Kings of the court: a look into 75 years of men's basketball
With the end of the men’s basketball season comes the completion of the 75th year of the varsity program at Bowdoin College. However, the first team that came together in 1941 is notably different from the team that runs the court of Morrell Gymnasium today.
When a squad of 18 Bowdoin students tried out for Coach George “Dinny” Shay in December of 1941, they played in Sargent Gymnasium on a non-regulation-sized court, with old backboards and only a few weeks to prepare for their first game against the University of Maine. Without any funding from the College, Shay and his team of rookies were forced to play all away games and the players had to provide their own trunks and shoes.
Despite these setbacks, the program started and stuck, in large part due to the persistence of Malcolm Morrell, the College’s director of athletics at the time. Morrell advocated strongly for the creation of a team since Bowdoin was one of the only colleges in New England that did not sponsor a college basketball team. In addition, the NCAA was pushing many colleges at the time to continue adding new teams despite the wartime efforts that took students and resources from the programs.
The College already had in place fraternity leagues as well as a freshman team that competed against local high schools, which gave Shay a solid pool of interested athletes when it came to building his roster.
The first varsity squad played six away games over the course of the season against fellow Maine schools Colby, Bates and the University of Maine. Though the team lost all six matches, a few close games and a high degree of demonstrated interest solidified the existence of the program for the years to come.
A few years later, the program had developed significantly. The team began its first formal campaign after the war years led by captain Edward “Packy” McFarland ’48, while his infant son Edward “Bo” McFarland Jr. ’69, now a volunteer coach with Bowdoin’s men’s basketball team, crawled around the floors of Sargent Gymnasium.
While the creation of the team and the facilities available lagged behind many of Bowdoin’s peer schools in the program’s early years, in 1965 Polar Bear basketball leapt ahead of the rest of the league with the unveiling of the “new gym”—Morrell Gymnasium.
Bo McFarland came to Bowdoin in the fall of 1965 in time for the unveiling of the new gym and remembers the standard it set across the league.
“It was a big deal,” he said. “When Morrell Gym opened up, I remember as a freshman going in there and every afternoon you could see hundreds of guys playing pick-up games—I mean hundreds. It was state-of-the-art and it’s still one of the more enjoyable places to go watch a game.”
Building the new gym was a leap of faith by the College since the basketball team had gone 23 years without a winning season. Yet only two years later the 1967-68 team achieved Bowdoin’s first winning season with a record of 15-6.
“From that moment on, [basketball] teams began to win at Bowdoin,” said McFarland ’69. “Just picture the Morrell Gym with standing room only and people lining the sidelines watching games. We used to pack the place in and it was a lot of fun.”
Bo McFarland became captain the following year, improving the team’s season to a record of 16-5 and entrenching himself in the Bowdoin record books. He was the first Polar Bear to reach the 1,300 career points benchmark and his career points per game average of 21.9 remains the best in Bowdoin history today.
Since 1969, the program has been relatively consistent in performance and staff. The team has only had two head coaches in the last 55 years—Ray Bicknell and current Head Coach Tim Gilbride.
However, as Bo McFarland has seen over his lifetime, the game played in Morrell Gym today is very different from that of his father’s era.
“I remained close to the program because of my father’s experience there,” said Bo McFarland. “You get to know a lot of the people over the years. They would come to our house and reminisce about the days of basketball, how basketball was changing so much. If they were alive today they would be astonished as to what basketball looks like today versus what it looked like in the 40s and 50s.”
And today’s team is still different in a number of ways, the most visible being the size of the players.
“Even in 1965 and when I graduated in ’69, we only had one guy who was 6’5” and he was our only tall guy,” said Bo McFarland. “Whereas this year’s roster, I think we had seven, maybe eight guys who were 6’5” and over. So that’s a huge difference in terms of the style of play, because the speed of the game has increased and the size of the players has increased, and the athletic ability of the players is better, quite frankly.”
Changes in style of play have been accompanied by rule changes that have drastically impacted the game. Major shifts include the addition of the three-point line, which was implemented by the NCAA in 1986, and the establishment of a 45-second shot clock in the mid-1980s.
The program’s recruiting process has developed and changed significantly over its history as well.
“The biggest shift has been in the amount of time that you have to spend out of season recruiting,” said Gilbride. “When I started, a lot of coaches—most coaches—were doing two sports and you had to recruit for both sports, but it wasn’t to the amount of time and energy and effort that you have to put into it now. You don’t have enough time to be recruiting all year for one sport and recruiting for another sport.”
Across the nation, the timeline of recruiting has shifted to earlier in students’ high school careers and has become more intensive during summers. This year-round commitment aligns with another national trend in collegiate athletics: specialization.
“It’s becoming harder and harder for men and women to do two sports in college, and even in high school,” said Bo McFarland. “If you’re going to be a basketball player, you’re playing basketball all year long, you’re on a team and you’re playing in the summer months.”
This present-day practice is drastically different from the 1970s and earlier, when playing more than one varsity sport was so common it dictated the College’s participation, or lack thereof, in postseason tournaments.
During Bo McFarland’s time on the varsity basketball and baseball teams, the programs were not permitted to compete in any sort of postseason play even though the team’s performance was strong enough to qualify. It was seen as dangerous to the students’ academics and a disadvantage to the subsequent season’s teams.
“The concern was that dragging these seasons on was going to affect our performance in the classroom,” said Bo McFarland. “For instance, the nine starters on the baseball team all played another sport—every one of us—and the feeling was, if you were in a tournament, like a basketball tournament, and your baseball season was getting ready to begin, that [it] would be unfair to the academic side of the house.”
While there are no limitations on Bowdoin teams participating in postseason tournaments today, maintaining a balance between athletics and academics is a task that has challenged Bowdoin athletes of all eras.
Although the facilities, rules and recruiting have evolved over time, there are some aspects of the sport that have stayed the same.
“Watching college basketball is still a favorite pastime of mine,” said Bo McFarland. “I love it, and to this day I believe [Morrell Gym] ranks way up there in terms of a good place to watch a game and to play a game.”
highlight reel: This week in sports: 2/17 - 2/23
Leaps and bounds.
The men’s indoor track and field team placed fifth overall at the New England Division III Championship at Tufts last weekend. Joseph Staudt ’19 led the team with a first-place finish in the 60-meter hurdles, making him Bowdoin’s first New England Division III champion since 2014. His time of 8.24 was a personal best in the event, breaking his own school record for the third time this season. Staudt also placed seventh in the high jump.
In the books.
The men’s swimming and diving team placed sixth overall at NESCAC championships last weekend, with a number of outstanding performances. Karl Sarier ’19 won two individual NESCAC titles over the course of the meet, setting a new school record in the 200 individual medley and lowering his own school record in the 200 freestyle. The team went on to break 10 school records over the weekend and three Polar Bears—Michael Netto ’18, Mitchell Ryan ’19 and Sarier—earned All-NESCAC honors this week.
Men’s squash placed third in the Conroy Cup (D-Division) of the College Squash Association team nationals after going 2-1 on the weekend. The team’s performance earned it a 27th place finish in the nation as it closed out the season with 6-3 win over Tufts and a record of 6-15. The team also earned a pair of All-NESCAC honors this week as Ben Bristol ’17 and Ian Squiers ’19 were both named to the Second Team.
On to nationals.
Women’s squash heads into the College Squash Association team nationals this weekend with a record of 7-10. The team will look to build off of strong individual performances from this season, such as a standout campaign by Sarah Nelson ’17 that earned her All-NESCAC First Team honors this week. The Polar Bears will compete in the Walker Cup (C-Division) as they are ranked 19th nationally and will open play against No. 22 William Smith College at 10 a.m. today.
Women's swim and dive shatters records at NESCACs
This weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team put forward a number of record-breaking performances as 11 teams flooded the LeRoy Greason Pool for NESCAC championships.
The meet was highlighted by a number of accomplishments, from 12 new Bowdoin records—10 swimming and two diving—to Diving Coach Kelsey Willard being named NESCAC Diving Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.
“Receiving that award, it’s really nice that my other peer coaches in the NESCAC recognize what goes into it,” said Willard. “But I can’t take too much credit because the work that the athletes are putting in is what gives me that award. Having three of them in the top eight—they’re contributing the most points out of any of the other divers to the team and that’s where that award comes from.”
Divers Christine Andersen ’17, Thea Kelsey ’20 and Rebecca Stern ’19 all placed in the top eight in both diving events, a main goal of Willard’s and the team’s for the season. Andersen’s dominant performances not only garnered second-place finishes in both the one-meter and three-meter dives but also set new school records in both events, breaking Victoria Tudor’s ’06 scores from 2006.
For the past few years, NESCAC Championships have been a time to set many school bests. Last year the women’s team broke 14 Bowdoin records at the meet.
“Records are made to be broken,” said Willard. “They are always aware of the records, but being able to see that they can surpass them gives them just the sense of accomplishment that is the whole point of being able to break a record. It’s not necessarily about the number more than that self-assurance that they’re capable.”
While breaking records continues a trend for the program, a particularly noteworthy record was broken this year by Marshall Lowery ’20—Ruth Reinhard’s ’93 200 backstroke time of 2:05.27 from 1993—the oldest remaining team record.
“One of my favorite parts about breaking that record was knowing that it is representative of how amazing a coach we have because it was the last record that [Head Coach Brad Burnham] had not seen set,” said Lowery. “Now that I’ve broken that record, he has coached every single record holder on the Bowdoin women’s swim team, and I think that’s pretty impressive.”
In addition, Andersen, Lowery and Sterling Dixon ’19 earned NESCAC All-Conference recognition for their top-three finishes in individual events.
Though the team has seen improvement each year, the Polar Bears remain in the middle of the league, finishing sixth at NESCACs for the second consecutive year. According to Head Coach Brad Burnham, the team’s unchanging overall finish correlates with the entire sport getting faster.
As the team looks ahead to potential NCAA qualifications, striving for big goals is one aspect of team culture that can help propel the program into the upper echelon of the conference.
“Training with people who have big goals helps you have big goals too,” said Lowery. “I am hoping that having those goals and fostering a team that has similar goals to me will help create a team where everyone is invested and people are very ambitious, and fostering a team like that would help us move up in the NESCAC rankings and have more of a national presence.”
While the swimmers will have to wait until next week to find out if they qualify for the NCAA championship, the process for diving is notably different and four of the five members of the women’s and men’s dive squads have already qualified for the regional meet that precedes Nationals, a new high for the program.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 2/10-2/16
Paige Pfannenstiel ’17 was named to the second-ever class of Rugby All-Americans by the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) after an outstanding season as a flanker for the Polar Bears. The class of 31 comes from the 14 colleges that competed in the inaugural 2016 NCAA League season. This year, NIRA additionally named 12 honorable mentions, which included captain Cristina Lima ’17, who played prop and No. 8 for Bowdoin this fall.
On the fast track.
Indoor track and field traveled to Boston University last weekend for the David Hemery Valentine Invitational, where the women’s distance medley relay team of Meghan Bellerose ’17, Caroline Corban ’17, Demi Feder ’17 and Sara Ory ’19 placed fifth overall. The season-best performance has them currently ranked fifth nationally in Division III. Brian Greenberg ’18 is also in the top five nationally in the triple jump after his standout performance at the Maine State Meet. While it is still early in the season, the high rankings bode well for NCAA Division III qualifications.
Men’s squash heads into the College Squash Association (CSA) national team championships this weekend at MIT with a record of 4-14 after a 6-3 loss to Colby last Friday. The Polar Bears will compete in the Conroy Cup—the D-division of the tournament—as they are ranked 27th nationally and are joined in the bracket by fellow NESCAC competitors Conn College, Hamilton, Tufts and Wesleyan. The team will open play against No. 30 Stanford at 2:30 p.m. today.
