Even though her field hockey team is currently in the midst of an undefeated season, has had six shutout victories over opponents, and is ranked No. 2 in the country, Head Coach Nicky Pearson is as focused as ever.
"We've always got things to work on," she said.
The team crushed Hamilton last Saturday, scoring six goals without allowing a single shot on goal or penalty corner.
"We were only winning 2-0 with 20 minutes left in the game, and then all of a sudden we scored three goals in a very short amount of time," Pearson said. The final score came with just 13 seconds remaining.
Increasing a significant lead with under 30 seconds to play in an already-decided game may seem unsportsmanlike to some, but to Pearson, it shows a drive to play every game with intensity right up until the final second.
Pearson said the players "understand the importance of playing the full 70 minutes and having an expectation and a standard for that whole time."
That spirit is precisely what helped the team win a tough game on Sunday against Amherst that was decided by a penalty shootout after two overtimes—a full 100 minutes of play. Amherst, ranked No. 7 in Division III, was Bowdoin's stiffest competition of the season.
"We knew going into the game that they were a very talented team," Pearson said. "They had a very successful season and had already beaten some strong opponents, so we knew that it was going to be a very competitive game."
It didn't disappoint. The first score came from captain Katie Herter '12 in the first half, and Bowdoin held off numerous Amherst drives until midway through the second half.
Fighting for control, the two teams accumulated four yellow cards and one green card across the four periods.
After two scoreless overtime periods, a intense penalty shootout started. Bowdoin converted three of its first penalty strokes and goalkeeper Kayla Lessard '13 saved two critical Amherst shots, allowing Katie Riley '12 to clinch the game with a final successful score.
"I felt that [the players] had this attitude that if they had to stay out there for five hours, that they were going to find a way to win," Pearson said.
Besides giving the Polar Bears confidence in their overall play, Sunday's game showed that the players know how to deal with the pressure of a close match.
"If in one of our future games we go into overtime or to penalty strokes, we can always reference this Amherst game, and we know what it's going to take [to win]," Pearson said.
This undefeated team seems to know exactly what winning entails. It won its 19th-straight game on Wednesday, beating Husson University 7-0 at home.
Cathleen Smith '13 scored two more goals, and now leads the team with 31 points. Bowdoin again proved its dominance by holding the Eagles to just one shot on goal and penalty corner.
The streak is the second longest in program history, behind a 31-game stretch in 2007-2008. Bowdoin looks to extend the streak with final regular season games against Trinity and Tufts this week.