournament

Bowdoin first-year goaltender Bridget McCarthy made a clutch save in penalty kicks and made seven total saves in the game
Bowdoin first-year goaltender Bridget McCarthy made a clutch save in penalty kicks and made seven total saves in the game

 ITHACA, N.Y. – The Bowdoin College women's soccer team (11-3-4) earned a trip to the NCAA regional finals with a 5-3 edge in penalty kicks over Scranton (9-7-5) on Saturday.

The teams were knotted 0-0 after 110 minutes of competition in the first round of the NCAA Tournament hosted by Ithaca at Carp Wood Field. 24th-ranked Bowdoin will advance to play the host sixth-ranked Bombers at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. Ithaca defeated UMass Boston, 5-1, in the other regional semifinal.

Making their 8th NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2007, thme Polar Bears were a perfect 5-for-5 in penalty kicks to seal the victory. It is the first time Bowdoin has advanced in the NCAA Tournament since 1999. It was the third consecutive game that the Polar Bears had decided in PK's.

Both teams made good on their first three penalty kicks. Bowdoin converted on its fourth before its keeper, freshman Bridget McCarthy, made a diving save to the left side of goal to preserve the edge. Sophomore Alexa Yurick converted on the fifth and final PK firing a shot into the lower right corner of goal to decide who would advance.

The Polar Bears held a slight 14-10 gap in shots, while both squads were deadlocked 3-3 in corner kicks.

Scranton led the shot count, 3-1, in the first frame as the majority of chances came in the second stint. The Royals' Sydney Parker laced a shot from 18 yards out in the 24th minute that flew just high and right of goal.

Bowdoin, who held a 10-6 advantage in shots in the latter half, surged early in the second. At 65:51 senior Toni DaCampo rifled a shot wide right of goal after recovering a loose ball during a scramble in the box.

With regulation winding down, DaCampo put one on goal. Scranton keeper, junior Kelsy McAnelly, made a stop but lost control of the ball allowing Bowdoin junior Molly Popolizio to get a shot off. Popolizio's shot soared high of the cage.

The teams combined for three corner kicks and four shots in the waning seven minutes of regulation, but neither could convert. The Polar Bears outshot the Royals, 3-1, in the two overtime periods, but the game was forced to penalty kicks with a 0-0 deadlock in place after 110 minutes of play. McCarthy made seven huge saves in the contest, which is recorded officially as a tie.

Making its 14th NCAA appearance, and third consecutive, Scranton played its seventh OT game of 2012. It was just the third time this season Bowdoin was held scoreless.

Fans can follow tomorrow's game via live statistics (http://www.sidearmstats.com/ithaca/wsoc/scoreboard.aspx) and an audio broadcast (http://www.vicradio.org/). The Polar Bears will be looking for their first-ever trip to the "Sweet Sixteen" of the Division III Women's Soccer Championship.