Fight to the finish.
Men’s ice hockey (8-14-0, 5-11-0 NESCAC) will face conference opponents Tufts (10-9-3, 8-7-1 NESCAC) and Conn College (4-15-2, 2-12-2 NESCAC) as it looks to turn around a three-game losing streak to close out the regular season. The weekend carries the added pressure of determining conference playoff berths since Tufts, Bowdoin and Conn College are currently seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively, in the league and the top eight teams qualify for the postseason. The Polar Bears will face the Jumbos at 7 p.m. today and the Camels at 3 p.m. tomorrow in Watson Arena.
Record numbers at girls in sports day
On Sunday, a record number of more than 300 girls from midcoast Maine flooded Farley Field House for the College’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day program. The theme of the day, as Assistant Coach of Women’s Soccer Ellery Gould ’12 said, was empowerment.
The girls rotated through 11 different stations run by Bowdoin student athletes. Many tried sports such as sailing, field hockey, track and field, soccer, rowing, rugby, ultimate frisbee, basketball, tennis, lacrosse and softball for the first time.
The athletic department has organized the program for the past 15 years to celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day and to bring Bowdoin student-athletes and community members together through sport. According to Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan, community interest has continued to grow every year.
The surge in interest in the event is likely related to an increase in advertising and outreach through local schools and social media, an effort Gould identified as one of the main goals for this year’s program.
The early session brought over 200 girls in kindergarten through third grade and the afternoon brought an additional hundred girls from fourth to twelfth grade, in addition to the many Bowdoin athletes and coaches that helped organize and run the stations.
“I was only anticipating maybe 200 girls [in total] so I think the fact that it’s grown so much is great,” said Gould. “And the more that we can grow it and get more girls involved, the better.”
The day provides girls in the surrounding community an opportunity to both try new sports and learn more about familiar sports in an enthusiastic and engaging setting, while also gaining positive role models. This year’s turnout bodes well for the development of the program.
“In order for this event to be successful you need all teams to participate and to participate with full enthusiasm about their sport,” said Mettler Growney ’17. “That happened and that’s why we were so successful and have been so successful. It really starts with us and we have the ability to get younger girls in the area interested.”
The tone for the day was set early on, with the girls bringing eagerness and excitement to each station.
“The energy was really high and I think that came from the girls just being really excited,” said Gould. “And then our students did a great job being engaged and showing their passion for their sport and their knowledge for their sport, so they fed off the energy of the little girls.”
“It was pretty organic. We weren’t super rigid and it just flowed really well. On the day, we had 200-plus girls running in, so much energy, they’re bouncing off the walls and then we just brought them all together and from there it ran itself because of the students and how well they were able to work with the little ones,” she added.
Growney noted the importance of sparking interest in girls when they’re young—especially as similar experiences led her to play both field hockey and lacrosse at Bowdoin. However, according to Growney, the young girls aren’t the only ones benefiting from the day.
“It’s such a great opportunity to give back to the sport and younger girls in the community,” said Growney. “It feels good to give that back and to get more girls excited and to kind of pass the torch down. It’s a really rewarding experience to see these girls all excited about a brand new sport and having learned from other girls and women in the community.”
Gould found it gratifying to grow interest in female athletes and to see girls of all ages feel empowered to try new things.
“At the end of the day, I just felt really accomplished,” said Gould. “[The girls’] confidence stepping right into this new sport, grabbing a frisbee for the first time or running into a rugby pad and jumping with a rugby ball—to see these young girls come in with so much energy and confidence was really rewarding and exciting for the future of women’s athletics.”
highlight reel: This week in sports: 2/3 - 2/9
The women’s ice hockey team (11-7-3, 6-5-2 NESCAC) gears up for a tough faceoff this weekend against league-leader Connecticut College (13-6-2, 9-4 NESCAC). In their previous matchup, the Polar Bears dominated the Camels in a 3-0 shutout win that featured an outstanding 24 saves by Kerri St. Denis ’19. Bowdoin is coming off a hard-fought weekend at Hamilton (12-6-2, 7-4-1 NESCAC), who is currently second in the NESCAC standings. They split the weekend series, earning a 2-1 win last Friday, but falling 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. The team will take on Conn College on Saturday at 3 p.m. in Watson Arena.
The nordic ski team put forward an impressive team performance at the University of Vermont last weekend. In the men’s 10k classic, the team placed two racers in the top 10 for the first time since 2008, with Malcolm Groves ’17 placing 8th and Sean Cork ’19 placing 10th, followed by Orion Watson ’20 in 25th and Jake Adicoff ’18 in 26th. Hannah Miller ’17 led the women with a 17th place finish in the classic and Lily Johnston ’20 took 52nd for the top women’s race in the sprint. The team will travel to Dartmouth this weekend for its next carnival.
Coming up short.
Last weekend, the women’s and men’s squash teams competed in the NESCAC championships, placing sixth and eighth respectively. The men’s team defeated Hamilton in the opening round before losing to Bates, Amherst and Wesleyan, while the women’s team beat Hamilton and Tufts, but fell to Williams and Amherst. The teams will close out the regular season today against Colby in a rescheduled match at home.
On thin ice.
Men’s ice hockey (8-12, 5-9 NESCAC) heads to Connecticut this weekend to face fellow conference competitors Wesleyan (11-5-4, 6-4-4 NESCAC) and Trinity (11-6-3, 7-5-2 NESCAC) as they look to hold onto a NESCAC playoff berth. The team is currently ranked eighth in the league with four games left in the regular season, making each match critical to the team’s postseason hopes.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 1/27-2/2
Nothing but net.
Women’s basketball heads into the weekend on a three-game win streak after beating UMass-Boston (8-12) 83-59 on Tuesday. The dominant win featured five players—Lydia Caputi ’18, Taylor Choate ’19, Abigail Kelly ’19, Kate Kerrigan ’18 and Ally Silfen ’17—with at least 10 points each, continuing to highlight the team’s depth and dynamic offense. The Polar Bears will return to league play against Hamilton (9-9, 2-4 NESCAC) today and Middlebury (14-5, 4-2 NESCAC) tomorrow.
The men’s indoor track and field team won the Bowdoin Invitational III on Saturday with standout performances coming from Joseph Staudt ’19, who won the hurdles and high jump, and John Pietro ’18, who won the shot put and weight throw. The women’s team placed third behind Colby and Coast Guard with a number of individual winners, setting both teams up well for the Maine State Meet, hosted in Farley Field House tomorrow.
Getting the rebound.
Men’s basketball bounced back from a close 87-82 loss to Colby (10-9, 1-5 NESCAC) last Saturday with a hard-fought 78-72 win over Husson on Tuesday. The game featured a standout performance from Hugh O’Neil ’19 who led the team with a career-high 23 points and 13 rebounds. The team will take on fellow NESCAC competitors Hamilton (14-5, 3-3 NESCAC) and Middlebury (16-3, 4-2 NESCAC) at home on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Best of the best.
Men’s ice hockey Coach Emeritus Terry Meagher will be presented with the Parker-York Award by the New England Hockey Writers Association (NEHWA) in April. Recent honorees include Travis Roy, who founded the Travis Roy Foundation to raise awareness for quadriplegics and paraplegics, and Don Cahoon, the all-time winningest coach in UMass hockey history. During 33 years at the helm of the Bowdoin men’s ice hockey program, Meagher led the team to 542 wins, sixth all-time among NCAA Division III coaches, and was honored as Division II-III Coach of the Year three times.
highlight reel: 12/9-1/26
Making a racket.
The women’s squash team (4-6) is currently ranked 21st by the College Squash Association (CSA). While the team has faced some challenges this season, it is currently on a three-game win streak as it looks to turn the season around heading to Providence to face No. 10 Brown this weekend. The men’s team (3-7) is currently ranked 25th by the CSA and also has a tough weekend ahead of it. The team will face No. 21 MIT at home today and travel to No. 17 Brown on Saturday.
Over winter break, Jack Simonds ’19 was named NESCAC Player of the Week for men’s basketball after scoring 44 points between the team’s last two wins over Maine-Presque Isle and Williams. In the games, Simonds averaged 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and shot 53 percent from the three-point range. The team currently has a record of 9-8 but is 1-4 in conference play. As a result, the team is ranked 10th in the NESCAC. It will travel to Colby on Saturday for its next NESCAC matchup.
Locked in for lax.
On Monday, the U.S. Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association ranked Bowdoin men’s lacrosse 11th in the nation in its Division III Preseason Poll. Setting the stage for a competitive in-conference season, the Polar Bears are joined in the top 20 by five other NESCAC teams, including Tufts at No. 2 and Amherst at No. 9. The team finished last season with a 12-5 record and advanced to the NESCAC semifinals.
Queen of the court.
Chamique Holdsclaw will be on campus on February 1 as part of Bowdoin Athletics’ Leadership and Empowerment through Athletics Principle (LEAP) Initiative. Holdsclaw is a women’s basketball Olympic gold medalist who has been heavily involved in mental health and wellness activism after an astounding career that included three consecutive NCAA championships at the University of Tennessee and six WNBA All-Star honors. Her documentary “Mind | Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in Kresge Auditorium, followed by a panel discussion at 8:30 p.m. also in Kresge Auditorium.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 12/2 - 12/8
After losing both matches of the Colby (5-1, 4-0 NESCAC) series last weekend, the men’s ice hockey team came back with a 3-0 shutout win against Southern Maine (5-7). The Polar Bears’ last games of 2016 will be this weekend against fellow NESCAC competitors Tufts (5-1-1, 3-0-1 NESCAC) and Connecticut College (1-5, 1-3 NESCAC) as they look to improve their 1-3 in-league record. The team is currently second in the conference in scoring offense with 4.12 goals per game.
Hot and cold.
The men’s basketball team currently has a record of 4-3 after a 76-67 win against Colby and a 74-60 loss to Bates this past week. While both opponents are NESCAC teams, both games were non-conference matches since official league matches do not start for any basketball team until January. The Polar Bears have had some strong individual performances with Jack Simonds ’19 and Hugh O’Neil ’19 leading the league in points per game and rebounds per game, respectively. Blake Gordon ’18 also leads the league in three-point percentage after going 7/7 so far this season.
Joining the dynasty.
This week captain Kimmy Ganong ’17 and midfielder Juliana Fiore ’18 were named Third Team All-Americans by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association. Both players also received All-NESCAC and All-Region honors for their outstanding performances this season. This class of honorees marks the 23rd consecutive year that the Bowdoin field hockey team has had at least one player recognized as NCAA Division III All-American. Over the course of Head Coach Nicky Pearson’s 21 years at the College, 30 of her players have received All-American honors, in addition to many Academic All-Americans.
Breaking the bubble.
On January 12, women’s ice hockey will face Connecticut College as part of Frozen Fenway, a series of outdoor hockey games and skating events at Boston’s Fenway Park. Tickets for the game can be purchased online at redsox.com/frozenfenway. Additionally, women’s basketball and swimming and diving will break out from in-conference and regional matchups over break. Women’s basketball will travel out to California to face Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and Pomona-Pitzer and swimming and diving will compete at the Coral Springs Invitational in Florida.
highlight reel: 11/18 - 12/1
Ruling the pool.
Bowdoin swimming swept the NESCAC Performers of the Week last week with Sterling Dixon ’19 and Karl Sarier ’19 earning the honors for the women’s and men’s teams, respectively. In the teams’ first meet against Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Dixon won all three of her individual events and Sarier earned two first-place finishes, as well as a close second place just .14 seconds behind the leader. The teams will host the Maine State Meet this weekend.
