GENEVA, N.Y. – Bowdoin advanced to the third round of the NCAA Division III Tournament with a 3-1 victory against MIT on Saturday at William Smith.
The Polar Bears (16-3) advance to the regional finals for the seventh time in the past eight years and will take on Tufts University, a 4-2 victor against William Smith, for a trip to the Division III Final Four on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. MIT finishes its season with a record of 17-3 and has its season come to an end in the NCAA’s against the Polar Bears for the second consecutive year.
Bowdoin’s first goal came from a familiar pairing off of the Polar Bears’ second penalty corner of the afternoon. Brooke Phinney ripped a shot from the top of the circle that Cathleen Smith redirected through a crowd at 23:05 to give the Polar Bears an early lead. MIT evened the score with 17 minutes remaining in the period as Molly Duffy snuck behind the Bowdoin defense and tapped the ball past charging Polar Bear goaltender Kayla Lessard to make it 1-1.
The Polar Bears regained the lead five minutes before halftime, as Phinney blasted a low drive off a penalty corner inside the left post. Bowdoin added to its margin with 1:03 remaining in the period as Katie Riley centered a pass to Colleen Finnerty, who notched her first goal of the season with a low blast to give the Polar Bears a 3-1 lead at intermission.
MIT had the first great chance of the second half, as an entry pass was redirected in front by Kimberly Barker. Lessard made a diving stop to maintain the two-goal lead and made a nice pad save on the ensuing penalty corner to keep it 3-1 in favor of the Polar Bears.
Bowdoin made a bid to extend its lead with 20 minutes left, but MIT defender Michelle Dion swept the ball of the line for a defensive save to preserve the two-goal deficit. The Polar Bears continued to control possession and kept the ball in their offensive zone for the majority of the remaining time, finishing with a 15-2 edge in second-half shots and 26-4 advantage overall.
Kayla Lessard stopped two shots for the Polar Bears while Jenna Klein made eight saves for the Engineers.
Sunday’s regional final will be the third meeting between Tufts and Bowdoin in the span of 17 days. The Jumbos defeated Bowdoin 3-1 in the regular season finale on Oct. 24 before the Polar Bears bounced back in a 4-1 win in the NESCAC semifinals last Saturday. Bowdoin is 16-1 in their past 17 NCAA Tournament games and last met Tufts in the NCAA Tournament in the 2008 final, won in overtime by the Polar Bears.