BRUNSWICK—Women’s soccer opened its season with a 5-0 victory against Saint Joseph’s College (0-3-0) at home on Wednesday. The result was an improvement from last year’s match, which saw the Polar Bears take a 4-2 victory. Bowdoin begins the year with a 1-0-0 record.
All five Polar Bear goals came from different players, with just one starter finding the net against the Monks. Starting striker, Morgan Smiley ’24 opened the scoring, as Ella Olcese ’25, Stephanie Christianson ’26, Olivia Rayis ’24 and Emilia Tutun ’26 added goals later on.
Four of the five Bowdoin goals came off assists, as well, showcasing the focus on collective buildup.
“It was such a good team effort. Greta [Farkas ’24], Samaya [Bernardo ’24] and I played together all summer. The goal was [Farkas] to [Bernardo], and [Bernardo] had a great touch, and on to me,” Smiley said post-game.
Early on, the Polar Bears were able to find both space and attacking opportunities in the wide areas. This, when compounded with a high press, resulted in a number of early chances for Bowdoin. In the 11th minute, center back Jess Klein ’25 played in a ball to left winger Rylie McLaren ’26 for a chance in on goal, but the play was ruled offside.
In addition to the relentless high press, Bowdoin offered a level of physicality that simply overwhelmed the Monks’ back line.
“I had a goal for myself not to let anyone else get the 50/50 balls,” Farkas said post-game. “I like to be aggressive in the midfield and show people we’re not to be messed with.”
This midfield masterclass came to fruition in the match’s opening goal when a string of passes—started by Farkas—sprung Smiley through on goal, who finished off the far post to make the score 1-0.
After a number of Bowdoin scoring chances, in the 40th minute, Olcese cut in from the right flank, set the ball up on her left foot and let loose a long-distance curler from the top of the box that nestled nicely into the top left corner. The floodgates had opened.
With less than thirty seconds remaining in the first half, Tutun connected a crisp cutback pass from the right over to Christianson, who was able to quickly bury the ball in the back of the net.
The Polar Bears refused to let up in the second half, dominating ball possession and control. Bowdoin’s high pressure paid off within the first minute of the half, when Becca Meyers ’25 capitalized on a corner kick after a cross fell to Rayis. Rayis was able to seize control of the ball as it pin-balled its way across the front of the net, making the score 4-0.
Bowdoin continued to play tight defense on Saint Joseph’s, took advantage of the Monks’ spread out passes and barely allowed them to get within shooting distance of goalie Alex Arndt ’23.
“We were able to really control the defense back there and see the whole field. We had lots of communication,” captain and defender Shannon Gallagher ’22 said post-game.
In the 53rd minute, Isa Quintana ’23 charged down the left side of the field and cut back to connect with Tutun for the fifth and final goal.
Bowdoin had one final dramatic look in the 73rd minute when Smiley shot from the right side. The ball rolled slowly toward the left goalpost, but Saint Joseph’s goalkeeper Manuela Mejia sprinted, dove across the net and stopped it just before it surpassed the goal line.
Bowdoin ended the game having outshot Saint Joseph’s 38-1. Farkas led the team with eight shots.
The team contributes much of its strong offensive prowess to a new structure of play. Rather than playing in a 3-5-2 formation like year’s past, the team has transitioned to a 4-3-3 formation.
“Now with a four back, our wingbacks are getting up more. We’re applying more pressure. Our attacking mids are getting a lot higher, so it’s just like an overload on offense. We’re just wreaking havoc on everybody,” Farkas said post-game.
On Saturday, Bowdoin will play its first NESCAC match of the season at Bates (1-0-0; NESCAC 0-0-0). The team has won its last nine games against the Bobcats, a winning streak that includes eight shutouts and dates back to 2012.