Men’s basketball starts off the season 3-2 after holding on for a hard-fought 86-79 win against Southern Maine at home on Tuesday. The game featured a dynamic attack as five Polar Bears scored in the double digits and the team outrebounded the Huskies 44 to 35. The team will face off against Colby at home on Saturday at 3 p.m. in its first NESCAC game of the season.
Four members of the field hockey team earned All-Region honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches Association after standout performances this year. Captain Kimmy Ganong ’17 was named to the All-Region First Team for the second consecutive year after earning 35 points this season. Joining Ganong, midfielder Juliana Fiore ’18 also earned a spot on the First Team in her first All-Region selection. Elizabeth Bennewitz ’19 was named to the Second Team in her first season starting for the Polar Bears, along with Mettler Growney ’17, who has received All-Region honors for three consecutive years.
Two members of the women’s soccer team earned All-New England honors from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America this week. Defender Taylor Haist ’17 was named to the All-Region Second Team and defender and midfielder Nikki Wilson ’18 was named to the All-Region Third Team. The duo has led the Polar Bear defense for the last two years, starting in every game and helping the team to allow only .61 goals per game this fall.
More than the game.
The NESCAC recognized Bowdoin athletes this week for outstanding performance off the field with All-Academic and All-Sportsmanship honors. Ninety-nine fall athletes earned Academic All-NESCAC selections and nine athletes were selected by their teams and coaches as All-Sportsmanship choices. Women’s soccer’s Taylor Haist ’17 and volleyball’s Quincy Leech ’17 were selected as All-Sportsmanship and All-Academic honorees in addition to earning All-NESCAC honors this season.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 11/11 - 11/17
Four members of the volleyball team—Katie Doherty ’17, Quincy Leech ’17, Erika Sklaver ’17 and Caroline Flaharty ’20—were honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) in their All-American selections this week. After an exceptional collegiate career, Doherty was named a Third Team All-American, becoming just the third Polar Bear in program history to earn a spot on one of the three All-American teams. Leech, Sklaver and Flaharty were all named Honorable Mention All-America. The foursome was also named AVCA First Team All-Region last week.
Leading the pack.
Sarah Kelley ’18 and Nick Walker ’17 continued to lead the women’s and men’s cross country teams, respectively, with strong finishes at the NCAA Regional Championships in Westfield, Massachusetts last weekend. Kelley placed eighth overall in the 6K race to earn the best finish for a Bowdoin woman at the regional championships since 2008 and Walker finished tenth overall in the 8K for the best finish for a Bowdoin man since 2013. Their outstanding performances earned both of them qualifications for the NCAA Division III National Championship in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend. The women’s and men’s teams both placed eighth overall, out of 59 and 56 teams respectively.
The sailing team earned their best-ever finish at the Atlantic Coast Championship last weekend, placing sixth in a highly competitive pool of 18 teams after edging out Yale in a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Polar Bears qualified for the regatta after finishing third at the Schell Trophy at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
The women’s rugby team closed out their fall season with an astounding comeback win against in-state rival University of New England in the Maine Chowder Cup. Although the Polar Bears ended the first half down 22-10, they dominated the second half, tying the Nor’easters within the opening minutes and keeping them scoreless in the second half to finish the game 32-22.
Get in line.
Bowdoin men’s ice hockey will face Colby for the 207th time in program history at Watson Arena on Friday, December 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be available beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Monday, November 21 in the lobby of Morrell Gymnasium.
Exploring media impact with Jack Ford
CBS News Correspondent Jack Ford came to Bowdoin last Friday to speak about the connections between sports, the law and the media that he has been able to witness firsthand through his unique career as a journalist, trial attorney, author and teacher.
During his talk and an interview with the Orient, Ford brought up some of the major legal issues facing collegiate sports, such as recruiting, aid and paying student-athletes. He also discussed the impacts the media can have on the development and response to legal cases, citing his experience with the OJ Simpson trial, which he covered for almost nine months.
“With sports at the center, you have the notion of the media shining a light on it and you have the notion of the attacks on the concepts of amateur sports, and also how the media is covering the legal challenges,” Ford said in an interview with the Orient. “They’re all inextricably interwoven and that’s why we’re throwing them all into the mix, into the conversation.”
A key factor in how the media covers legal matters is the ever-increasing presence of opinion in reporting, particularly in broadcast journalism.
“Nowadays when you go on the air you almost always have to be shouting opinions, throwing bombs, and I’m sort of the old school journalism where I look at it as my role is to explain,” said Ford. “Being able to do that for the last 25 years, to me, it just is an interesting opportunity to help people understand the justice system … As long as people understand and respect the process, they might disagree with the result but they’re going to at least accept the legitimacy of the process.”
Ford refers to his career in journalism as an accidental career. He graduated from Yale with every intention of becoming a trial lawyer, attending Fordham University School of Law and then working as a prosecutor and trial attorney. He’s handled a series of notable cases, including the first death penalty trial in the Northeast.
After a live interview about the death penalty case, Ford was invited to be a legal analyst for CBS due to his comfort on camera, which Ford attributes to his experience on his college football coach’s weekly show as well as his appearances on “Jeopardy!” that helped fund his legal education. Ford continued working in television and law for a few years before transitioning to journalism full time.
“It was never a planned progression,” said Ford. “That’s why when I teach, I always say be alert for what’s around the corner because it might be something that you never anticipated … but it might be something that you decide to latch onto and it could change your life dramatically.”
Ford expressed that his time spent as a visiting undergraduate lecturer at Yale is his favorite job because it enables him to have a thoughtful exchange of ideas and perspectives with the students. Through his time in academia, Ford has been able to reflect back on his college experience.
“I was a student during the late ’60s-early ’70s when Vietnam was literally tearing the fabric of colleges apart. In the middle of all this we had the Black Panthers being tried in 1970 in New Haven and there was a sense that that could make the town and the campus explode,” said Ford. “It didn’t because I think people at Yale handled it so well and gave everybody the opportunity to talk and express themselves and do protesting, but safely.”
“So for me, college was a different time,” said Ford. “I showed up at Yale with everything I owned in a single duffel bag … and left four years later with everything I’d need for the rest of my life, and that was because of the college experience.”
highlight reel: This week in sports: 11/4 - 11/10
Stopped in the semis.
The men’s soccer team fell to No. 1-seed Amherst 2-1 in the NESCAC semifinals on Saturday. The Polar Bears’ only goal of the game came from Will Herman ’20 off of a header by Matt Dias-Costa ’17 in the 74th minute of the match. The Purple & White went on to win the tournament, which they hosted, and secure a berth in the upcoming NCAA playoffs. Based on strong performances throughout the tournament and season, midfielder Moctar Niang ’19 was the only underclassman to be named to the First Team All-NESCAC and back Matty McColl ’19 was recognized as Second Team All-NESCAC.
Three members of the women’s soccer team—Morgen Gallagher ’20, Nikki Wilson ’18 and Taylor Haist ’17—were selected to the All-NESCAC Second Team after outstanding performances in the regular season and playoffs. The duo of Haist and Wilson led the Bowdoin defense this fall, as it ranked second in the league after only allowing .61 goals per game. Gallagher was also honored as the league’s Rookie of the Year, following Julia Patterson ’19 who earned the title last fall.
After a challenging season for the Bowdoin field hockey team, four members earned All-NESCAC accolades for their exceptional performance during the regular and postseason. Captain Kimmy Ganong ’17 notched her second-consecutive First Team honor after earning 35 points this season and ranking fifth in the conference in points per game. Midfielder Juliana Fiore ’18 joins Ganong on the First Team, and Mettler Growney ’17 and Elizabeth Bennewitz ’19 earned Second Team spots. Growney has earned post-season NESCAC honors every year of her Bowdoin career, having been named Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a member of the All-NESCAC Second Team for the following three years.
After finishing the regular season 5-2, the women’s rugby team will face off against the University of New England (UNE) at home in a showdown between the only two varsity women’s rugby teams in Maine. When the two teams met in October, UNE dealt Bowdoin their first loss of the season 31-15, but the Polar Bears are hoping to avenge the defeat and earn bragging rights as the top varsity team in their division on Saturday at 11 a.m.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 10/28 - 11/3
Women’s soccer falls short
Women’s soccer suffered a disappointing 2-1 loss to Middlebury (13-3, NESCAC) on Saturday, knocking the Polar Bears out of the NESCAC playoffs and putting an end to their season. After an early goal for the Panthers, Nikki Wilson ’18 scored the equalizer off of a penalty kick in the second half. However, Middlebury took the lead again only a minute later and was able to hold off the Polar Bear offense until the end. The team finishes the season with a record of 9-6-1, 5-4-1 in-conference.
Sliding into sixth
Both women’s and men’s cross country placed sixth out of 11 teams at a rainy NESCAC Championship meet this past weekend, which featured some particularly impressive individual performances. Sarah Kelley ’18 was the top performer for either team with a strong sixth-place finish that earned her First Team All-NESCAC honors. Matthew Jacobson ’17 and Nick Walker ’16 led the men’s team, finishing 11th and 14th respectively and earning Second Team All-NESCAC honors. The teams’ seasons will continue next weekend when they travel to Connecticut College for the NCAA Division III Regional Championship.
The sailing team qualified for the Atlantic Coast Championship, hosted by MIT on November 12, after a strong performance at the Schell Trophy this past weekend. Coming back from a disqualification in their first race, the Polar Bears won the other three races to finish third out of 18 overall. The team also competed in the Urn Trophy, where a team of women finished 14th overall, as well as the Nickerson Trophy, where a team of first years placed third out of 17 and tied for first in the B-division.
The Bowdoin women’s basketball team is ranked 19th in the nation in the D3hoops.com Preseason Poll. Last season, the team made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year after falling to Amherst in the NESCAC semifinals, finishing the season 22-7. Defending NESCAC Champion and NCAA Runner-up Tufts is ranked No. 1 in the poll, with Amherst following at No. 2. The Polar Bears’ season will open with the Graef Memorial Women’s Basketball Classic on November 18.
Field hockey seeded fifth in tight NESCAC pool
On Saturday, defending NESCAC champion Bowdoin (11-4, 6-4 NESCAC) will take on defending national champion Middlebury (12-3, 7-3 NESCAC) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC field hockey playoffs.
Familiar foes, last season the Polar Bears and Panthers met three times: in the regular season, in the NESCAC Championship and in the NCAA Division III Championship. Though Bowdoin emerged victorious from the first two matchups, Middlebury won the last game, taking the national title and putting an end to Bowdoin’s perfect season.
When the teams faced off in the regular season this year, Middlebury came away with a close 3-2 win, although Bowdoin held a 7-4 edge in penalty corners and outshot the Panthers 13-7.
“I definitely think there’s revenge this Saturday and we’re almost in the better spot because of it,” said captain Kimmy Ganong ’17. “As of now [Middlebury has] beaten us already this season and they have the national championship from last year so we have a lot more to play for. They’re probably just sitting there thinking they’re safe and that they’ll beat us but I think that we as a team are peaking right now ... We know that we definitely can beat [Middlebury] and come from behind.”
Bowdoin enters the tournament as the fifth seed—the first time they won’t host their quarterfinal matchup since 2009—while Middlebury sits at No. 4. The two teams’ seeds come as a bit of a surprise since they have faced off in the championship match of the tournament for the last five years and are currently both ranked in the top five nationally. The fact that this notable matchup will be taking place in just the quarterfinals of the tournament speaks to an exceptional level of competition in the league this year.
