There was a chill in the air as the men's soccer team stepped off the field last Sunday, the possible end to a surprisingly short season looming closer.
The Polar Bears currently have the second-worst record in the NESCAC, and may be playing their last game of the year next Wednesday.
Bowdoin lost to Amherst, the No. 4 team in D-III, on Sunday after playing to a frustrating draw against Hamilton the day before.
Saturday's game against Hamilton was a defensive competition, as both teams held each other in a constant back-and-forth that ended in a scoreless tie after two overtimes. Goalkeeper Will Wise '14 pulled out six saves for Bowdoin.
Frustration fueled a new energy on the field the following day as the whistle blew against the men's undefeated opponent, Amherst.
In the first half, Bowdoin kept the Lord Jeffs away from the goal and generated offensive opportunities on the other side.
Early into the second period, however, Amherst got an edge off a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead. This did not last long, as just five minutes later Zach Ostrup '13 found captain Sean Bishop '12, who headed the ball into the goal to tie the game at one.
Spectators grew hopeful as the Polar Bears maintained possession, but with 15 minutes to go, the Lord Jeffs scored again. They held on to win 2-1.
"We're playing well, but just not getting those little breaks, so we're frustrated," said midfielder Andrew Gray '15, one of the team's four starting first years.
The game did not end without a fight, however, and that drive is the glimmer of hope for the squad's two remaining scheduled games.
The men must win both games in order to qualify for the NESCAC tournament, which features only the top eight teams in the conference. Even then, standings are also dependent on results of other teams' upcoming games.
"I'm pretty optimistic," said Head Coach Fran O'Leary. "If we play as we did against Amherst, we have every reason to believe we can get the results required. [The team is] not giving up on this season."
After a trip to the NESCAC championship just a year ago, injuries have hit Bowdoin hard this season, crippling the team of many of its starting players.
Among the key players injured this season are seniors Nick Powell, captain Call Nichols, Eddie Jones, and Michael Gale '13.
Additionally, Steve Borukhin '14 has played a total of two minutes in two years after coming to Bowdoin as a highly-touted goalkeeper.
With every challenge comes opportunity, however, and the first year class has risen gracefully to the occasion. The first year starters are Gray, Thomas Henshall, Eric Goitia, and Sam White.
White ranks ninth in the NESCAC with 0.92 points per game.
"We're all pretty happy to play," said Gray. "With this experience, there's a lot of hope for future experiences, this year and in those to come."
The first year Polar Bears repeatedly noted that they are often aided by their upperclassmen teammates.
"They lead by example with their work ethic and on-field mentality; as a younger player, you can feed off that," said White.
"We want the Tufts game to really mean something," added Henshall. "That's one of our biggest goals right now."
Bowdoin players young and old will need to channel their enthusiasm when they play at Trinity tomorrow and Tufts at home at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
All fingers are crossed as the Polar Bears head into the final stretch of their season, but according to Goitia, there is no need to give up hope yet.
"We are by no means out of this competition," he said.