GENEVA, N.Y. – Bowdoin’s hopes for another berth in the NCAA Division III field hockey Final Four ended Sunday against a familiar rival.
Facing Tufts for the third time in 18 days, the Polar Bears allowed two goals on penalty corners in the second half and fell 2-1 in a quarterfinal at William Smith College.
Tufts (17-2), which beat Bowdoin (16-4) in the final game of the regular season but lost to the Polar Bears in the New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinals, took the lead when freshman Dakota Sikes-Keilp scored with 8:30 remaining.
“That’s how it was decided, on penalty corners,” said veteran Bowdoin Coach Nicky Pearson, who has directed her team to five Final Four appearances since 2005. “They executed them, and we didn’t. That was the whole game.”
Said junior midfielder Lauren Schroeder, “Tufts played really well today. I think the ball kind of bounced their way.”
At first, however, it was the Polar Bears who benefited from favorable caroms, which allowed them to grab 1-0 halftime lead on Schroeder’s goal at 10:27.
Moments earlier, Bowdoin dodged a bullet during a Jumbos penalty corner when Lia Sagerman had an open cage but banked her shot off the right post.
Bowdoin then earned a penalty corner of its own, and when the ball ricocheted off Katie Riley and bounced high in the goal area, Schroeder barged toward the net and popped in the still-airborne ball.
“I would say it was really Katie’s goal,” said Schroeder. “I went up and tapped it in. The goalie (Brianna Keenan) batted it down, and I was just there.”
Kassey Matoin had a chance to add to the lead with 2:31 remaining in the half when she was awarded a penalty stroke. Matoin, a former standout at Sanford High, fired for the lower left corner, but Keenan dove and knocked the ball away with her stick.
“If we had gone up 2-0 at that point,” said Pearson, “it might have been a different game. I think that was pretty crucial, (especially) going into the half.”
Phinney had a scoring chance early in the second half, but her shot from the circle was stopped at the goal line by Tufts defender Rachel Gerhardt.
Then, at 15:28, Gerhardt set up the tying goal, which was redirected in by Chelsea Yogerst.
Tufts kept pressing, and Sikes-Keilp broke the deadlock. She was left unguarded in front of Bowdoin goalie Kayla Lessard and spun around for a shot inside the right post.
The Polar Bears mounted a comeback attempt and had three penalty corners in the final four minutes, including one after time had expired.
However, their hopes died out when Phinney was unable to get a shot through the Tufts defense.
“Everyone went out really hard with no regrets,” said Schroeder. “That’s all you can ask.”