“There’s more parity in the league this year than I’ve ever witnessed before,” said Head Coach Nicky Pearson. “We’ve always felt that every single NESCAC team that we play is going to be a really challenging game and we certainly feel it this year and that you certainly can’t underestimate any team. On any given day if we don’t show up and play our very best, there’s a chance you’re going to lose that game. It keeps you on your toes for sure.”
The tournament is set to be highly competitive on a national level as well. Of the eight teams competing, seven are ranked in the top 20 in the nation, with No. 8 seed Bates close behind.
Bowdoin hopes their extensive postseason experience will give their players a distinct advantage when facing the intensity of this year’s tournament.
“To have been in the championship game for the last five years speaks volumes for the players on the team,” said Pearson. “We have a number of players on our team that really know what it takes to be successful in the NESCAC tournament and they will draw on their experience from the last few years and be really ready for how competitive those games are going to be.”
Coming off an undefeated regular season and a NESCAC title, Bowdoin has faced some hard-fought losses this season, falling to Hamilton and Williams in the same weekend earlier in October and Tufts on Wednesday. While their record doesn’t support it, the Polar Bears controlled all three of those games, outshooting each opponent by double digits as well as earning more penalty corners.
“Although we aren’t winning on the scoreboard, we’re definitely outplaying our opponents in all the games that we lost,” said Ganong. “We’re not handing any team the win, we’re fighting until the very end.”
The Tufts loss was particularly disappointing as the Polar Bears had four times the number of shots as the Jumbos, had a 20-3 edge in penalty corners and had two goals called back.
“Just a frustrating game all around,” said Ganong. “But obviously just adding to our desire to keep the season going and beat [Middlebury] on Saturday.”
One of the most surprising aspects of the league this season is the rise of Hamilton (11-4, 7-3 NESCAC), who enter the tournament seeded third—the highest seed in program history—and are looking for their first playoff victory to continue their six-game win streak. In 2012, the Continentals went 0-14, yet have steadily improved each season, earning NESCAC bids for the last two years. Pearson attributes Hamilton’s strong performance this season to talent and determination.
“[Hamilton has] some exceptional players, their goalkeeper is playing very well and even though they lost a couple of games at the beginning of the season, they beat Middlebury early in the season and I think that probably was the turnaround game for them,” said Pearson. “After they won that game I think they really believed that they could beat anybody.”
In what is sure to be an exciting postseason, the Polar Bears will face the Panthers at 1 p.m. at Middlebury on Saturday.
highlight reel: This week in sports: 10/21-10/27
Setting up for playoffs
The Bowdoin Volleyball team (12-9, 5-4 NESCAC) traveled to Missouri over the weekend to compete at the Washington University in St. Louis tournament. They faced four dominant teams, including Texas-Dallas (24-1) and Wisconsin-Eau Claire (22-8), which are nationally ranked No. 4 and No. 28, respectively. Though the Polar Bears didn’t get a win this weekend, they held their own and had many strong individual performances that will set them up well for their final NESCAC match against Connecticut College tonight in Morrell Gymnasium.
Back in the books
A dominant force in the Bowdoin Volleyball offense, Quincy Leech ’17 had a season-high 51 assists in the team’s match against Illinois Wesleyan as she became just the second Bowdoin player ever to surpass 3,000 career assists. Leech is ranked fourth all-time for assists in a single season with 1,024 after her impressive campaign last season and is now second in all-time career assists with 3,054, behind Margo Linton ’08 with 3,215. Leech will have the opportunity to further solidify herself in the record books in the team’s last two regular season games this weekend.
Leader on the links
Caroline Farber ’20 was named Second Team All-NESCAC after a strong seventh-place finish at the 2016 Women’s Golf NESCAC Championship. In her first year on the team, she has already established herself as an integral part of the program after winning the Maine State Championship and leading the team in every competition this year. With this honor, Farber became the first golfer in the history of the Bowdoin women’s program to earn a postseason All-NESCAC award.
The women’s soccer team will enter NESCAC Playoffs this weekend as the No. 6 seed after falling to Tufts (7-5-3, 5-4-1 NESCAC) 1-0 on Tuesday. They’ll face off against No. 3 seed Middlebury (12-3, 7-3 NESCAC) on Saturday in their quarterfinal matchup. When Bowdoin played Middlebury in the regular season, the Polar Bears came away with a 1-0 win, featuring a goal by Anna Mellman ’17 and a strong goalkeeping performance from Rachel Stout ’18.
The men’s water polo team closed out their season this weekend with a fifth place finish at the Collegiate Water Polo Association North Atlantic Division Championship. With a regular season record of 3-5, the team entered the tournament as the fifth seed and finished the weekend 2-2, coming away with wins against University of Maine (0-11) and St. Michael’s (3-8) and dropping games to Colby (6-5) and ultimate tournament champion Tufts (11-0).
Bantams bounce bears
Undefeated Trinity dealt football their fifth loss of the season on Saturday in a crushing 38-7 defeat. While the Bantams ended the first half up 31-0, Bowdoin came back strong, opening the second half with a 77-yard drive for a touchdown off of the opening kickoff. The score came from quarterback Tim Drakeley ’17 to wide receiver Ejaaz Jiu ’19 for Jiu’s first collegiate touchdown reception and Bowdoin’s only score of the day. The loss puts the team at their first 0-5 start in 10 years—their worst opening since the team went 0-6 in 2006.
New class inducted into Hall of Honor
Members recognized for inspiration and commitment to Bowdoin Athletics
The Bowdoin College Athletic Hall of Honor was established in 2002 “to perpetuate the memory of those persons who have brought distinction, honor and excellence to Bowdoin through their accomplishments in athletics.” Initially inducting a class of five members every year, the selection committee transitioned to classes of six members biannually in 2010. The Class of 2016 honorees joined the ranks of Bowdoin sports legends this year at Homecoming.
Since its creation, the Hall has honored exceptional athletes, coaches and staff who have impacted Bowdoin—from the very beginnings of the athletic program to the inception of athletic training, from the formation of women’s teams to their domination on courts and fields.
The inaugural class included Bowdoin sports icons Joan Benoit Samuelson ’79, who won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in the first-ever women’s marathon, and Sidney J. Watson, renowned hockey coach who led the Polar Bears to four ECAC Division II titles and a record of 326-210-11 over the course of his 24-year career at the College.
As this year’s class joins this illustrious group, they remarked on the widespread impacts being a part of Bowdoin Athletics has had on their lives.
“I definitely think that playing basketball and playing sports in general is a metaphor for life,” said Lora Trenkle Cooperman ’04. “It’s something that I’ve carried on in my years post-Bowdoin, working in finance and having to work long hours and putting in the extra time.”
“I’ve always felt that being involved in athletics requires discipline and character,” said Leo J. Dunn III ’75. “You’ve got to fit that in with studies and everything else, but that’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I’ve approached things in work and life.”
The dedication and determination this class brings to everything they do is clearly evident in their widespread accomplishments and the legacy they’ve left on Bowdoin Athletics.
O. Jeanne d'Arc Mayo
As the first female physical therapist and athletic trainer on Bowdoin's campus, Mayo was integral in the development of women's athletics at Bowdoin. She arrived on campus at a time when athletic training services were dedicated solely to men, and took it upon herself to see through the creation of high-quality facilities and resources for women as well, consistently fighting for equal access and opportunity in sports throughout her career.
Robert H. Pfeiffer '67
Over the course of his life, Pfeiffer has demonstrated a level of excellence and commitment to lacrosse as a player, coach and official. He was Bowdoin’s first All-American in lacrosse in addition to being a standout player and leader on the hockey and football teams. After graduating, Pfeiffer went on to coach lacrosse at the University of New Hampshire, Middlebury and Colby and officiate intercollegiate games throughout New England.
Edward M. Good '71
Good was a talented player and leader of the men’s ice hockey team during a historically great time for the program. Described as “the engine that drove” the team during these years, he led the team to sixteen consecutive wins and an ECAC finals appearance his junior year and guided the team to their first ECAC championship title as a captain his senior year. A legendary scorer for the program, he graduated as Bowdoin’s all-time leader in points and remains fourth all-time in points per game today.
Leo J. Dunn III '75
During Dunn’s time at Bowdoin, he demonstrated not only immense talent on the track and football teams, but also a deep commitment to the Bowdoin community. After captaining the track team his senior season, he graduated with six Bowdoin records in both indoor and outdoor track, earning Division III All-American and All New England honors. He was awarded the Elmer Longley Hutchinson Cup for high conduct on and off the field as well as the Polar Bear Award for his service to Bowdoin.
Darcy Storin Resch '96
Resch dominated cross country and indoor and outdoor track at Bowdoin as well as on the national stage. Her Bowdoin record in the 1500 meters remains untouched 20 years later and she earned an astounding ten All-American honors during her career. In addition to numerous regional titles and honors, she was a Division III Outdoor Track National Champion twice and finished in the top three at NCAA Championships five times, making her one of the most accomplished female athletes in Bowdoin history.
Lora Trenkle Cooperman '04
Middlebury ends field hockey's bid for perfect season
Last Saturday, Middlebury dealt the field hockey team its first loss this season in a brutal 3-2 defeat. The loss knocked Bowdoin to the No. 2 spot nationally, falling behind Messiah College but staying ahead of Middlebury at No. 3.
The Polar Bears controlled most of the game, leading the Panthers in shots on goal 13-7 as well as penalty corners 7-4. However, an inability to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well as some defensive mistakes helped Middlebury take a lead that Bowdoin could not overcome.
“We didn’t convert on our chances and had a couple of defensive breakdowns that [Middlebury] took advantage of,” said Head Coach Nicky Pearson. “That’s what happens when you play a good team. If you don’t take your opportunities and then have some defensive breakdowns, they’re going to make you pay for that, and they did.”
This isn’t the first time Middlebury has ruined the Polar Bears’ attempt at a perfect season; the Panthers beat Bowdoin in the NCAA Championship Final in 2011 and 2015, putting an end to the Polar Bears’ extensive win streaks both seasons. However, this matchup is the first time the team has lost to Middlebury in the regular season since 2012.
The two programs are consistently at the top of the NESCAC and national rankings, which led to three regular and postseason showdowns last year. This year’s close-fought matchup sets the stage for a very competitive postseason should the two teams face off again, but the Polar Bears are confident in their prospects should that happen.
“In Saturday’s game we actually controlled more of the game than we had in those two [postseason] games last year and limited their opportunities,” said Pearson. “That’s probably what was frustrating for us, but we learned and took many things from the game.”
While Middlebury’s talent highlighted some necessary areas of improvement for Bowdoin, the game also showcased the young team’s strengths and progress so far.
“As a team, one of our goals is to practice the way that we’re going to play and to implement a lot of our drills into our games, and that was our second goal against Middlebury,” said captain Emily McColgan ’17. “We take the positives and negatives from that game and that was a huge positive. Something that we worked on in practice was directly translated into our game play.”
The team’s determination and drive haven’t wavered as it looks ahead to the rest of its season.
“Every time we go into a game, our goal is to win,” said McColgan. “So coming out from a loss, we didn’t reach our goal for one game, but we still have the potential to reach our goal for the rest of our season, keep on our path and try to win every other game that we play in.”
The team bounced back on Wednesday when it faced Wellesley at home, defeating the Blue 4-0. With a strong focus on offensive opportunities, the Polar Bears dominated the game with a 21-1 edge in shots on goal and a 14-1 advantage in penalty corners. The teams last faced each other in the 2015 NCAA Regional Final where a 3-0 shutout sent the Polar Bears to the Final Four.
Even after facing two top-20 teams in the same week, the team hasn’t let rankings or predictions alter its approach.
