Jumbos Nearly Knock Off No. 1 Bowdoin in Rainy Conclusion to Regular Season

Dominique Zarrella scored twice for the Jumbos against Bowdoin.

MEDFORD – Under the lights and a steady downpour the No. 1 Bowdoin field hockey team got a penalty stroke goal from senior Rachel Kennedy with 3:04 left on the clock to give the Polar Bears a 4-3 win over the No. 15 Tufts field hockey team at Bello Field Wednesday night.  The game wraps up the regular season for both teams who will begin play in the conference tournament on Saturday.  

The Jumbos (10-5, 7-3 NESCAC) got two goals from junior tri-captain Dominique Zarrella, as they scored more goals against Bowdoin than any other team this year.  The Polar Bears finish the regular season with a perfect, 15-0 record overall and 10-0 in conference play.

With the win Bowdoin head coach Nicky Pearson picks up her 300th career win.  She is now the 16th coach in Division III history to reach that plateau.  In her 20th season at Bowdoin, she owns a 300-57 career record.

Bowdoin struck first as Kim Kahnweiler found the back of the net just 2:11 into play to give the Polar Bears a 1-0 lead.  The goal was the result of a penalty corner that was inserted by Mettler Growny.  

The Jumbos tied the score just over twelve minutes into the first half when Zarrella scored her first of the evening.  The Jumbos drew a penalty corner and senior tri-captain Maggie Chapman inserted the ball to classmate Dakota Sikes-Keilp who fired a shot at the net that Zarrella was able to deflect in for her eighth of the season.

The two teams would both apply some offensive pressure for the duration of the first half, but the score would be locked at one at halftime.  Bowdoin opened scoring in the second period as well, and didn't take long to do it.  Just over one minute into play the Polar Bears got the ball in front of the Jumbo goal, and in the commotion of all the players in front of the net Liz Znamierowski was able to sneak the ball past Jumbo goalie Emily Polinkski to give the visitors the 2-1 advantage.  Kimmy Ganong was credited with her sixth assist of the season on the goal.

Just over 50 seconds later the Polar Bears would have another opportunity to score when Rachel Kennedy had a break away opportunity and Polinski came out of the net trying to beat her.  Kennedy sent a soft shot towards the goal that junior Elle Chrupcala was able to knock out of the way to pick up a defensive save.

The Jumbos tied the game just over ten minutes into the second half on a goal that looked nearly identical to their first.  As a result of a penalty corner, Chapman inserted to Sikes-Keilp who sent it over to Chrupcala, who unleashed a shot that Zarrella was able to deflect in for her second of the evening.

With just under 15 minutes left in the period the Jumbos took the lead.  Once again the Jumbos drew a penalty corner and Chapman inserted to Sikes-Keilp who dished the ball over to Chrupcala.  This time the junior didn't need her teammates help, as Chrupcala got the ball past Bowdoin keeper Clara Belitz to give the Jumbos the 3-2 advantage with just about ten minutes left in the game.

About two minutes later Bowdoin had a great opportunity to score when they had a break away opportunity.  Polinski came out of the goal and deflected the shot of Emily McColgan to pick up a save, and then stopped two more off the stick of Rachel Kennedy, diving to the ground to keep the Polar Bears from tying the game.

However, a minute later the Polar Bears were able to tie the game when McColgan got her own rebound and was able to fire it into the upper left corner just over the shoulder of Polinski to knot the game at three.

The two teams would play for another four plus minutes with the score tied before the Polar Bears took the lead.  With just over three minutes left on the clock Ganong unleashed a shot and junior Nicole Arata was awarded a defensive save.  But, she stopped the ball with her body, granting Bowdoin a penalty stroke.

Kennedy took the stroke for the visitors and fired a shot into the left corner that just snuck past a diving Polinski to give the Polar Bears the 4-3 advantage with little time remaining.  Bowdoin was able to hold on to the 4-3 lead to secure the win.

The Polar Bears finished with the advantage in shots, 24-9, and penalty corners, 15-6.  Belitz picked up her 15th win of the season making two saves.  Polinski recorded a career-high 12 saves in the loss.

Prior to tonight's contest, both teams had secured seeds in the upcoming conference tournament.  Bowdoin will be the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Bates on Saturday.  The Jumbos earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will host No. 6 seed Trinity on Saturday.