Coming off a tough loss against Trinity the week prior, Amherst field hockey hoped to start off the NESCAC tournament with an upset over the Bowdoin Polar Bears this past Saturday, Oct. 30 in Lewiston, Maine.
Despite a valiant effort, the squad came up just short. Bowdoin started the scoring early with a quick goal in the first two minutes. In the eighth minute, Amherst’s Beth Williamson ’23E took a shot on goal, but it was saved by the Bowdoin goalkeeper. At the end of the first period, the score stood at 1-0, with Sara Nidus ’24 holding her own in goal for the Mammoths. Lacking an offensive spark through the first, Amherst would need to ramp up its energy in the following quarters if the team hoped to overcome Bowdoin’s 1-0 lead.
The second period contained strong defensive play. In the 24th minute, Bowdoin midfielder and forward Maya Malenfant fired a shot on goal, but it was saved by Nidus. She blocked another Polar Bear attempt on goal in the final moments of the second period. Despite allowing a goal early in the first, Nidus became an impenetrable wall in front of the net as the game wore on.
The third period did not feature an offensive breakthrough for either team. The quarter consisted mostly of back-and-forth play between the teams, and no shots on goal were taken until the final moments of the period. However, in the 44th minute, Bowdoin’s Caroline Higgin’s earned a penalty corner after an Amherst foul. This shot missed, but it allowed Bowdoin’s Georgie Coetzer another on-goal opportunity — which was blocked by an Amherst defender.
In contrast to the game up to that point, action ramped up in the fourth and final period. Responding to a flurry of Polar Bear shots, Nidus performed exceptionally well, making deft saves in the 46th, 47th, and 50th minutes. Having struggled to find scoring opportunities all game, Amherst still found itself in a position to tie up the game in the final 10 minutes. Shots on goal by Abbey Kays ’25 in the 55th minute and Beth Williamson in the 59th minute were saved by the Bowdoin keeper. Despite their attempt at a final push, the Mammoths fell just short, losing the tough defensive match 1-0. The loss marks the end of Amherst’s season, which ended with a respectable 11-5 record. The team will return to action in 2022, surely hoping to compete for the NESCAC title.