Williamstown, MA- An own goal in the fifteenth minute was the difference in a 1-0 win for Bowdoin College over Trinity College in the second NESCAC semifinal today. Bowdoin, whose 7-3 conference record in the regular season earned them the number two seed in the NESCAC tournament, will play top seed and host Williams College tomorrow for the NESCAC championship. Williams topped sixth seed Middlebury College 2-1 in the first game of the day. After the loss, Trinity will be forced to wait and see if their 11-5 regular season record will be enough to earn them a bid into the NCAA Division III women's soccer tournament.
Both teams played host in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament last weekend. Bowdoin cruised to a 3-0 win over Tufts while Trinity grinded out a 2-1 victory over Bates, setting up today's matchup, which would not have happened had Middlebury not upset third seeded Amherst College last weekend. As it is, the NESCAC does not follow a bracket format, rather the highest remaining seed plays the lowest remaining seed after the first round.
The regular season game between Bowdoin and Trinity was also extremely competitive. Trinity walked off their home field with a 1-0 win after a goal in the 81st minute from freshman midfielder Caroline McKenna. Strong defensive efforts on both sides of the ball highlighted the postseason meeting as well, with Bowdoin receiving the fortunate bounces when they mattered most.
Bowdoin controlled play in the early going, putting Trinity on their heels and resigning the Bantams to look desperately for counter attacks to halt the Bowdoin assault. Intricate passing in the final third was crucial to the offensive success that Bowdoin had on the day, leading to the only goal scored in the contest. A ball played to the right flank found the foot of Bowdoin junior Evan Fencik, who sent a cross directly in front of the goal where it was misplayed by Trinity keeper Monica DiFiori. DiFiori was able to bounce back from giving up a goal, making all the necessary plays to keep her team within striking distance for the rest of the game. The remaining minutes of the first half went by with neither side able to generate dangerous scoring chances, though both were able to put shots on target from long distance. The attacking duo of senior Jamie Hofstetter and freshman Julia Patterson helped the Polar Bears to control possession in Trinity's defensive half. On the other side, the Bantams were content to hit searching long balls toward their target striker, junior Andi Nicholson. Both back lines made sure that the respective offensive strategies were unsuccessful.
The first fifteen minutes of the second half contained the most consistent offensive pressure from Trinity, who recorded three shots during the stretch. Only one of these forced a save from Bowdoin keeper Bridget McCarthy, constituting half of the total amount of saves she made in the game. Bowdoin held strong while Trinity ramped up the pressure, and were eventually able to swing the momentum back to their favor with sustained possession in the Trinity half. As time ticked away, the sense of urgency from trinity became more apparent, eventually forcing the Bantams to put an extra attacking player on the field and play with three defenders. A corner kick with one minute remaining was the last desperate effort for Trinity, but again the Bowdoin defense was up to the task.
Bowdoin lost its regular season matchup against Williams, which was at Bowdoin back in September. Williams needed overtime and a game winning goal from star forward Audrey Thomas before that game was resolved. Another competitive contest is anticipated tomorrow. Play will begin at 12:00 PM in front of a home crowd in support of the Ephs.