Field hockey defeated Colby and Tufts this week to finish the regular season atop the NESCAC standings and earn hosting rights for the upcoming conference tournament. The Polar Bears (9-1 NESCAC, 14-1 overall) eased past Colby 4-1 last Saturday in Waterville and rounded out their regular season Wednesday night with a 4-0 win at home against the Jumbos.

Hosting rights could prove important in the NESCAC tournament. Bowdoin and Middlebury have met in the last three NESCAC championship games, two of which went into overtime and the other saw a decisive goal scored with less than two minutes remaining. The home team emerged victorious in all three contests.

The Polar Bears, however, are focused on tomorrow’s quarterfinal against Hamilton (2-8 NESCAC, 6-9 overall), not a possible rematch with Middlebury in the championship.

“At the moment we’re just incredibly proud that we finished top of the NESCAC,” said Head Coach Nicky Pearson. “To be honest, currently that just gives us the right to two practices and one more game. We’re not looking any further forward then the next couple of practices and playing Hamilton on Saturday.”

Bowdoin took the lead five minutes into Wednesday night’s game against Tufts (6-4 NESCAC, 11-4 overall), when senior Colleen Finnerty took a shot from the top of the circle that Rachel Kennedy ’16 redirected into the net.

Kennedy struck again fifteen minutes later. Shortly after the Polar Bears failed to convert off a penalty corner, she latched on to a loose ball in front of goal and backhanded it between two Tufts defenders and past the diving goalie.

Kennedy notched a third goal with 10 minutes remaining in the first half, bringing the ball into the Jumbos’ circle and laying it off for Adrienne O’Donnell ’15 on the right side. O’Donnell took the ball to the end line and centered it for Kennedy, who tucked it into the left side of the net.

O’Donnell played in the midfield last year and developed a connection with Kennedy, but the two have had to recalibrate their partnership since O’Donnell began playing as a forward this year.

“This year more so it has to be a little ball, a very direct ball to her, and I think we both worked really hard to make that connection,” O’Donnell said. “A lot of times we can get the speed advantage on the right side, so I can get past my defender and shoot the ball.”

Kennedy has now scored 19 goals in her last six games.

Tufts opened the second half strong, winning several penalty corners and forcing Bowdoin back into its own half. O’Donnell said the Polar Bears knew not to underestimate the Jumbos .

“Tufts is always really good. They have really strong individual skills,” she said. “The whole game it didn’t feel like we were up 2-0, 3-0, 4-0. We were on edge the whole time.”

The Jumbos failed to capitalize on their opportunities, however, and it was the Polar Bears who scored the only goal of the second half. About seven minutes after play resumed, the Jumbo’s goalie made a number of saves before the ball rebounded out to Juliana Fiore ’18, who fired it home from the left side of the circle.

Fiore had led the charge offensively on Saturday against Colby (4-6 NESCAC, 9-6 overall), scoring twice for the Polar Bears. Kennedy scored a first half goal and O’Donnell capped off the 4-1 win with a late goal off a corner. 

“I usually get the ball and read what’s open based on what their fly comes out as,” O’Donnell said. “So I just took a shot. It tipped off their defender’s stick and went into the top of the net.”

O’Donnell said that the team is pleased it won the right to host the later rounds of the NESCAC tournament, but that its focus is on tomorrow’s quarterfinal against Hamilton. The Polar Bears beat the Continentals 6-0 on October 11.

“It’s by no means a shoo-in game,“ she said. “We’re certainly excited to host but we still have work to do.”

Pearson said that the Continentals have improved significantly since facing the Polar Bears earlier this month, and cannot be taken lightly.

“The danger is to look at that game and think it’s going to go exactly the same way the second time you play a team,” said Pearson. “But it never does.”

Tomorrow’s NESCAC quarterfinal against Hamilton will be played at noon on Howard F. Ryan field.