GENEVA — In the sports world you never want to count out the underdog in the contest. That was the case on Sunday as No. 14 Bowdoin downed No. 13 William Smith by a score of 13-5 in the second round of the NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse tournament on a very cold and damp Boswell Field at David J. Urick Stadium.
The loss snaps a 35 game home winning streak for the Herons that dates back to 2016.
“It was a young team that struggled with the moment,” William Smith coach Anne Phillips said. “An NCAA tournament game is no different than any other. I think it was a big game for a lot of people because they have never experienced it.”
“We didn’t play well, but that’s not to say we didn’t play hard. We just didn’t execute the things we’ve done all season. I told them they should be proud of the season that they had. Experience is something coaches can’t teach.”
“I thought we played a complete game,” Polar Bears coach Liz Grote said. “Our defense really stepped up big time. We had a lot of draw controls, that was something we’ve been focusing on. We’ve also been finishing on working our offense and just moving the balls and finding the holes.
“We definitely didn’t have the underdog mentality. We came in knowing that it was going to be a great game, and that we were going to have to fight. We were in that awkward stage of waiting to get in the tournament and just finding out. Our team worked hard and got better everyday, and that’s what our goal was. We were better today than we were two weeks ago.”
The Herons (17-3) had struggles containing midfielder Fiona Bundy, who scored from the free position just three minutes into the contest. The first-year finished with a game high six points, which was highlighted by five goals.
“I think we really worked in practice finding the holes in their zone,” Bundy said. “We were really moving the ball quick and my teammates were able to find me. I had a lot of eight meters, so they were able to find me. I was lucky enough to be open and just finishing it was good today.”
William Smith responded with two unanswered goals by sophomores Anna Murphy and Kelsey Williams, only to see Bowdoin go on a five goal surge.
“Getting the first goal sets the tone for the rest of the game,” Murphy said. “I feel like once we scored, everyone got hyped up. Once Bowdoin started to pull away, the first goal wasn’t an affect on how we were playing and what we were thinking.”
Junior Nicki Santora was able to stop the bleeding with a goal from the free position to cut the deficit to 6-3 at the half. The Polar Bears came out of the locker room with a physical mentality as they opened up with three straight goals.
Things went from bad to worse for the Herons as Romulus alum Sadie Mapstone received her second yellow card of the game, and wasn’t allowed to return to action.
“I was really disappointed in myself at that point because I took myself out of the game,” Mapstone said. “When I got that last call, I was just trying to get the ball back and I was just frustrated with how it was going. I didn’t intend it to be a yellow card.
“We went in our high pressure blitz just to see if we can get the ball back and get momentum. I was just trying to rattle things up a little bit.”
Her coach had her back on the call however.
“I’ll take responsibility on that second yellow card,” Phillips added. “When I told them to play hard and don’t think about it too much. I just wanted them to play hard and showed that it mattered. I wouldn’t say that to Sadie because she always plays that way, but I think she maybe wanted to do a little too much — because she cares so much.”
Sophomore Olivia Hofmann had an uncharacteristic day in between the pipes as she made five saves, allowing 11 goals. First-year midfielder Payton McMahon showed promising signs of what the future holds for the program as she finished with two second half goals as well as adding an assist.