“Our preparation is consistent,” said Pearson. “We don’t want to be a yo-yo team where we feel like we have to raise our game for this because it’s a more important game than this one or this is a non-conference game so it’s not as important as a NESCAC game—that’s a dangerous game to play and we really stay away from that.”
The Polar Bears will continue their campaign with three home games next week, starting off with a matchup against the University of Southern Maine at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Run of a lifetime: cross country coach reflects
Jerry LeVasseur is one of the toughest guys on campus, according to Cross Country Head Coach Peter Slovenski.
At 78 years old, LeVasseur is a volunteer coach with the cross country and track and field teams and still competes frequently in road races and senior games at regional, national and international levels.
“[LeVasseur] would run a road race on a Saturday, then drive somewhere else and be in another road race on a Saturday afternoon and then wake up and be in a road race on Sunday,” said Slovenski. “He’s just such an enthusiastic competitor and the students have been both impressed by what he does and they’ve learned from what he does.”
Often seen taking pictures of the team at practices and meets, LeVasseur is an integral member of the coaching staff and an unfailing source of positivity and inspiration for the team—for his present accomplishments and past struggles.
When LeVasseur was six years old, he and his mother were caught in the Barnum and Bailey Circus Fire, one of the worst fire disasters in United States history.
The circus tent had been waterproofed with a highly flammable mixture of paraffin and gasoline and the whole tent burned to the ground in ten minutes. One-hundred-sixty-eight people perished, including LeVasseur’s mother, and more than 700 were injured.
LeVasseur came out of the fire alive but in critical condition with severe burns on his upper body, head and arms. He lost half of his right index finger and the rest of his fingertips.
While in the hospital, LeVasseur recalled hearing someone say, “I don’t think he’s going to make it,” and he thought to himself, “Yes, I am.”
From that moment on, LeVasseur has continued to demonstrate immense resilience and determination, not allowing physical and emotional trauma to deter him from his passions.
According to the National Senior Games Association, the doctors who treated his burns said he wouldn’t be able to do anything with his hands, as many of his fingers were fused together. After three years of plastic surgery procedures followed by extensive physical therapy, LeVasseur proved his doctors wrong and regained almost complete ability.
As a high school student, LeVasseur played softball, basketball and football, and was captain of his basketball and football teams his senior year.
“Nothing stopped me,” said LeVasseur. “My upper body was badly burned and maybe it drove me a little bit more. I played softball for years and I’d put a glove on my right hand and take it off to throw.”
LeVasseur continued with these sports until he was 30 and looked to running to stay fit when he stopped playing football and basketball. At 35, LeVasseur and his family began training huskies and competing in dog sled races, winning 11 championships in his 29-year career. It wasn’t until he was 41 that he began competing in running and other track and field events, including the triple jump and his favorite, steeplechase. According to LeVasseur, having a variety of interests helps him be comfortable with change, especially as he gets older.
“I’ve seen people driven by running, but that’s all they did and when they started getting slower, they couldn’t handle it. You have to accept that. You have to do other things. You have to have a well-rounded life,” said LeVasseur. “You accept that you age. We all have that disease and you aren’t going to be able to do the things that you used to at one time although you’d like to. But if you stay fit, you’re going to be able to do them longer and be happier.”
LeVasseur has also dedicated his time to inspiring people to stay fit by serving on the Maine, Connecticut and National Senior Games boards, as well as serving as president of a number of running clubs.
“I got involved because I wanted to make sure the right thing is done for the athlete,” said LeVasseur. “It’s all about what the organization is for, and sometimes people lose sight of that, whether it’s egos or power or whatever. You’ve got to maintain why you’re here: it’s the athlete.”
Although LeVasseur describes himself as competitive, he is also deeply committed to furthering the sport and encouraging other athletes. He is known to help and coach other competitors even during competitions.
“It’s more satisfying to help someone do their best than one’s own accomplishments,” said LeVasseur. “There was a fellow I met from Czech Republic who didn’t speak English and he was going to do the steeplechase for the first time. So before we started, I showed him how to go over the barriers safely, stepping on them and so forth, and he ended up getting third place. I was fifth and he came over, gave me a big hug and what that results in is a friendship.”
A passion to help and share his wealth of knowledge brought LeVasseur to Slovenski’s office in 2004.
“[LeVasseur] understands how to have a great attitude in the face of adversity, and that came through very much in our first conversation and in his first assignments,” said Slovenski. “From his work ethic, his intelligence, his attitude, the way he hustles in any assignment, the way he’s positive about every situation, he has an amazing can-do attitude and he can do it all.”
Yet, as a volunteer coach, LeVasseur feels he has also benefited from and learned a lot through his time here.
“From coaching, I’ve gotten the satisfaction of helping people do better, but also maintaining my fitness,” said LeVasseur. “When I’m working with them, I don’t feel 78 years old; I feel like one of them.”
Fitness is an integral part of LeVasseur’s life and he encourages others to focus on incorporating exercise into their lives as well.
“Since I was 71 or 72 I’ve gone through four cancers and the reason I’m still alive today, I believe, is because I’m fit,” said LeVasseur. “I try to get that across to the athletes here because you don’t have to do the intensity you’re doing, but continue doing something. You’ll feel so much better about your life, your work and everything will be so much easier because you’re fit.”
LeVasseur’s accomplishments have earned him many honors and awards in addition to World Masters Champion titles. LeVasseur ran with the Salt Lake City Olympic torch and the National Senior Games torch, and was inducted into the Maine Running Hall of Fame and the New England 65+ Running Hall of Fame.
“My wife and I were both put into the Maine Senior Games Hall of Fame, which was special,” said LeVasseur. “She’s a swimmer and she took up the triple jump maybe five or six years ago. She’s reigning champion from the Games in Sydney seven years ago and Italy three years ago, so hopefully she can do it again next year.”
In addition to continuing to work with the Bowdoin teams, LeVasseur looks forward to competing in the National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama and the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand next year.
Volleyball secures early victories coming off NESCAC title
After ending last season in the Quarterfinals of the NCAA DIII tournament—the program’s best-ever finish—the women’s volleyball team opened this season 3-1 at the MIT Invitational. With a straight-set win over Colby (0-5 overall) on Tuesday the team stands at 4-1 heading into matchups with Amherst and Williams this weekend.
Although competitors at the MIT Invitational had an extra week to practice as they do not have to comply with NESCAC practice regulations, the Polar Bears still impressed. The team beat Babson (5-2 overall) and Brandeis (3-5 overall) on Friday before taking down Roger Williams (5-4 overall) in a five set nail-biter the next day. Bowdoin, however, fell to tournament champs MIT (8-2 overall) hours later.
The team faired much better at the event than it did last year when it lost three of its four matches, two of them without winning a set. One of last year’s straight-set losses came against MIT, who the Polar Bears later beat in the Sweet 16 to secure their spot in the Elite Eight.
“We were mentally prepared and physically prepared for the weekend,” said Head Coach Erin Cady. Unfortunately we ran out of gas against MIT, but I definitely think talent-wise we match up against them nicely, and if we see them again it will be a different story.”
“Going into MIT, who you know are competitive, it was exhausting,” said captain Quincy Leech ’17. “But, I’m looking forward to seeing them in the postseason.”
Part of the team’s confidence stems from Cady’s dedication and mentality. Last year’s historic season was Cady’s first with the team and despite only recently arriving in Brunswick, Cady found her bearings at Bowdoin fairly quickly.
“She is the kind of person I feel like was always meant to be at Bowdoin. [The transition] was very seamless,” said Leech. “[Former Head Coach Karen] Corey did amazing things building up the program and that is obviously evident looking at our banners. But it’s just really cool that Coach Cady so effortlessly took that and made it into exactly, I think, what Bowdoin volleyball can become.”
In order to make this season as successful as last, the team will have to overcome the loss of last season’s captains, Christy Jewett ’16 and Hailey Wahl ’16. Not only were Jewett and Wahl instrumental in the team’s on-court success—Jewett had nearly 200 more career kills than any other Polar Bear—but also in their dynamic off the court as well. Since the 2014 team had no seniors, last season was their second as captains and that stability in personnel may have helped the team through the coaching transition.
Despite the losses of Jewett and Wahl, the team is confident and views the roster changes as an opportunity to confuse opponents rather than stifle its own offense.
“[Jewett] was obviously an amazing player for us and an offensive threat,” said Cady. “Looking this year at what we have, spreading our offense will be key for us. Other coaches look at our stats and they don’t know who we’re going to set. I think that’s something we really want to push, having that offensive diversity.”
The Polar Bears will put this new offensive strategy to the test tonight when they face Amherst, the only NESCAC team to defeat them last season, at 8 p.m. in Morrell Gymnasium. The team hopes to fix some of the problems it had against MIT, yet still knows all too well Cady won’t be content with victories this weekend.
“One of Cady’s biggest strengths is that she’s always thinking 10 steps ahead,” said Leech. “Once we think we’ve mastered something...she’s always trying to improve and I think that’s going to carry us far.”
No. 2 field hockey opens 2016 season with win
Coming off a 21-1 campaign and a NESCAC title last year, the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) ranked Bowdoin No. 2 in its Division III preseason poll. NESCAC rival and defending national champion Middlebury took the No. 1 spot, setting the two teams up for another year of close competition in both the NESCAC and national arenas.
Bowdoin opened its season on Wednesday with a 3-1 win over the University of New England.
Going into the opening match, captain Kimmy Ganong’s ’17 expectations for the team were high.
“[We want to] definitely come out firing, get a win right away, start our season off on the right foot and to play to every last whistle and for all 70 minutes,” said Ganong.
The team did just that as first year Kara Finnerty closed out the match in the 68th minute with the Polar Bears’ third goal. The decisive win starts off what is sure to be another strong, competitive season for the program.
“[The team is] coming off a terrific season and the returners will have learned a lot from what they achieved, and that’s what we’re taking from the season,” Head Coach Nicky Pearson said. “We don’t look back and we don’t look too far forward. The level that they played at will just give them confidence, and that I think is what will drive them as individuals this year.”
However, falling short of a title in the National Championship Final for two consecutive years remains a motivating force in the minds of the upperclassmen.
“It still hurts thinking about the national championship, not only last year but the year before that too,” said Ganong. “What’s special about the seniors is that we won the national championship our freshman year so we know what it takes. We’ve been there, we’ve done it, and we’re determined to repeat that—to go all the way and come home with a championship.”
As they start their campaign, Pearson and the team are honing in on maintaining a strong defense and converting on scoring opportunities.
“The game is won and lost in the circles,” said Pearson. “So our focus is to be solid defensively and really limit the scoring opportunities our opponents have in our defensive circle and then in our offensive circle focusing on our preparation and execution of the opportunities we have to score.”
The team faces a number of challenges this season, one of the largest being adapting to a high degree of turnover both on the team and coaching staff.
In addition to a substantial class of eight first years, the program welcomes Kelly McManus as the new assistant coach. After graduating from Bates in 2012, McManus was an assistant coach at MIT for the last four seasons.
“McManus is a very accomplished coach,” said Pearson. “Her priority is to coach defense and straight away she took the time to get to know those players and to coach them in preseason; her transition into our team has been seamless.”In addition, last year’s senior class left some large shoes to fill, such as Kim Kahnweiler ’16 who was recently named an NCAA Woman of the Year Top 30 nominee.
Kahnweiler isn’t the first member of the Bowdoin Field Hockey program to receive this honor. A testament to the program Pearson has built over the last 21 years, Michaela Calnan ’11 and Elena Crosley ’13 were also NESCAC nominees for NCAA Woman of the Year. This honor recognizes not only athletic and academic achievement, but service and leadership during nominees’ collegiate careers.
