BRUNSWICK, Maine – Defending champions and top-seeded Bowdoin College proved to be too much for the No. 20 ranked MIT field hockey team, as Tech's season came to an end with a 3-0 loss in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals on Sunday afternoon. The Polar Bears used a pair of second-half tallies to pull away from the Engineers, who had advanced to the national quarterfinals for the first time in program history and established a new Institute mark for wins in a season (19-4).
Bowdoin will advance to the NCAA Final Four, to be held next weekend at Nichols College in Dudley, Mass., looking to earn its fourth national title in five years.
The Cardinal and Gray hung tough with the Polar Bears for much of the first half, despite a 9-3 edge in shots for the hosts during the frame. In the 26th minute, Bowdoin earned one of its three first-half penalty corners and would capitalize for the game's first tally. Ella Curren (Roxbury, Conn.) took a shot from the left side of the circle and Cathleen Smith (Larchmont, N.Y.) was in position to tip the ball in past Tech goalkeeper Casey Landry (Peabody, Mass.) for the 1-0 lead.
That score would hold up into the break, despite a couple of late chances for Tech. Molly Duffy (New Providence, N.J.) nearly found the back of the net with just over a minute and a half to go but was denied on a defensive save by Kassey Matoin (Springvale, Maine). The Engineers earned a corner right after that but Katie Kauffman's (Olney, Md.) shot was denied by goalie Kayla Lessard (Enfield, Conn.).
Bowdoin nearly increased its lead early in the second half but Jenna Klein (Parma, Ohio) made five of her 10 saves over an eight minute stretch, including three in a row, to preserve the 1-0 spread.
The Polar Bears finally broke through midway through the period to double their lead. After Klein made a stop on an initial penalty corner shot, Elizabeth Clegg (Hudson, Ohio) found Katie Riley (Hingham, Mass.), who deposited the ball into the back of the net for the 2-0 advantage.
Clegg added an insurance marker on a tip-in with just over 10 minutes to play.
Bowdoin (19-0) held a 23-7 advantage in shots for the game, as the Tech goalkeepers, Landry and Klein, combined for 12 saves. Lessard made three stops in net for the Polar Bears.
The game marks the end of the fantastic careers for seniors Kauffman, Kameron Klauber (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Anna Teruya (Hockessin, Del.), who helped MIT win a pair of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championships and earn two NCAA tournament bids while winning 58 games over the past four seasons. Despite losing, the excellent leadership of its senior class, Tech will return a great deal of talent in 2012, including junior co-captain Molly McShane (Lake Bluff, Ill.) and second-leading scorer Duffy.
Bowdoin will face off against fellow New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) foe, Middlebury College, in the semis next Saturday, November 19.