The women’s field hockey team (8-5, NESCAC 4-4) currently sits in a four-way tie for fifth place in the NESCAC standings with Amherst, Bates and Colby and will make a run for a higher postseason seed in its last two conference games of the season against Connecticut College (5-8, NESCAC 1-7) and Tufts (9-4, NESCAC 6-2).
The top eight teams in the conference will qualify for the NESCAC playoffs. In the case of ties in regular season standings, the team with the better head-to-head record will get the higher seeding.
“We are just focusing on our games,” Head Coach Nicky Pearson said. “We have two conference games left, and our focus will be on Connecticut College [and Tufts] and for us to try to get two wins. [We’ll] see what happens with other teams and where that puts us in [the playoffs].”
So far in the season, the team has averaged 2.6 goals per game against 1.17 goals conceded. For the season the team has a positive five-goal differential against conference teams. Tomorrow, the Polar Bears travel to Connecticut College to face the Camels, who have a negative 14-goal differential and are 10th in the league.
Next Wednesday, the team will travel to Tufts, who is ranked second in the conference and owns a positive 13-goal differential. This year, the Polar Bears are 3-3 on the road against all competition.
“We’ve always had close games [against Connecticut College and Tufts]. They are going to be challenging,” Pearson said. “Even though Connecticut College is lower in the conference and Tufts is a little bit higher, both teams are going to be tough competition.”
During the first eight games of the season, the team went 6-2. However, the team dropped the next three games all by one goal. It rebounded the last two games with a crucial 2-1 win against Colby—which tied the two teams in the standings—and a 6-1 win against Husson College this past Wednesday.
“When you look at the league this year, there’s so much parity and when you look at a lot of scores, there are an awful lot of one-goal games. So I think teams are really close this year in regard to talent. On any given day anyone can beat anybody,” Pearson said.
The team has had to face a lot of adversity, particularly in close games. Out of 13 games, the team has had a total of nine one-goal games this year, four of which went to overtime. The team is 4-5 in these situations.
“Playing so many close games this year has definitely been somewhat of a challenge, but I also think it has been a great opportunity for us to grow as a team,” SJ Weill ’18 said in an email to the Orient. “While having so many close games this season puts us into a position that we do not necessarily want to be in, it has allowed us to really learn about the character and determination of our team, which is so important now, moving forward.”
Weill also believes that the team thrives in stressful situations and can turn the pressure that these close games come with into a positive.
“Something that we say on our team is ‘pressure is a privilege,’” she wrote. “With pressure comes responsibility and opportunity; playing for Bowdoin field hockey, we already play with immense pressure in terms of the history of our program and what kind of team we aspire to be every single season. In this sense we like having this healthy, competitive pressure. It fuels us.”
The Polar Bears will continue their hunt for a higher seed playoff spot as they travel for their final two games of the regular season against Connecticut College tomorrow at noon and Tufts on Wednesday at 6 p.m.