BRUNSWICK, ME. -- Mamaroneck graduate Cathleen Smith was accustomed to winning titles during her outstanding scholastic field hockey career and has continued doing so at Bowdoin College.Smith and her teammates defeated Middlebury, 2-1 Sunday to win their second consecutive New England Small College Athletic Conference field hockey title.Bowdoin, now 17-0, earned a bid and the top seed in the NCAA Division III Field Hockey Championships. Bowdoin will host the winner of Keene State-Endicott in a second-round game Saturday.It was great, said Smith. We finished up playing some really great games and we played our hearts out. Its exciting when you win and you know, as a team, that you have played to your fullest potential.Smiths linemate, right wing Liz Clegg, netted the winner with 1:48 remaining in what was a well-played game. Middlebury received an at-large bid, and is seeded fifth. Middlebury and Bowdoin could meet in the semis.The junior forward, a Larchmont resident, has carried her scoring touch from high school to college. She led Section 1 in goals -- with 27 -- her senior year as Mamaroneck went undefeated and unscored upon to win the first of what has become four consecutive Section 1 Class A titles.Smith has been instrumental in helping Bowdoin to another excellent season. She leads the team in scoring with 15 goals and six assists. This, after she had 12 goals and 10 assists last year.Coming into the season, Smith and her teammates faced the loss of an excellent senior class and the infusion of eight freshmen to the team. As a result, Bowdoin understood what the opponents perception might be. We knew we lost a lot of really important seniors from last year so our goal, starting with game one, was not to have a rebuilding year, Smith said. We wanted to establish ourselves from game one and improve with every game we played.Smith took this to heart and added to her game by taking a leadership role and focusing on defense.Ive been working on my defense, Smith said. I enjoy scoring, but I think its really exciting as a forward to force a mistake by the opposing forward before the ball gets down the field and taking the ball right back.Smith has been executing this consistently this year. Meanwhile, opposing defenses have found this difficult against her and linemates, Katie Herter and Clegg. The trio is in their second year starting together.Bowdoin is now aiming for a second championship this season -- the NCAA title -- and if it happens, Smith will have a major hand in it.
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