Field Hockey To Make Run At NESCAC Title - Watch Games Live
November 2, 2006
Bowdoin College will defend its 2005 NESCAC Field Hockey crown this weekend when the Polar Bears host the 2006 NESCAC Field Hockey Championship at Ryan Field in Brunswick, Maine. Top-seeded Bowdoin will take on sixth-seeded Amherst on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 11:00 a.m. in the first semifinal, followed afterwards at 1:30 p.m. with second-seeded Middlebury squaring off against fourth-seeded Tufts. The 2006 NESCAC Field Hockey Championship will conclude on Sunday, Nov. 5, with the final beginning at 12:00 p.m.
Bowdoin (13-1, 8-1 NESCAC) finished the regular season this past Saturday tied atop the NESCAC standings with Middlebury, however the Polar Bears defeated the Panthers in the lone meeting between the two squads this season, 3-2 on Oct. 1 in Brunswick, giving Bowdoin the tiebreak advantage over Middlebury. The Polar Bears are the defending NESCAC champions, going a perfect 9-0 during the 2005 confer-ence campaign and winning both tournament games to capture their second NESCAC crown after winning the inaugural title in 2000. This season, Bowdoin's only loss came at Williams on Sept. 23, 1-0, however the Polar Bears hold an undefeated streak at home that dates back to October of 2004, a run of 18-straight victories. The Polar Bears enter the weekend having not allowed a goal in their last four contests, a streak of 289:20 scoreless minutes. Senior goalkeeper Kate Leonard (Eliot, Maine), a 2005 NESCAC All-Conference First Team selection, leads the league this season in both goals against average (0.64) and save percentage (.857), allowing only nine goals through 14 outings. As impressive as the defense has been for the Polar Bears, the offense has been cruising along averaging 2.71 goals per game. Sophomore Lindsay McNamara (Milton, Mass.) leads the NESCAC this season with 13 goals in 14 games, tallying six game-winners along the way.
Sixth-seeded Amherst (8-7, 3-6 NESCAC) made its way to the semifinals for the first time since 2003 with a 1-0 win at third-seeded Williams in the first round. The victory came only a day after the Jeffs faced the Ephs on a rain-soaked Saturday that saw Williams emerge with a 5- 1 conference win. The start of the season did not bode well for Amherst's playoff chances, as the Jeffs went 0-5 in their first five NESCAC outings, however Amherst enters the weekend as one of the hottest teams in the NESCAC having won six of its last seven games. The lone meeting between Amherst and Bowdoin in the regular season occurred in Brunswick on Sept. 30. The Jeffs held a 2-0 lead over the Polar Bears with 10 minutes remaining in the contest before a pair of Bowdoin goals sent the match into overtime, eventually ending in a 3-2 Polar Bear win. First year attacker Molly Malloy (Stamford, Conn.) has provided a boost to the Amherst offense this season, scoring a team- leading eight goals while chipping in two assists for 18 points.
Second-seeded Middlebury (13-2, 8-1 NESCAC) posted a 3-0 lead on seventh-seeded Wesleyan on Sunday in the first round before having to hold off a late charge by the Cardinals, eventually advancing to the semifinals with a 3-2 win. The Panthers have earned a spot in the field of four in each of the past six year, however they have only made it to the championship game twice, winning their lone champion-ship in 2003 by a 1-0 score over Williams. Middlebury is in the midst of another stellar season, having fallen to Bowdoin among conference opponents, and enters the weekend with wins in seven of the last eight outings. Up front for the Panthers, senior Dana Rye (Virginia Beach, Va.) and junior Reid Berrien (Westport, Conn.) will pose a challenge to any opponent hoping to contain the Middlebury offense that has averaged 2.60 goals per game. Berrien, a 2005 All-NESCAC First Team selection, leads the team with 24 points on nine goals and six assists, while Rye heads the goal-scoring list for the Panthers with 10 markers this season. The duo has combined to score nearly half of Middlebury's goals this season, and both players rank among the league leaders in multiple statistical categories.
The Panthers will take on fourth-seeded Tufts (11-4, 6-3 NESCAC) in the second semifinal on Saturday in what will be the first meeting between the two teams in the playoffs. The Jumbos made the most of their first-ever home game in the first round with a 2-1 victory over fifth- seeded Trinity on Sunday, advancing to the semifinals for the third time in tournament history. The decision extended Tufts' winning streak to five games, tying its longest streak this season, as the Jumbos are in the midst of their best season since 1998. Among the league leaders in both goals scored per game (2.27, 4th) and goals allowed (0.97, 3rd), the Jumbos appear to be peaking at the right time, having averaged three goals over their five-game streak while posting three shutouts and allowing only two goals. Rookie forward Michelle Kelly (Downingtown, Pa.) has had a breakout first year for Tufts, scoring a team-leading 10 goals that also puts her in a four-way tie for third among all conference players and first among rookies. Senior goalkeeper Marilyn Duffy-Cabana (Amesbury, Mass.) has been solid in net all season for her squad, holding a 9-4-0 record with a 0.97 goals against average and six shutouts.
The Bowdoin College Athletic Department, in conjuction with Information Technology, is planning on doing live video webcasts of every game this weekend from Ryan Field. More information will be posted later this week, but the broadcasts will be available online at "http://www.bowdoin.edu/video/athletics-live.shtml
2006 NESCAC FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP
Semifinals - Saturday, November 4 at Bowdoin
No. 6 Amherst at No. 1 Bowdoin - 11:00 a.m.
No. 4 Tufts vs. No. 2 Middlebury- 1:30 p.m.
Championship - Sunday, November 5 at Bowdoin
Semifinal winners - 12:00 p.m.