NORFOLK, Va. — On the strength of a Rachel Kennedy goal early in the second half, and a strong defense, the Bowdoin College field hockey claimed its fourth NCAA Division III title in the last seven years with a 1-0 win over Salisbury on Sunday.
The Polar Bears, who last claimed the title in 2010, finish at 18-3 and improve to 4-0 all-time in NCAA finals. The Sea Gulls finish at 17-4.
Bowdoin’s Katie Riley, Rachel Kennedy and Mettler Growney all earned All-Tournament honors, while senior midfielder Olivia King was named tourney MVP.
Bowdoin solved the Salisbury defense just 1:51 into the second half. Colleen Finnerty carried the ball from the backfield up the left sideline and got off a quick shot from just inside the circle. Salisbury’s Rachel Clewer stopped the ball, but left the rebound loose in front of the net, where Kennedy was able to step in and connect with the right corner of the cage to put Bowdoin on top 1-0.
Salisbury responded with pressure, working down the field and earning a corner. A straight shot from the top of the circle bounced up and off the body of a Salisbury player across the goal line, before Finnerty could bat it back out. Initially ruled a goal, the referees retracted the call and awarded Salisbury another corner, but the Sea Gulls couldn’t convert.
Bowdoin was forced to play without both Growney and King after the pair earned five-minute yellow cards within 50 seconds of each other. Salisbury’s last scoring threat came at 12:35 as Bowdoin allowed another Sea Gulls’ pass to skip across the circle untouched. The Polar Bears were able to maintain possession over the final two minutes of play and secure the national title.
Bowdoin outshot Salisbury 14-2.
Bowdoin has now won 20 of their last 22 NCAA Tournament matches dating back to 2007.