Athletics

Jeffs Miss Finals, Fall to Bowdoin on Penalty Kicks

Contact: Matthew Hart

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – After 110 minutes of thrilling play and six rounds of penalty kicks, Toni DaCampo ’13 buried the winning shot to lift fourth-seeded Bowdoin past No. 3 Amherst in Saturday’s NESCAC women’s soccer semifinals. The teams ended regulation and both overtime periods tied, 3-3, before the Polar Bears finally advanced in the seventh round of the shootout.

Bowdoin (11-3-2) will meet second-seeded Williams in tomorrow’s championship after the Ephs knocked off Wesleyan, 2-1, in the first semifinal. Amherst moves to 13-1-2 with the draw and will wait for a potential at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, with brackets to be released Monday at 1 p.m.

Amanda Brisco ’14 scored twice unassisted for Amherst and Sandy Shepherd ’13 headed in a Kathryn Nathan ’13 corner to round out the Lord Jeff scoring.

The action was back-and-forth from the opening whistle. After controlling play for a considerable stretch of time late in the first half, Bowdoin broke through in the 36th when defender Jenna DiCicco ’15 sent a cross into the box for Audrey Phillips ’16. Finding space on the right side, the rookie collected the pass 10 yards out then ripped a shot into the upper left past Amherst keeper Holly Burwick '16.

Amherst found the equalizer just three minutes later when a Jeff through ball drew keeper Bridget McCarthy ’16 and two Bowdoin defenders to the top of the box. The Polar Bear clearance attempt deflected off the second Bowdoin defender, however, and Brisco swooped in to collect the bouncing ball and score on an open net, sending the teams into intermission tied at 1.

Amherst settled in and controlled play, with the ball staying largely on the Bowdoin half for the early stages of the second period. The Jeffs eventually broke the deadlock with a textbook strike in the 63rd minute. A beautiful arcing corner from Nathan found Shepherd cleanly near the right post, and the senior back placed her header perfectly into the right corner to make it 2-1 for Amherst.

Brisco gave the Jeffs insurance three minutes later when she collected a loose ball on the left side of the box and blasted it past McCarthy from 12 yards out for a 3-1 Amherst cushion.

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The Jeffs would need the strike, as an undeterred Bowdoin squad immediately responded on the counterattack. Jamie Hofstetter ’16 carried possession into the left side of the box, and a hard tackle from behind by Maya Jackson-Gibson ’15 was whistled a foul. Hofstetter beat Burwick on the ensuing penalty kick to bring Bowdoin within one, 3-2.

The Jeffs quickly looked to pad the lead, but McCarthy denied them, making a terrific diving save of Brisco’s header from the left post in the 69th.

The thrilling offensive play continued in the 73rd, as Bowdoin found the equalizer when Morgan Woodhouse ’14 sent a hard cross in from the right side and Abby Einwag '15 finished it off, beating Burwick with a blast into the top left to even things at 3.

After the flurry of scoring, neither squad could pull ahead in the remaining regulation time, with Burwick diving to corral a pair of Bowdoin crosses in the closing minutes. It was more of the same in the first extra period, as Amherst controlled possession in the early stages before Bowdoin registered several looks in the latter minutes but the Jeff defense stood firm.

Both teams had strong chances turned away in the second overtime. Late in the period, Nathan sent a promising corner in but the header from Ariana Twomey ’15 flew just wide of the left post. On the counter, Bowdoin very nearly ended it when Hofstetter beat Jackson-Gibson on a through ball, earning a breakaway against Burwick, but Amherst’s first-year keeper valiantly turned away the attempt, sliding to meet Hofstetter before the Amherst defense cleared, sending the draw to a winner-take-all shootout.

Each team converted its first two attempts, with Nathan and Mel Stier ’15 striking for Amherst and Becky Stoneman ’14 and Casey Blossom ’13 tallying for Bowdoin. The Polar Bears had a chance to go ahead after McCarthy dove to deflect Twomey’s attempt, but Hofstetter missed off the crossbar to keep it even at 2. Emma Rothkopf ’15 and Jessy Hale ’16 both converted for Amherst, but Woodhouse and DiCicco matched them to force extra shots. Chloe McKenzie ’14 started things well for Amherst, but Kiersten Turner ’16 responded. In the decisive round, McCarthy dove to save the shot from Alex Hart ’16 and DaCampo converted to send Bowdoin on to a championship date with Williams.

McCarthy made seven saves during the contest for Bowdoin, while Burwick stopped four shots for Amherst. The Jeffs owned a slight 19-16 edge in shots and a 6-5 advantage in corners.

After ranking in the top 12 nationally and top two regionally for the duration of the season, Amherst will wait and hope that its resume merits one of 21 at-large bids to the National Championship tournament, which begins next weekend.

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