No. 1 Bowdoin ends field hockey’s season

Bowdoin challenged field hockey on Saturday, as Williams faced off against the undefeated, top-seeded team in the semifinal round of the NESCAC tournament. The strong Bowdoin squad controlled much of the game and claimed the win, 2-1. After topping the Ephs, the Polar Bears won the NESCAC title the next day, beating the Panthers, 3-1.

Williams entered Saturday’s game coming off of back-to-back wins over Amherst the week before. But the Ephs did not let their winning streak go to their heads. They understood the strength of the Bowdoin squad and the challenges they would face against the tournament’s host team. “Bowdoin is a very talented team, so we knew that we would have to play our best game of the season in order to win,” Meighan McGowan ’09 said. “We were confident that if we played to our potential that the game was ours.”

The game began in Bowdoin’s favor, as the Polar Bears immediately claimed control of the ball. Williams tried to keep up but could not compete with Bowdoin’s strong passing game and impeccable teamwork. Despite the Polar Bears’ strong offensive play, the Eph defense held strong, preventing any of Bowdoin’s 11 shots on goal or nine penalty corners to convert into scores. Goalie Bethany Baker ’10 made four saves in the first half.

Just a few minutes into the second half, Bowdoin got on the scoreboard as Polar Bear Lindsay McNamara scored on a fast break. Twenty minutes later the Polar Bears added an insurance goal when Meaghan Maguire stroked in a cross from Kate Gromley. The Ephs responded with a late goal scored by Arianna Kourides ’09. With the score 2-1 and a minute to go, Williams could not rally for another goal and Bowdoin advanced to the NESCAC championship game.

While Baker made nine saves on the day, the Polar Bears dominated the game outshooting the Ephs 23-3. Bowdoin’s pressure in the circle led to 16 penalty corners compared to Williams’ two. Ultimately, Bowdoin’s ability to control and keep possession of the ball was most challenging for Williams. “Their passing game is unbelievable and we weren’t able to disrupt that, which really hurt us,” McGowan said. “Offensively, we struggled to advance the ball and only had two corners to Bowdoin’s 16 – so we had very few opportunities to score.”

After ending Williams’ season, Bowdoin advanced to the final round of NESCACs where the team claimed its third-straight conference title.

The Ephs’ final game finished a season of noteworthy accomplishments as well as disappointments. “Beating Amherst consecutive days was probably the biggest accomplishment of our season, because we avenged our lost to Amherst in the first round of NESCACs last year,” McGowan said.

While field hockey is proud of its winning season and its vengeance of Amherst, the team cannot help but criticize its failure to score and work as a team in many games this season. “We’re pretty disappointed with the season – we struggled to play as a team on a consistent basis,” McGowan said. Despite its struggles, field hockey challenged all of its opponents this season with its aggressive play and strong leadership.

Guiding the team with their leadership and experience, K.K. Krieg ’08, Carolina Jolly ’08, Charlotte VanWagenen ’08 and Cary Bearn ’08 concluded their collegiate field hockey careers on Saturday. “The seniors, Charlotte, Cary, K.K. and Carolina, were all dedicated to this team and provided unbelievable leadership all year and will be greatly missed,” McGowan said.

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