According to Pearson, the leadership of the team’s senior class has been instrumental in this season’s transition.
“There have been a lot of new faces in the program, but the speed with which the team has come together is impressive,” said Pearson. “I give them a lot of credit, particularly to our captains and our seniors. This whole senior class has presented a united front to the team about what we stand for, what the expectations are and what an honor it is to wear the jersey.”
Even with the loss of 5 seniors and a few underclassmen, the team has an untouched midfield line and a strong core of versatile returners, giving them a solid foundation to build off of this season.
“[Pearson] always keeps in mind the future and sets the players up to really know how to play multiple positions and be ready to go in at any point,” said Ganong. “She says she’ll always play the best player that’s performing for the team at that moment, so whether you’re a senior or a first year you could be called upon at any moment and you’re expected to really play your best and win for the team.”
The team had a chance to test these changes in team strategy and dynamic, as well as identify strengths and weaknesses going forward, in scrimmages against NESCAC competitors Tufts and Bates before the season opener.
“Our spacing, passing the ball and supporting the ball carrier were big priorities for us and I thought we did well in regard to that,” said Pearson. “We created some good opportunities but I think we were disappointed considering the amount of possession we had that we didn’t convert that into more goals. So it’s going to be a focus for us and has been over the last couple of days.”
The team faces Amherst in its NESCAC opener Saturday at 11 a.m. at home.
Men’s tennis confident heading into NESCACs
The men’s tennis team closed out the season with a close-fought loss to Tufts as it heads into the NESCAC playoffs this weekend. The Polar Bears enter the tournament as the second seed, which earns them a first-round bye as they wait to play the winner of the third-seeded Williams and sixth-seeded Amherst match.
While the Polar Bears started off leading 2-1 after the doubles matches, they ultimately fell to the Jumbos 5-4, with the final match decided by a two-point margin.
“We competed to the best of our ability and were as focused as possible given the conditions. It’s hard to be proud of any loss, but I think it’s really healthy to encounter adversity,” said captain Luke Trinka ’16. “This is a match that we walk away from not feeling like there are a bunch of things we could’ve done to win the match, but like we did everything we possibly could that was in our control to try and achieve the best possible result, and it just didn’t go our way.”
While ending the season with one of the only two losses for the program this spring is disappointing, the team looks to use this loss as motivation to work hard and stay focused going into the postseason this weekend.
“If we needed any further validation that no team is good enough to simply show up and win, that’s it,” said captain Chase Savage ’16. “It’s probably the best dose of reality from the standpoint of just knowing that we have to bring it every single match, both in terms of energy and also finding a way to play our best.”
Tufts, ranked fifth in the NESCAC and 13th nationally, is only one of the formidable opponents in the NESCAC tournament this weekend. All six competing teams are ranked in the top 15 nationally. While decisive 8-1 and 9-0 victories against Williams and Amherst respectively during the regular season bode well for the team’s success, the players refuse to take their position for granted.
“It’s really easy to look at box scores and say we’re going to walk in and waltz our way through Saturday. We’re not going to,” said Savage. “It’s going to be a grind. If we play Williams, I guarantee they’re going to come at us and come at us hard. If it’s Amherst, they have to win NESCACs in order to make NCAAs this year, so all their guys are going to come out and swing from the hip. So we can’t by any stretch look past Saturday.”
This year, the team enters the tournament as the second seed, matching the highest seeding in program history, and closes out the season with a record of 14-2, the strongest regular season record in recent team history. Head Coach Conor Smith noted that one critical difference with this year’s team is much stronger doubles play.
“With previous teams, we had been playing pretty consistent top-10, maybe even top-five, singles, but you couldn’t say that about our doubles,” said Smith. “If we evaluated our fall results, we had a good fall singles-wise, but we really didn’t doubles-wise. We still had a long way to go, and the guys did a great job of committing themselves in the off season to improving that and getting prepared for the season.”
From the off season to playoffs, hard work and commitment have enabled the players to continue improving in all aspects of their play and progress to the dominant force they are today.
“This team’s work ethic is pretty unparalleled to any former Bowdoin tennis team that I’ve been on,” said Trinka. “It’s not just the hours that the guys spend on the court or that people spend in the gym. There’s a lot of mental preparation that goes into the sport as well, and that has been one of the major reasons why we’ve done so well so far.”Bowdoin plays its first match at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow at Bates.
Bowdoin hosts, takes second place at Robocup US Open
The robots had issues detecting the ball, which was black and white this year. The ball had been bright orange in previous years.
An impressive performance by the Bowdoin RoboCup team last weekend earned them a second place finish at the U.S. Open. They look to build off of this success as they prepare for the World Championships, which will be held in Germany this June.
The Northern Bites are a part of the Standard Platform League (SPL), in which teams compete using five humanoid robots on small, indoor fields. Because all of the teams use practically identical robots that operate completely autonomously, each team’s strengths are based almost entirely on software.
“The goal is by 2050 that a RoboCup team will play the FIFA World Champions using pure human rules in a regular game of soccer,” said Faculty Adviser and Professor of Computer Science Eric Chown. “So every year we make the rules a little bit more like our regular soccer rules—the field gets bigger, we have more robots, eventually we’re going to move outdoors.”
These changes present daunting challenges each year to the teams, forcing them to adapt their code and approach to the sport to accommodate the new rules.
This year the game changed from using a small orange ball to a regular black and white soccer ball. Previously the ball was usually the only orange item on the field, allowing many teams to identify it by its color. However, with various black and white objects surrounding the robots, from the robots themselves to goal posts and field lines, color becomes a much less reliable indicator. Thus for many teams, altering their ball detection techniques was the biggest challenge of this season.
“We’ve seen a lot of teams have trouble detecting the ball,” said aptain Megan Maher ’16. “Actually one of the reasons that the winning team, UT Austin Villa, won is because they had such a great ball detection method, so they wouldn’t lose it that often.”
While the team ultimately fell to a very strong University of Texas team in the championship match, their progression from a shaky 0-0 start to a 2-0 win against University of Miami in the semifinals made the weekend a definite success for the program.
“We started from a position this weekend where it didn’t seem like we could do anything and by the end of the weekend we had finished in second place,” said Chown. “The first half of the championship game was a legitimately great game. Our goalie had been spectacular, he’d made a couple of really great saves and our defense was really solid, we just weren’t getting any offense.”
“We definitely performed a lot better in our last game than in our first game,” said captain Nicole Morin ’16. “Which is good for us because it means we were really great at improving stuff in between games and identifying our weaknesses, which is what the U.S. Open is all about, finding where we need to grow for this summer.”
Looking ahead, the league is constantly pushing itself to achieve the seemingly impossible.
“When I was in graduate school, to get a robot to walk on two legs was almost unheard of and it certainly would involve several Ph.D.’s,” said Chown. “Now our robots walk, and if we’re going to continue to move forward towards real soccer, we need robots that can run. It’s hard to imagine right now since there are I think two robots in the world that have ever run and they’ve been the result of millions of dollars of research.”
The walk engines that control most of the robots are just one example of the numerous technological advancements RoboCup has prompted over the years. In the program’s 11-year history, Bowdoin has stepped up to these challenges at every point, even as one of the only completely undergraduate teams and one of the smallest schools in the SPL.
“Bowdoin students are the second best team in the United States right now. The biggest thing for me is showing Bowdoin students and also people at other schools that our students are capable of anything,” said Chown. “You give them an opportunity, and they will succeed at the same level as these graduate students from around the world who’ve had more training and have more time to work on this and everything else. To me, that’s the pinnacle of the RoboCup experience.
Hall of Fame coach Sue Enquist and building foundations for success
Renowned softball coach Sue Enquist passed on advice from 26 years of coaching at both the collegiate and Olympic levels to Bowdoin athletes and coaches in her talk, “Competitive Character Blueprints: Building Sustainable and Relevant Leadership Systems,” at Kresge Auditorium on Tuesday.
Before starting her coaching career, Enquist played softball for UCLA, helping the program reach its first national championship. Her career batting average of .401 was a program record that remained untouched for 24 years. Enquist went on to have an incredible career as head coach of the UCLA softball program. The left the team with a a combined 11 national championships as a player and coach. Enquist also won a gold medal as the coach of the USA softball team in the 1996 Olympic games, the first time softball was included in the Olympics.
During Enquist’s years as head coach of the UCLA program, her teams won 83% of their games. Yet, despite all of the great teams that she coached, Enquist noted that she had seen her teams fail many times.
“[We were] ranked number one in the country, [had] nine returners, and we got knocked out in the second round [of the World Series],” said Enquist.
“Every year I coached, every single team went to the World Series, and we’re really proud of that consistency. But what about the years where we were supposed to win the World Series and didn’t get past the first round?”
She explained the reasons behind this team’s failures.
“When entitlement starts to flourish in a team, when people think we’re supposed to win today, that’s when you’re in trouble. That’s when the game comes up, and it bites you in the butt,” said Enquist. “You say you never saw it coming—yes, you saw it coming. You looked in the other dugout and said game over.”
These points particularly stuck out to men’s tennis captain Chase Savage ‘16, as his team continues to face the pressures of one of its strongest seasons in recent program history.
“Hearing from an 11-time national champion that there were teams who she thought underperformed but were still in the top four in the country I think shows a lot and says a lot about the power of having a complete backing from every member of your team,” said Savage. “You can have all the accolades in the world, and you can have all the talent, but if you go out there and you don’t respect your opponent, your opponent can still beat you that day.”
“You should never expect your opponent to give you anything,” he continued. “I think as a team, we’re trying to capture that this year by emphasizing that every day in practice, we have to earn it because every single match we play, we’re going to have to earn it as well.”
Having retired in 2006, Enquist’s talk also focused on how the key leadership characteristics built through athletics translate to life outside of the collegiate athletic sphere. From the relationship with excellence that comes from playing at an elite college to harnessing the positive attributes of competition, Enquist described how she’s seen and experienced the benefits of these traits.
“One year we were in the finals of the World Series. My catcher goes down, the backup catcher goes down, and the third catcher goes down. We’re ranked number one in the country, and I have a backup right fielder as the starting catcher. She hasn’t had a catcher’s glove on in six years. But this is what I know about sports—you have mastered fundamentals that allow you to be adjusted that you actually can perform very well when we tweak your role,” said Enquist.
According to Enquist, this ability to master fundamentals and adjust well translates to the business world. “So when you get that first job and they say ‘Hey you’re a director, but we need a vice president,’ the first thing you’re going to think is ‘I’m not sure I’m worthy,’ ‘I’m not sure I’m capable.’ When in doubt, raise your hand and say ‘I can do that.’ Figure it out later, because your general skill set is going to allow you to do so many things outside of that specific job.”
As a senior, Savage reflected on how his athletic experience sets himself up to be very comfortable with success and failure in any aspect of his life.
“In my four years here, athletics has been a place where I’ve failed, but it’s a place that allowed me to get back up. The win or the loss really forces you to confront failure on a daily basis, and it forces you to pick yourself up,” he said.
“If you don’t learn how to pick yourself up, and it’s not just sports, if you don’t find the way to get over adversity, you’re really going to struggle.” He continued, “Every person in this world, no matter how smart, no matter how athletic, no matter how talented, has a day or a moment or many moments when they’re simply not as good as somebody else.”
Hausman ’16 signs to play professionally in Spain
After an exceptional career as a leading scorer for Bowdoin men’s basketball, Lucas Hausman ’16 is moving up to the next level by playing professional basketball in Spain for the next year.Hausman has been a key component of the Polar Bears’ offense for the past two years, being named NESCAC Player of the Year in 2015 and putting together an even more impressive senior season.
