BOWDOIN COLLEGE’S Kiersten Turner (24) gets off ahsot against Colby during regular-season women’s soccer action in Brunswick.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE’S Kiersten Turner (24) gets off ahsot against Colby during regular-season women’s soccer action in Brunswick.

BRUNSWICK — The Bowdoin College field hockey team will begin pursuit of its fourth NCAA Division III Championship this weekend as the Polar Bears travel to play in a regional hosted by Montclair (N.J.) State University.

After receiving a firstround bye, the fifth-ranked Polar Bears (14-3) will face New Paltz (N.Y.) State (14-8) in a second round match at 2 p.m. Saturday. Top-ranked Montclair State will host No. 16 Mount Holyoke in an 11 a.m. contest that day. The winners will play on Sunday, November 17 for a trip to the Division III “Final Four” in Virginia the following weekend.

 

 

One of the most successful programs in NCAA Tournament history, the Polar Bears have won three NCAA Championships in the last six years — most recently the 2010 title that included this year’s senior class as first-years. This will be Bowdoin’s 11th NCAA Tournament appearance overall with the Polar Bears owning a 20-7 record, including 16 wins in their last 18 NCAA Championship matches dating back to 2007.

Last year, Bowdoin advanced to the regional finals before falling to eventual national champion Tufts 2-1.

Bowdoin has been ranked consistently in the top-five of the NFHCA Division III poll all season, and rolled of ten straight wins between Sep. 17-Oct. 26 to propel themselves as high as No. 2 in the rankings. The Polar Bears fell to Tufts in their season finale, 1-0, on Oct. 30, but bounced back to beat the Jumbos in the NESCAC Semifinals just 11 days later, 4-2. Bowdoin fell to Middlebury, 5-4 in overtime, in a wild NESCAC Championship game last Sunday.

Bowdoin’s 1-2 combo of Katie Riley and Rachel Kennedy are the secondhighest scoring pair of teammates in Division III, accounting for 32 goals and 22 assists this fall for Bowdoin. Bowdoin’s offense ranks third in Division III (4.65 goals/game) their defense stands 14th (1.11 goals allowed/game) and their scoring margin (plus- 3.52) also stands first in the nation.

The champions of the SUNYAC, New Paltz is coming off an impressive 5-2 win at William Smith on Wednesday afternoon, giving the Hawks their firstever NCAA Tournament win. New Paltz is led offensively by Danielle Conklin, who ranks 11th in the nation in scoring (2.81 points/game). The Polar Bears played New Paltz State in the opening round of the 2012 NCAA Division III Tournament on Ryan Field, taking a 6-1 win in the team’s only meeting. Bowdoin has never faced Montclair or Mount Holyoke.

Field hockey honors

Four members of the Bowdoin College field hockey team have been honored in All-Conference honors announced by the New England Small College Athletic Conference on Wednesday afternoon.

Senior co-captains Riley and Olivia King, along with Kennedy were all recognized as First Team All-NESCAC choices. Freshman Mettler Growney was named as the NESCAC’s Rookie of the Year.

The trio helped lead the Polar Bears to a runner-up finish at the 2013 NESCAC Tournament and a firstround bye in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

The 1-2 punch of Riley and Kennedy were the top scoring teammates in the NESCAC this season. Riley’s 47 points are tied for the NESCAC lead and rank fourth in a single-season in Bowdoin history. Her 15 assists lead the conference and are also fourth all-time in a year for a Polar Bear player. In her 62 career games at Bowdoin, Riley’s 41 goals rank fifth, 32 assists stand second and 114 points reside fourth in program history.

Despite missing two games due to injury, Kennedy continued her torrid goal-scoring pace with 16 goals while adding seven assists this fall. The 2012 NESCAC Rookie of the Year ranked second in the league in goals, along with Riley, and after just two campaigns already stands 10th in Bowdoin history with 32 career goals.

King netted her first First Team All-Conference honor after dominating the midfield this season for the Polar Bears. A key to Bowdoin’s high-scoring transition game, King recorded a goal and seven assists this fall for Bowdoin. She was a Second Team All-New England selection last year.

Growney made a impactful debut for Bowdoin this fall, playing in 15 matches. After starting this season off the bench, Growney has recently broken into the starting lineup for the Polar Bears. An athletic midfielder, she has recorded two goals this season, including a game-winner against Williams on Oct. 13.

Previous Bowdoin winners of the NESCAC Rookie of the Year are a who’s-who of Polar Bear field hockey, as Kennedy, (2012), Ingrid Oelschlager (2007), Taryn King (2003) and Marissa O’Neil (2001) each won the award following their debut seasons.

Fifth-ranked Bowdoin (14-3) will face New Paltz State (14-8) at Montclair State (N.J.) on Saturday in the NCAA Second Round at 2 p.m.

Volleyball

Senior co-captain Taylor Vail was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year to headline a trio of All-Conference honors Wednesday for the Bowdoin women’s volleyball team.

In addition to Vail’s honor, fellow senior co-captain Ellie Brennan and sophomore Christy Jewett were recognized as Second Team All-NESCAC selections.

Vail is the first Bowdoin player to receive Defensive Player of the Year recognition after a fantastic senior campaign. She ranked among the league leaders in digs per set (3.62) and had a .922 reception percentage this fall. With seven digs in the NESCAC Championship match against Williams, Vail became the program’s alltime leader with 1,567 digs in her career.

Brennan closed out a phenomenal career with her first All-NESCAC honor. After a 147-kill, 60-block campaign, she rounds out her career with 214 blocks, ranking fifth all-time at Bowdoin, and 761 career kills.

Jewett missed several matches due to injury, but was also among the league’s best with 3.18 kills/set, 2.35 digs/set and 33 service aces. The sophomore was a monster at the NESCAC Tournament, highlighted by a 24- kill, 16-dig performance in the semifinal win against Amherst.

Bowdoin finished the season with a record of 23-7 and ended as runners-up at the NESCAC Championship Tournament. The Polar Bears have reached the 20- win plateau in each of the last three seasons — the first time it has been done in program history.

Women’s soccer

Bowdoin will make its ninth appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament on Saturday when the Polar Bears travel to play Christopher Newport (Va.) in a First Round match hosted by Montclair (N.J.) State University.

The Polar Bears (11-3-1) will play Christopher Newport (14-3-2) at 7:30 p.m.

The game will be preceded by a First Round match between Montclair State (18- 0-1) and Colby-Sawyer (19-3- 0) at 5 p.m. Sunday’s Second Round match is slated for 5 p.m.

Montclair will not provide live video coverage of the games this weekend.

For fans in attendance, tickets will be $6 for adults and $3 for students and children.

Women’s rugby

Bowdoin will travel to Vassar College this weekend to battle in a regional round of the American Collegiate Rugby Association Division II playoffs.

The Polar Bears (8-1) will face Hamilton (6-1), the champions of the Excelsior Rugby Conference, at 2 p.m. Saturday in Pougkeepsie, N.Y.

The winner will advance to play Sunday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Stonehill and Kutztown (Pa.) game for a trip to the Divison II “Final Four” in Auburndale, Fla. on Dec. 7-8.

Champions of the New England Small College Rugby Conference, Bowdoin is on a roll, having defeated Tufts for the NESCRC crown two weeks ago, 47-12, avenging their lone loss of the season.

In the opening round of the ACRA playoffs last Saturday at Pickard Field, the Polar Bears pounded Holy Cross 54-7 to advance to this weekend’s regional round. Hamilton has just one loss this season and defeated Stony Brook University, 24- 14, in last week’s first-round match.