BRUNSWICK, Maine November 13, 2005 - The Bowdoin College field hockey team will take their perfect season on the road to Lexington, Virginia, as the Polar Bears defeated Springfield College in the third-round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Sunday, 5-0. The Polar Bears (18-0), Division III's only unbeaten team, are ranked fourth in the nation and advance to the NCAA Championship weekend next Friday and Saturday at Washington and Lee University. Springfield ends their season with a record of 21-3.
Bowdoin will take on Messiah in their first-ever NCAA Semifinal appearance at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 18. The winner of that contest will play in the NCAA Championship Game on Saturday, November 19.
Early pressure by the Polar Bears resulted in a great chance five minutes into the contest. A ball played to the middle by Taryn King found the stick of Christi Gannon on the doorstep, but a stellar defensive stop by the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Rookie of the Year, Jillian Urtz (Verona, N.Y.), kept the game scoreless. Moments later, however, Bowdoin took advantage of a crossing pass from Abby Daley on the wing. Burgess LePage redirected the cross into the back of the net, giving the Polar Bears a 1-0 lead at 29:16 of the opening frame.
SC (21-3) answered with a flurry of chances, including a redirected shot from senior forward Sarah Brooker (Auburn, Maine) that sailed just wide of the cage for the Pride. Bowdoin countered with a corner opportunity minutes later, as a shot from the wing by LePage was redirected by Lindsay McNamara into the net for a 2-0 Polar Bear lead at 17:11. With 15 minutes left in the frame, Jaclyn Galligan kept it from becoming a three-goal game, stopping a Polar Bear shot from the middle of the circle.
The Pride had a great chance to get to get one back before intermission off a penalty corner. A shot from Brooker went wide of the goal, however, and Bowdoin maintained their two-goal lead heading into halftime.
Taryn King continued the Bowdoin onslaught just minutes into the second frame. The NESCAC's Player of the Year collected a loose ball, took it to the center of the circle and backhanded it into the goal from eight yards to give Bowdoin a three-goal edge with 32:46 left. Bowdoin sealed the win later in the period, as Hillary Hoffman put home a loose ball on the doorstep at 15:32 to make it 4-0 Polar Bears. Hoffman added another tally at 7:15 to close out the scoring.
Polar Bear Kate Leonard has not allowed a goal in her last 322 minutes of play and made nine saves in 63 minutes of action on Sunday. Emileigh Mercer stopped four shots in the closing minutes for Bowdoin. Springfield's Emma Kaplan stopped five shots on the afternoon.
The Bowdoin victory avenges two prior NCAA Tournament losses to the Pride, who ended the Polar Bears' season in 1999 and 2000 in postseason play. The Polar Bears are riding a 18-game winning streak, the longest in Division III.