For the third straight season, the Bowdoin women’s soccer team will host Tufts during the first weekend of the NESCAC championship tournament for a quarterfinal match. It’s also the second time the teams will face off this week, with the Polar Bears defeating the Jumbos on the road in their last regular season game by a score of 3-2 this past Tuesday. With the win, Bowdoin (10-4-1, 7-3-0 NESCAC) clinched the second seed, while Tufts (6-7-2, 4-5-1) is seeded seventh for the tournament.

“The fact that we’re playing them twice in the same week presents an interesting dilemma for us,” captain Bridget McCarthy ’16 said. “It’s obviously tough to beat a team twice in a row in the same week.”

The home field advantage should be an important factor in Saturday’s game, as the Polar Bears will not have to travel and also get the luxury of playing on a larger pitch than the one played on Tuesday. Bowdoin’s field has larger dimensions, and according to McCarthy, these are better suited to the Polar Bears’ slower, more calculated build-up play.

“Their field is really small and bumpy and narrow, and we’re a more possession-based team,” McCarthy said. “Our field is one of the nicer fields in the NESCAC and huge compared to theirs, so it kind of lets us play our style of game instead of theirs, which is much more direct and kind of kick and run.”

The teams come into the match seeded the same as last season. Bowdoin won the first round last year, 4-0, to snap a four-game winless playoff streak against the Jumbos. They had also played Tufts earlier that week and won 3-1.

“It’s an interesting situation,” McCarthy said. “But we [beat them twice] last year, and we’re going to do it again this year.”

McCarthy has high expectations for the Polar Bears, who have been to the NCAA championships every year she’s been on the team.  But if the Polar Bears can beat the Jumbos on Saturday, they will have to face even higher-seeded opponents in the following rounds. In the semifinals, they will most likely be facing third-seed Amherst and then top-seed Williams if the Polar Bears were to emerge victorious. Williams will be facing the eighth-seed Hamilton in the first round, and Amherst will face the sixth-seed Middlebury.

The Polar Bears played both Williams and Amherst in September and lost 2-1 and 2-0, respectively. However, this was before the Polar Bears hit their stride. The team has won five games in a row heading into the playoffs.

“We had trouble scoring in the beginning of the season,” McCarthy said. “But now we’re scoring a lot of goals, so it’s looking good for us heading into the playoffs.”

A big part of the Polar Bears’ recent offensive tear has been the strong play of Maggie Godley ’16 and Jamie Hofstetter ’16. Both players have scored four goals over the past five games, which has helped turn the Polar Bears into a serious offensive threat right before postseason play.

“We’ve definitely been upward-trending throughout the season,” McCarthy said. “In the beginning of the year, we were just not finishing our opportunities, and games were much closer. Now we’re maybe letting up a few more goals, but we’re scoring a lot more goals.”

“Tufts is a very tough, physical team,” Head Coach Brianne Weaver said. “But we’re ready. We’re excited to be playing them for the second time in five days. ”

The team will hope to build on its recent playoff success starting tomorrow against the Jumbos at 1:30 p.m. on Pickard Field.