The third-seeded Polar Bears (14-2, 8-2 NESCAC) advanced to the NESCAC semifinals after beating sixth-seeded Colby (10-6, 5-5 NESCAC) 12-11 on Saturday. Tomorrow, the team will compete against second-seeded Middlebury (13-2, 8-2 NESCAC) in its first trip to the NESCAC semifinals since 2011 and its fifth appearance in the program’s history. 
Every NESCAC quarterfinal match this past weekend was decided by a single goal; every Bowdoin-Colby matchup since 2011 has ended in a one-goal difference.

Lindsay Picard ’16 led the charge, contributing to half of Bowdoin’s points with a hat trick and three assists. She also won five draw controls, all of which helped earn her NESCAC Player of the Week honors.

The team suffered from several turnovers and stolen passes in the beginning of the match. However, the team’s 4-0 run during the final minutes of the first half boosted the Polar Bears from a two-goal deficit to a two-goal lead at the half, which they built throughout the second period to fend off the Mules.

“It was a huge team effort. Everyone came out with a lot of fire from the start. What really helped us was coming into the second half and knowing we had to give everything again,” said Picard. 

Sarah Freeman ’15, who caused two turnovers and two ground balls, noted her team’s renewed energy in the second half after a tough first period.

“Although we played really well, it wasn’t the cleanest game that we’ve had—especially the first half,” she said. “But I think in the second half, we really rallied and came back from being down.”

Freeman emphasized what the team needs to do to win against Middlebury on Saturday.

“We definitely have the skills to beat [Middlebury] if we play together, and [are] calm and everyone gets really motivated,” said Freeman.

Clare McLaughlin ’15, who also scored three goals against Colby, referred to the numerous turnovers and stolen passes in the matchup—a weak spot the team has tried to amend in practice this week in preparation for Saturday.

“We just want to use this week to get better every day at practice to make sure that we go in with our grit—our intensity,” said McLaughlin. “[We’ll try to] minimize turnovers so we can play to our potential.”

The Polar Bears lost to Middlebury 14-8 earlier in the season.

 “I think we’re really excited because we want that redemption,” said McLaughlin. “I haven’t beaten Middlebury in my four years, and I’d love to beat them.” 

Despite the wide margin of goals by which the Panthers beat the Polar Bears in their early season matchup, McLaughlin believes her team can pull off an upset.

“Although we lost by a bunch, those games never felt far apart—it never felt out of reach,” said McLaughlin.  

The team will draw on its deep lineup in the semifinal match.

“If you look at our goals, they’re scored by tons of different people, and each game it is undecided who will have the best game and who will be the standout,” said Freeman. “What’s made our team so good this year and made it really cohesive on and off the field is that we have a ton of people that contribute.”

The Polar Bears hope to advance from the semifinals to Sunday’s championship match, aiming for the program’s first ever NESCAC Championship title.

“That’s something that everyone looks for, but I think that’s going to have to come after we win on Saturday, and you can’t think too far in advance,” said Picard.

As the Polar Bears battle it out against the Panthers on Saturday, first-seeded Trinity will play fifth-seeded Tufts in the other semifinal. If they win tomorrow, the Polar Bears will advance to the title match on Sunday—a feat which would break a nine-year hiatus since their last Championship game appearance in 2006.