NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – Cathleen Smith had two goals and three assists as Bowdoin College rolled to a 5-0 win Saturday against Skidmore to advance to the NCAA Division III field hockey championship game.

The Polar Bears (19-1) will try to win their third national title in four years when they play Messiah (19-2) at 1 p.m. today on Captains Field at Christopher Newport University.

“The players are so excited to have won (Saturday) and be playing in the finals,” said Bowdoin Coach Nicky Pearson. “They’re well aware Messiah is a very talented team and that they’re going to have to play better than they did (Saturday) to win it all.”

Messiah, from Grantham, Pa., advanced to the national final for the eighth time by cruising to a 5-0 win against Ursinus in Saturday’s other semifinal on the turf field at Christopher Newport.

Bowdoin won the national title in 2007 and 2008. On Saturday, the Polar Bears led nearly from the start, as Smith pushed a touch pass from Katie Herter into the cage less than three minutes into the game.

“It was important for a lot of reasons for us to come and score,” Pearson said. “It gave us a lot of confidence, and I think it settled the nerves of all our players, particularly the younger players.”

The Polar Bears scored four goals over a span of 20 minutes during the second half to put the game out of reach.

Herter scored two goals to bring her season’s total to a team-high 20. Smith, who now has 12 goals, got her second of the game, and Olivia King also scored.

Bowdoin held an 18-12 edge in shots, while the Thoroughbreds (20-2) had a 16-10 advantage in penalty corners.

“We got a good scouting report, so we did know what some of their options were,” Pearson said, “All the credit goes to our defensive corner group. They worked very hard. They blocked a lot of shots. They hurried a lot of opportunities. Our goalkeeper made some crucial saves, so full credit to that group.”

Emily Neilson made nine saves as Bowdoin posted its 14th shutout of the season.