LEXINGTON, Virginia?Field Hockey?s record-breaking season came to a close Friday with a loss to Messiah College in the NCAA Division III Semifinals in Lexington, Virginia. Bowdoin was the only undefeated DIII team in the country up until Friday?s match, and finished the season 18-1.

The Polar Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the first half, but from then on the Messiah defense proved to be too strong. Bowdoin began the game dominating for the first fifteen minutes of play, gaining several penalty corner shots. At 26:25, Bowdoin converted on a penalty corner when senior Margaret Gormley '06 placed a shot in the net after a give-and-go with Taryn King '07.

Messiah responded to the Polar Bears? goal with a strong push on offense and several shots on goal. Messiah?s Amber Fulginiti scored the equalizing goal with 14:30 remaining in the half.

Bowdoin came out strong in the second half, but Messiah?s quick counterattack resulted in a Falcons? goal with 29 minutes left in the second half. Much of the later part of the half was played in front of Bowdoin?s goal, including a series of four consecutive penalty corner shots for Messiah. Junior goalkeeper Kate Leonard made several spectacular saves holding the score to 2-1.

With under a minute to go, Bowdoin mounted one final push. The Polar Bears? penalty corner was directed toward the goal, but time expired.

The Messiah College Falcons advanced to the NCAA Division III Finals Saturday in Lexington.

The Polar Bears? record-setting season has been one filled will excitement and thrill. The team went undefeated in regular season play, defeated Williams to win the NESCAC championship, and went on to win the team?s first two wins ever in NCAA tournament play, earning them a spot in the NCAA Final Four.

The team has made Bowdoin proud and looks forward to competing again next fall.

UPDATE: Messiah College lost to Salisbury 1-0 in the championship game.