BRUNSWICK, Maine - Rachel Kennedy scored three times as the Bowdoin College field hockey team secured the top seed for the NESCAC Tournament with a 4-0 win over Tufts on Wednesday night.
In a battle of the last two Division III champions, the second-ranked Polar Bears (14-1, 9-1 NESCAC) gained the NESCAC's top seed for the first time since 2011. They will host Hamilton on Saturday in a NESCAC Quarterfinal game at Ryan Field. Game time will be announced on Thursday.
Ninth-ranked Tufts will be the fifth seed for the conference tournament and will travel to play fourth-seeded Amherst in the opening round Saturday.
Kennedy continued her hot play, racking up her fourth hat trick in the last six matches. The junior has scored 19 goals in the last seven games for Bowdoin.
Earning a corner just over five minutes into the first frame, the Polar Bears took a quick 1-0 lead off Kennedy's first goal of the evening. With Colleen Finnerty set at the top of the circle to receive and drive a hard shot on net, Kennedy snuck her stick just in front of Bri Keenan's left foot to deflect the ball into Tufts' cage. Kennedy tallied her second of the half ten minutes later, collecting a loose ball in the circle, and flipping a backhanded shot inside the right post. The junior forward completed her hat trick by finishing off a feed from Adrienne O'Donnell, cutting along the end line just five minutes later to give the hosts a 3-0 lead at halftime.
Juliana Fiore picked up her third goal in the last two games to put Bowdoin ahead 4-0 six minutes into the second half. As the ball crossed the circle, cleared away from a pack of players on the right side, Fiore one-timed a sweep that beat Keenan on her blocker side.
Fiore stopped six shots for the Jumbos. Hannah Gartner made three saves for the Polar Bears. Bowdoin held a 12-5 advantage in shots and 8-5 lead on penalty corners.