BRUNSWICK – The Bowdoin field hockey team is flashing that championship swagger again.

Bowdoin knocked off Wesleyan 2-1 in a matchup of nationally ranked teams Saturday at Ryan Field, using a dominating defense to improve to 8-0.

The Polar Bears, ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division III, also are 5-0 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Wesleyan (6-2, 3-2 NESCAC) is ranked No. 16.

Bowdoin won national titles in 2007 and 2008 but finished 10-6 last year, losing in the NESCAC semifinals.

“I feel like we’re a lot more confident this season,” said Elizabeth Clegg, a junior forward who is among 10 current players who were on one at least one of Bowdoin’s championship teams. “Every game, we know we have to come out 100 percent.”

The Polar Bears outshot Wesleyan 23-3 and converted back-to-back goals in a span of three minutes to start the second half.

Defender Ella Curren broke the scoreless tie 2:21 into the second half. She took a pass from Ingrid Oelschlager on a penalty corner and sent the ball into the net.

“It was a great goal which really set the pace for us,” said Clegg.

Clegg then scored off a rush just over two minutes later, taking a feed from Cathleen Smith to make it 2-0.

“I think they’re going to be a team to beat,” said Wesleyan Coach Patti Klecha-Porter. “They have speed, strength and nice passing.

“We needed to deny them more offensively on the penalty corners.”

Wesleyan scored six minutes later when Blair Ingraham fired in a shot from traffic in front of the net.

The goal broke goalie Emily Neilson’s scoreless streak of 353 minute, 30 seconds.

The Polar Bears’ defense held Wesleyan the rest of the way.

“We try to have a team defensive approach,” said Bowdoin Coach Nicky Pearson. “Everyone has a lot of responsibility out there and they all take that seriously.”

Despite the dominating record, Pearson, who won her 200th game at Bowdoin on Oct. 6, said she doesn’t use the team’s championship seasons as a coaching tool.

“We don’t refer to any other season. There is no comparison,” said Pearson. “Our approach is to just take it one game at a time, to consider the season a process.”

She sees this team’s speed, skill and defense-first mentality as the keys to each game.

Agreed, said Curren, who also mentioned another ingredient in the team’s success.

“We really have great team chemistry,” said Curren, a junior who won a title as a freshman. “We all work for each other out there. We work off the ball. We talk, encourage.

“It’s great chemistry.”

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]

 


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