AMHERST, Mass. – A goal from Kathryn Nathan 85 seconds into overtime led top-seeded Amherst to a 3-2 win against eighth-seeded Bowdoin on Saturday on a snow-covered Hitchcock Field in the opening round of the NESCAC Championship.
Amherst improves to 15-0-0 and will take on fifth-seeded Wesleyan next Saturday, while Bowdoin’s season comes to a close at 6-6-3. The Lord Jeffs will host the final two rounds of the tournament, with semifinal action set for Saturday, Nov. 5, followed by the championship game on Sunday, Nov. 6.
Saturday marked the second time this season Nathan has scored against Bowdoin in extra time, as she netted the winner on a penalty kick during a 2-1 double-overtime result earlier in the year. Ellery Gould, who scored against the Jeffs in the regular-season meeting, had two goals on Saturday.
Amherst — ranked eighth in the latest NSCAA national poll — increased its program-record winning streak to 15 games and has now ended Bowdoin’s season in back-to-back years, knocking out the Polar Bears in the 2010 quarterfinals with a 3-2 result.
The Jeffs needed only 3:16 to get on the board, as Mel Stier delivered a cross from the left side and found Sarah Duffy, who beat Bowdoin goalie Maddie Lane for her team-leading 13th goal of the season.
The hosts pushed their lead to 2-0 less than five minutes later. After Chloe McKenzie had her shot blocked, Stier collected the rebound, dribbled past a Bowdoin defender and ripped a shot by Lane with 37:00 showing on the clock.
|Other NESCAC Tournament Results|
|No. 2 Middlebury 2, No. 7 Colby 0|
|No. 3 Williams 1, No. 6 Hamilton 1 (WC wins 5-4 in PKs)|
|No. 5 Wesleyan 1, No. 4 Tufts 1 (WU wins 5-3 in PKs)|
|• Conference Championship Central|
With the field covered in heavy snow and players struggling to put together significant sequences on offense, Amherst’s 2-0 lead seemed to be insurmountable. However, with less than two minutes to play in the opening half Bowdoin got a new life when the Jeffs were whistled for a foul in the box. Gould lined up for the penalty shot and beat Amherst keeper Allie Horwitz, making it a 2-1 game with only 1:49 to go.
Gould again overcame the poor field conditions when she dribbled to just inside the 18 and got her shot past a crowd of defenders and by Horwitz, knotting the score at 2-2 with 34:20 remaining in regulation.
Bowdoin’s Celeste Swain nearly put her team ahead late in the half but was denied on a point-blank save by Horwitz, while a shot by Duffy with four minutes to play bounced off the crossbar. Each team had a goal called back in the final 10 minutes, creating a thrilling atmosphere heading into overtime as workers and refs shoveled various areas of the field.
Nathan needed two overtime periods to find the winner against Bowdoin earlier in the season, but she wasted no time closing things out this time around, as her goal 1:25 into the first extra session put an end to an entertaining quarterfinal matchup.
Amherst held a 22-8 edge in shots, as Lane made two saves for Bowdoin and Horwitz stopped three shots for the Lord Jeffs.