The women’s soccer team punched its ticket to the NESCAC semifinal game after defeating Tufts at home on Saturday, 3-0. The Polar Bears got off to a quick start when Maggie Godley ’16 scored in the seventh minute of the game. 

“That really set the tone for the rest of the game, and then we came out again at half time really strong and put another few goals away,” said captain Bridget McCarthy ’16.

Jamie Hofstetter ’16 and Jill Rathke ’18 kept up the Polar Bears’ momentum, each scoring in the second half. McCarthy credited Godley, Hofstetter and Eliza Nitzan ’18, who had two assists for Bowdoin, as standout players on Saturday. 

“I think we all played well definitely, overall. I think our offense really shined and those three players were the key players to us winning,” said McCarthy.

Goalkeepers McCarthy and Rachel Stout ’18 each made three saves, securing the team’s shutout. 

“We just really played as a team,” said Assistant Coach Ellery Gould. “We were able to possess the ball and play feet, and I think what we did really well was just doing the little things right.” 
The team had defeated Tufts earlier that week in Medford with a 3-2 win, earning the second seed in the NESCAC.

“We knew we had to come out even harder than Tuesday because we had just beat them then, and they were going to come out even harder, so that was our mindset coming into Saturday, just team focus and getting it done,” said Hofstetter.

On Saturday, the Polar Bears will face fourth-seed Trinity at Williams for the NESCAC semifinal game. Despite having lost to Trinity midseason, the women are still confident going into Saturday. 

“We did not show up to that game at all really,” said Hofstetter. “We came out really flat.” 
Since then, the team has been playing better and has begun to work together as a unit. 

“It really was the turning point of our season when we look back, that weekend in particular,” said McCarthy. “Our offense finally clicked and our defense is continuing to improve, so I’m really excited to play them, and I think our whole team is really excited to get a second chance to play them.” 

The Polar Bears see the earlier loss as an advantage rather than a setback going forward.
“It just makes us want this game so much more. I very much think this could be dominated by us,” said Hofstetter.

“I think it’s been a shift in our mindset,” said McCarthy of the team’s improvement in the second half of the season.  

Additionally, according to Hofstetter, individuals have been improving, making a difference in each game. 

“Every time someone subbed in the field, there was a difference being made,” said Hofstetter. 
The team is not overconfident, however, and are keeping the strength of Trinity’s team in mind. 

“They’re a tough team. They are really physical too,” said Gould. “They’re just big players.” 

Since the teams are similar in many ways, the Polar Bears plan to prepare to play Trinity in the same way as Tufts, allowing them to continue focusing on what has worked for them in their past two games. 

In the other semifinal matchup, top-seed Williams will be facing sixth-seed Middlebury on Saturday. 

Although they are taking it one game at a time, the Polar Bears are still keeping the potential championship in mind. Should they advance, the women will play in the NESCAC championship, competing for the league title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“[Williams is] very strong team with a lot of offensive threats,” said Gould. “We played them way back in September, so it has been awhile.” 

As for Middlebury, the team is similar to Bowdoin in their technical nature. 

“They have, as of late, done really well so they actually beat Williams,” said Gould. “All the games will be tough.” 

According to Gould, the mental and physical toughness is crucial.

“Being the stronger players and just staying mentally tough for the entire game and having no let ups [is important] because you don’t get another chance in NESCAC playoffs,” Gould said.