Field Hockey Scores Four Unanswered Goals to Top Tufts in NESCAC Semifinals

Molly Paduda had an assist in Saturday's win (photo courtesy of Will Costello)
Molly Paduda had an assist in Saturday's win (photo courtesy of Will Costello)

MIDDLEBURY, Vermont – The Bowdoin College field hockey team scored four first half goals and advanced to the NESCAC Championship game with a 4-1 win over Tufts (14-2) on Middlebury College's Kohn Field.

The Polar Bears (14-2) avenge a 3-1 loss to the Jumbos on Oct. 24th, snapping the team's 14-game winning streak. Bowdoin will take on Middlebury, a 3-2 overtime winner over Amherst, in the title game at noon on Sunday.

Tufts took a 1-0 lead 4:18 into the game, with a blast from just inside the circle from Kelsey Perkins, her ninth of the season. Bowdoin answered just 1:24 later when Katie Riley scored her 13th of the year after a flurry of shots. Kim Kahnweiler saw her original shot stopped by Brianne Keenan, before Rachel Gerhardt made a defensive save on a shot from Rachel Kennedy. Riley was there to quickly pounce on the rebound to tie the game at 1-1.

The Polar Bears then scored twice in a 1:52 span to take a 3-1 lead. Following a penalty corner, Molly Paduda sent a pass to Lauren Schroeder, who scored her second of the season with a sweeping shot. Riley was later denied on another defensive save from Gerhadt, before Kennedy scored on the rebound for the two-goal advantage.

Bowdoin struck again at the 24:14 mark, with Kennedy tying Riley for the team-lead with her 13th of the season. Smith's original shot was saved by Keenan, before Riley captalized on the rebound.

Play settled down in the second half, with Tufts holding a 4-1 shots advantage after a 10-9 edge in the first half. Nine of Bowdoin's 10 shots in the game were on goal, including all nine in the first half.

Bowdoin looked to extend its lead in the 62nd minute when Adrienne O'Donnell came in all alone on a breakaway. Keenan came way out of the net for the Jumbos, breaking up the play just inside the circle.

Niether team would find the back of the cage the rest of the way, with Bowdoin coming away with the 4-1 win. Kayla Lessard made seven saves in goal to earn the win for the Polar Bears, while Keenan made three stops for the Jumbos.

The Polar Bears will be looking for their seventh NESCAC crown in the last eight years on Sunday. Bowdoin defeated Middlebury on three of those occasions for the title. The Polar Bears are 23-5 all-time in NESCAC Tournament play.