This year, his consistently high level of play enabled Hausman to pass the 1000-career-points threshold. With 581 points this season, he broke the program records for most points scored and average points per game over the course of a single season, leading the NESCAC in both categories.
Not only was he one of the best scorers in the history of the program, Hausman is one of the top scorers in recent NESCAC history as his remarkable 25.3 points per game this season was the highest average of any player since the NESCAC began conference play in 2000-01.
His exceptional performance over the last two years, in addition to his many accolades, allowed a future in professional basketball to become a reality.
“It’s always been an ideal thing, kind of like a dream in some ways, to be able to keep playing basketball after school is done,” said Hausman. “Definitely the last two years helped me think about my future differently. I kind of realized that this is something that I could actually do, that it could actually become a reality.”
At the end of his senior season, Hausman signed with an agent recommended to him by John Swords ’15 and Will Hanley ’12, both of whom are currently playing professional basketball abroad, and began the recruitment process.
“When basketball became a reality, it was kind of like this is going to be my one chance to do that for the rest of my life. It’s kind of a now or never type thing,” said Hausman. “I can’t go off to work for five years and then decide that I want to go and try to play basketball again, so I figured this is my only chance in my life to do this, so I might as well give it a try.”
Hausman signed to play for a year with Basket Villa de Mieres 2012, a team based just outside of the city of Oviedo in northern Spain. The team plays in the Española de Baloncesto Amateur league (EBA), which is the fourth tier of Spanish league play. Within the EBA, the teams are divided into ranked groups, which they can be promoted or demoted from based on their performance that season. BVM 2012 currently ranks third in Group AB, the second highest group in the EBA and the same group as Swords’ current team, Instituto Rosalia de Castro.
“In talking to my agent and John Swords too, it sounded like a pretty cool place to be, and they have a good basketball culture there,” said Hausman. “They work you hard, and right now they’re one of the top teams in the EBA. My goal is, hopefully, if I work hard and play well enough, to continue to move up through the different tiers of leagues over there.”
Hausman expects to bring his strong scoring talent to his new team, as well as grow into what he anticipates will be a more physical style of play. While Hausman hopes to progress through the Spanish leagues, he hasn’t set many expectations or bounds for his time abroad.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say that there are limits for me,” said Hausman. “I would be open to going to other places. I think realistically I would stay in Europe; I don’t know if that necessarily means Spain or somewhere in the area, but I’m definitely open to exploring other places and other options if they arise.”
Continuing to improve his play will be the focus of his time there, but Hausman also looks forward to broadening his horizons and immersing himself in a foreign culture.
“I’ve lived in the United States my whole life, lived in New England my whole life, and I haven’t gone to too many other places, so I think it’s going to be a really exciting opportunity for me just to live in a different culture and see what the norms are there,” said Hausman.
The new culture and language aren’t the only changes Hausman faces. After four years of playing for Bowdoin, the graduating senior faces the jarring transition to playing with completely new teammates from very different backgrounds.
“It’s going to be a weird change for sure,” said Hausman. “I’m really going to miss playing with those guys every day because some of the best times of my life have been just getting to go and play pickup and mess around and have that team atmosphere with the guys that are currently on the team.”
While the end of his Bowdoin career is bittersweet, Hausman is looking to this new and interesting phase of his life with anticipation.
“I’m looking forward to it a lot,” said Hausman. “It’s going to be different, it’s going to be a cool experience and it’s going to be something that I’ll probably be able to look back on in 25 or 30 years and be really glad that I did it and that I took that shot.”
Receiver Seamus Power ’16 participates in CFL combine
With the end of the fall season came what Seamus Power ‘16 thought was the end of his football career. However, an invitation to the Toronto Regional Canadian Football League Combine changed his plans.
“I finished football this fall and thought I was done,” said Power. “Then I got the email with the invite and was like ‘This is a cool opportunity. It’d be cool to just go and participate for one day.’”
The all-day event held on March 10 ended up opening up many more options for continuing to play after Bowdoin.
“The interesting thing from being at the combine was that I technically have a fifth year of eligibility in Canada,” said Power. “A lot of coaches came up and talked to me and were trying to get me to come back and play one year in Canada and do a one-year master’s. So I have one more year of college football, in theory, if I wanted to go back to Canada.”
The Canadian Football League (CFL) holds three regional combines each March in order to determine the athlete pool for the May 10 draft. Over the course of the day, the athletes’ strength, speed and agility are measured through six tests: the bench press, the vertical jump, the broad jump, the three-cone drill, the shuttle run and the 40-yard dash.
Forty-five athletes representing colleges and teams from all over Canada and the US were invited to the combine, where they broke into position groups as they went through the tests.“It was just me and 11 other wide receivers, and everyone was from different schools, said Powers. “So my favorite part was just talking about your football experience for the last four years and meeting different people who’ve played football in western Canada.”
While a strong wide receiver for the Bowdoin program, Power hasn’t been in the position for long. He shifted from quarterback to wide receiver after a shoulder injury rendered him unable to throw. However, he attributes some of his biggest strengths at wide receiver to this change.
“I think it was a natural transition to wide receiver because it was just the other side of the equation,” said Power. “Normally, I was throwing to the wide receiver, so I already had a good concept of how the offense works and how the routes work. My strength as a wide receiver is I understand the spacing on the field. I’m not the fastest guy, I don’t have the best hands, but I think I run pretty good routes, and I understand what we’re trying to do as an offense.”
While playing football at Bowdoin, Power also joined the indoor and outdoor track teams for the winter and spring seasons. The in-season training for indoor track this winter particularly helped Power focus on his speed and agility going into the combine. Similar to the NFL Combines, the 40-yard dash is usually the most prestigious and important test of the day, as it tests athletes’ speed and ability to explode from a stationary start.
While the combines are run quite similarly, the CFL differs from the NFL in a number of key ways. Unlike the NFL, the CFL has mandated quotas that state that the 44-man roster of each team must include 20 Canadian citizens. The game itself also differs in the size of the field and the number of downs, as Canadian football is only played with three downs. These changes in the game can make the transition from American football to Canadian football quite difficult, yet that doesn’t hinder the frequent crossover between the two leagues as the CFL is a common gateway into the NFL.
Bowdoin Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club looks to reach the next level
The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club is branching out and becoming more competitive. It sent two senior members to the ICON Sports competition last weekend, one of the largest Jiu-Jitsu tournaments in Maine. Phil Koch ’15 and Dan Navarro ’16 represented the club in the blue belt division and placed second and fourth respectively, a strong outing especially considering their limited competition experience.
"[Phil] and I were not sure how we were going to do going into it because we were fighting at blue belt, which is a pretty difficult division and neither of us had done that before," said Navarro. "The only people we fight are other Bowdoin students, so it was a little hard to judge how we were going to compete against these men, a lot of whom are professional MMA fighters or amateur boxers or whatever, coming from all sorts of martial arts experiences, and we did really well."
Jiu-Jitsu is a submission-based martial art that focuses on using your opponent's weight to your advantage and pushing them past their comfort levels. While the matches start standing up, most of the fighting is done on the ground as the fighters use chokes, holds and locks to make their opponent so uncomfortable they tap out or are "submitted." Gaining this advantage over your opponent is more about leverage and tactical maneuvers than brute strength.
"Part of what I love about the sport is that it teaches you to use your opponent's weight against them, so one of the points of it is that you can beat someone who is bigger and stronger than you are," said Elizabeth Miller ’18. "Strength is important in this sport, but it's not necessary per se. So it's just nice to know the ways you can handle yourself and have that awareness so that if someone comes up to me in the street, especially with everything that's been going on this year, I could hold my own."
Miller first started Jiu-Jitsu to learn some basic self-defense moves, which is a common motivation for newcomers as the sport's technique focuses on defending yourself from a larger attacker. However, Jiu-Jitsu can feel odd and unnatural at first, especially for those without any wrestling or martial arts background.
"It was really scary at first and I felt very awkward, but as you learn you just get more comfortable with it and more comfortable with being uncomfortable," said Miller. "Everyone is so supportive and so nice and they're just there to help you. I love it, I'm so glad I did it."
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the club is keeping new members. While the club has grown substantially since it was first founded with two members in 2011, for many newcomers the sport can be daunting and the process of improvement long and demanding.
"When you come into Jiu-Jitsu, it doesn't matter how tough you are, it doesn't matter how big you are, the first day you hit the mat someone's going to submit you and you're going to feel like you're in danger of getting hurt and that's a pretty humbling experience," said Navarro.
"Then to get good at the sport, you really have to drill it and like any other sport, you have to do some boring things in practice and the fun stuff comes after," said Navarro. "My biggest recommendation would be if you're really interested, come to two or three practices to try it out before you really give up, because the people who do that have all stuck with it."
The club practices three days a week in the Sargent Dance Studio on the third floor of Smith Union and welcomes newcomers of all experience levels to contact Navarro if they're interested.
Men's basketball falls to Amherst to end season
The men’s basketball team fell 76-83 to second seed Amherst last Saturday in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament. It is unlikely that the Polar Bears recieve a bid to the NCAA tournament.
After falling behind in the first 10 minutes, the Polar Bears rallied to tie the game before the end of the first half, and kept the score close until the end. However, they were ultimately unable to come back after Amherst scored some key three-pointers in the last few minutes.
“We still stayed right with [Amherst], competed with them and played a great game, so I was very happy with how we battled, our performance and the way we came out and played,” said Head Coach Tim Gilbride. “Maybe just one play here or there could’ve made the difference in the game, but unfortunately we didn’t end up getting that one play.”
As predicted by the team last week, rebounding was key in keeping the game close. The Polar Bears had a 42-34 edge over Amherst in rebounds, led by senior Matt Palecki, who had nine rebounds on the day. Senior Lucas Hausman led the team in scoring with 29 points in his final game as a Polar Bear. He averaged 25.3 points per game this season, setting a new school record.
With such strong performances, the team is proud of how they played against Amherst, who is not only seeded second in the NESCAC but ranked first in the Division III Northeast region. The Purple & White have put together a consistently strong program as they won the NESCAC Title for three consecutive years before Wesleyan put a stop to their streak in last year’s championship match.
“That’s how you want to finish a season, playing your best and seeing where that takes you and how far it can take you, and it took us to a real close game with one of the better teams in the country,” said Gilbride. “I think everybody feels good about that. But our guys are such good competitors, especially our senior group, that when you’re that close, you want to win the game.”
While the loss is disappointing, the team was able to finish their season with a winning record of 12-11. Much of the team’s success in the back half of the season came from players rising to meet the demands of the team, which continued in the quarterfinal matchup.
“Our underclassmen really stepped up, especially the freshman class. They showed a lot of grit and determination when it came to the Amherst game,” said Blake Gordon ‘18. “Our senior captain [Jake Donnelly] was injured for the Amherst game so a first year [Tim Ahn] started who played tremendously well during the game, and I think that will translate to next year.”
With this season’s strong finish, the underclassmen on the team will carry a lot of experience and confidence into next year. The current first years are expected to continue their critical role on the team next season, especially after Jack Simonds ’19 ended up as the team’s second leading scorer this season. However, the program will also have to make up for the loss of the three graduating seniors.
“Lucas Hausman, Matt Palecki and Jake Donnelly have really done a good job of bringing this whole group together,” said Gilbride. “Our team’s really shown a lot of progress, especially right here at the end of the season in terms of playing very well together, and that really happens and can only happen if you get great leadership and our three senior captains have been great with that.”
The senior class has provided the team with not only strong leadership off the court, but also immense skill and talent on the court. All three seniors were consistent starters for the team both this season and last season. Palecki led the team this season in rebounds per game with 6.9, while Donnelly led in assists per game with 3.4. After being named NESCAC Player of the Year last year, Hausman continued his strong trajectory and surpassed the 1,000 career points milestone this season, finishing his Bowdoin career with 1,482 points, which ranks seventh in school history.
“In Lucas, we’re losing one of the best scorers in the history of Bowdoin College basketball, so that won’t be easy to replace,” said Gilbride. “We’ll miss all three, but I think we have a real nice nucleus to build with, a nice collection of guys that will be returning and hopefully some other new players to add to the mix, so we’re really looking forward to next year.”
“Ending this season the way that we did, with three big wins at home and then going to Amherst and fighting them close the whole game, I think that transitions into next year knowing that we can compete with any team in the NESCAC,” said Gordon. “We have the right players, we have the right attitude, we just need to show that we can prove that throughout the whole season.”
Men’s basketball sneaks into NESCAC playoffs
Wins against Wesleyan (18-6 overall, 5-5 NESCAC) and Connecticut College (12-12 overall, 3-7 NESCAC) last weekend narrowly propelled the men’s basketball team (12-10 overall, 4-6 NESCAC) into the postseason. The Camels and Polar Bears were both 3-6 going into the regular season finale, which made the game win-or-go-home for both teams. The victory gave Bowdoin the seventh seed, and the team will face second seed Amherst (20-4 overall, 8-2 NESCAC) in their NESCAC quarterfinal matchup at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
The Polar Bears came into last weekend with a conference record of 2-6, feeling the pressures of not making the NESCAC Tournament for what would’ve been the first time in 15 years. Yet when it counted most, the team was able to come together and hopefully turn their season around.
“We’ve raised our level of intensity on the defensive end so that we have become a pretty good, solid, defensive team, which has helped us in winning the last three games leading into the tournament,” said Head Coach Tim Gilbride. “And our understanding and concentration on the offensive end in trying to get good shots and shots for our best shooters has developed too. Those two things have got us to the point where now we are playing, I believe, our best basketball at the right time of the year.”
The team’s defensive strength will be tested this weekend by Amherst’s staunch offense. Armed with many strong shooters and tall players, Amherst ranks second in the league in scoring offense after averaging 82.3 points per game this season.
“With [Amherst], we will have to defend a lot of shooters,” said Gilbride. “They have a lot of guys that can shoot the ball well, they have good size, their big guys shoot it well, as well as their guards, so that’ll be a main focus for us during the week.”
Keeping the ball out of Amherst’s hands will go a long way in keeping Bowdoin in the match this weekend.
“Our rebounding is going to be big because they have a 6’9”-6’10”, really athletic center and a couple other big guys that come off the bench so as they are a very good offensive team,” said captain Matt Palecki ‘16. “It’ll be key for us to make sure that we only limit them to one shot every time they get down the floor and hopefully if we’re playing good defense that’s a difficult shot or a contested shot. Obviously that’ll be a difficult task, but hopefully if we can do that, we can end up with a good result.”
The team had a strong showing against the Lord Jeffs during the regular season, going up by 17 points in the first few minutes only to lose after a strong second half by Amherst. While the result was not ideal, Gilbride remains positive about their first half and what the team can accomplish after their progress this season.
“We showed that we can match up with them and do some things if we play at our best, and we’re really looking forward to it,” said Gilbride.
This year’s squad features 5 upperclassmen, 5 sophomores and 5 first years. With such a young team, Gilbride expected some transition time for the team to come together, yet attributes the program’s success and growth throughout this process to the strong senior leadership on the team and many players rising to the occasion when asked of them.
In the last week of the regular season, forward Jack Simonds ’19 earned a NESCAC Player of the Week honor as he helped drive the Polar Bear’s offense, averaging 23.7 points and 7.7 rebounds per game on the week.
“[Simonds] is a very talented player. He’s got a couple big things going for himself; he’s 6’5”-6’6”, so he can score some easy baskets around the basket depending on who’s covering him, but he also shoots the ball very well,” said Gilbride. “What has developed is he’s really getting a good feel for when are opportunities to score. There were good situations for him to score during this week, our team got him the ball in those situations and he came through.”All of the first years have had an immediate impact this season and been a large part of the team’s ability to turn the tide of their season.
“Our whole freshman class is a testament to Coach Gilbride and Coach Faucher’s recruiting; they’ve been phenomenal for us in some big spots,” said Palecki. “As a group, there’s a lot of potential for them, not even just at the end of this year but for the next three years to come.”
Curling excited for nationals in Minnesota after strong season
The curling team will travel to Chaska, MN this March to compete at the USA Curling College Championships for the first time since the team won the Division IV title in 2011. While only in the program’s sixth year, the Polar Bears have had a lot of success this season. They’re currently ranked third overall and first in their region.
“We’ve been really happy with the way this year has been going so far,” said Lauren Bostick ’16. “Since it’s winding down, we just have to keep that momentum going until Nationals, and then, even though we’re graduating and we don’t have much stake in what happens afterwards, of course we hope that the team will continue and grow.”
Looking forward, Silas Domy ’16 is both positive and cautious about the team’s prospects at Nationals.
“[We’re] sort of up in the air. We’ve both won and lost against most other teams we’ve played,” said Domy. “Yet I don’t think we’ve ever had four of our five best players on the same team in a competition this year.
Since only four people participate in each game, teams with stronger rosters won’t have their strongest lineup compete in every game or every tournament. This year’s team has a strong core of 10 players, representing all class years and experience levels, forming the program’s deepest squad in recent years.
“We have a very cohesive team,” said Domy. “Without that, we probably wouldn’t have a team because I think Hamilton is the only other similarly sized school that usually has a team in the entire country.”
With more committed players this season, the team has been more aggressive in its scheduling, traveling all the way to Rochester, NY and Philadelphia, PA for tournaments, which are called bonspiels. The team co-hosted the 6th Annual Crash ‘Spiel with the University of Maine on January 24, featuring eight teams from seven colleges. The team will also be hosting a one-day bonspiel this weekend in Cape Cod, which will feature eight teams from Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York.
Outside of some assistance from adults at the curling club in Belfast, ME, the team is entirely student run. Domy and Bostick have organized and led the team since their sophomore year, managing everything from scheduling, to coaching new players, to driving the team to practices and bonspiels. While challenging, the seniors note their experience as one of the program’s key strengths.
“The fact that we had two years to figure things out makes the program stronger,” said Bostick. “Of course it would be better if we had upperclassmen to guide us along the way, but since we’ve been in charge, there hasn’t been that change in leadership where things would have to start over. The development has been slow, but I think it’s really rewarding to see it come to fruition this year. Now we know what to do, and we just have to do it.”
Curling at its most fundamental level involves two teams sliding large stones across a sheet of ice, competing to have the stone that’s closest to the center of the target that’s painted on the ice. The four players on each team rotate through the roles of throwing the stone, using a broom to control the speed and direction of the stone and directing the other team members. A standard game consists of eight ends, which are sections of the game similar to innings in baseball. During an end, each team throws eight stones, and the team with the stone closest to the center of the target wins points for that end. The games are fairly low scoring. Typically neither team will have more than ten points at the end of competition.
The team holds weekly practices in Sidney J. Watson Arena, although the hockey rink isn’t the most suitable environment for curling training, as the sport takes place on differently textured ice. However, these casual practices serve as a great way for new people to try out the sport and get introduced to the team.
“You don’t have to be particularly strong or fast. You don’t need to have won the genetic lottery to be good at this,” said Bostick. “It’s just something you commit to, and you learn the technique and understand the strategy, and it’s something you can play for a really long time against all age levels.
Injuries, departures plague men’s and women’s squash
With less than four weeks until the National Championships, the men’s and women’s squash teams are preparing for the final stretch of their season. Both teams have been battling diminished lineups in the past few matches. The men’s team is currently ranked 21st nationally with a record of 4-9, and the women’s team is ranked 17th with a record of 7-6.
Last weekend, both teams competed again Brown and lost their fifth shutout of the season. According to Tomas Fortson, who is the head coach for both teams, the tough losses show that the biggest challenge facing both teams is bringing a healthy and complete nine-person roster into each match.
“We’re meeting our challenges well. We have some significant ones, especially in terms of numbers, expected number of players originally and the ones who we’re actually playing with right now,” Fortson said.
“The men’s team is dealing with injuries and illnesses, and the women’s team has to deal with players who were supposed to be on the team but quit. So the same end result, which is not being able to have the expected complete roster, comes from different reasons,” Fortson added.
Injuries and illnesses reduced the men’s roster of 13 down to eight against Brown, forced the Polar Bears to forfeit their ninth match. In addition to losing key players, the absences in the roster force healthy players to move up the team’s ladder and compete against higher ranked opponents.
“Obviously [the injuries] make it harder because you’re not playing your strongest players where they should be,” said men’s captain Christian Dorff ‘17. “It just means that everyone’s going to have to play a bit harder and play a tougher opponent.”
In the face of formidable competition and thin lineups, Fortson notes that his teams have been growing in overcoming the obstacles they face and individuals have been improving as well.
“Improving your skills is the big focus of our program beyond competing and trying to win as many matches and represent Bowdoin well,” said Fortson. “In the end, [squash is] a sport that allows players to improve their skills significantly, and that’s the main focus for us. So whether we have 10 players or 15 players, each individual player is in a position to continue to develop [his or her] skills, so we keep the focus on that, and we’ve been doing well with it fortunately.”
This focus on continuous improvement is a cornerstone of Fortson’s program. According to some of the players, this focus sets the Polar Bears apart from many other collegiate teams.
“A lot of players at the other schools will start out as really strong players and remain really strong players but maybe not improve as much,” said women’s captain Torey Lee ’15. “At Bowdoin, we take a lot of people who haven’t played much before as well and people who’ve not specialized in squash and played a bunch of different sports in high school, and then the expectation is that you’ll really improve and grow in your four years at Bowdoin.”
Despite many setbacks, both teams have used the season’s obstacles as motivation, leading to strong showings in January against Wesleyan and Hamilton.
“For us, the season is kind of just beginning because we’re now playing a lot of teams that ranking-wise are similar to us,” said men’s captain Alex Reisley ’16.
Both teams will face Connecticut College tonight at 7 p.m. in the Lubin Squash Center before heading to Colby on Saturday. With Colby ranked 20th nationally for both the men and women, this weekend should be filled with competitive play and the opportunity for either team to move up in the rankings before Nationals, where they expect to play more similarly competitive teams.
“The way postseason is done in squash is you’re grouped with the teams right around your ranking, so it’s a very exciting way to finish for all the teams when they go to Nationals,” said Fortson. “You know you’re going to be playing all of your matches with like rivals versus going up against some top seed team that you have no chance of ever beating. So competitively, we want to be our best. We want to peak at Nationals.”
In the final weeks of the season, Fortson’s goals are clear with both squads working towards putting forward their strongest performances at Nationals in a few weeks.
“Right now with the men’s team, our goal is to try to be healthier so that we can have a full roster and for the women’s team, to stay healthy with the barely enough numbers that we have and have everyone continue to grow,” said Fortson. “Both teams are in a position to, if they continue to get a little better and compete well, have some significant results at Nationals.”
Kahnweiler and Kennedy to compete in Maccabi Games
For senior fall athletes, the transition into the winter season brings about the end of their athletic careers here at Bowdoin. The conclusion of such an ingrained aspect of their lives prompts many to look for ways to continue their sports outside of the College. For field hockey captains Rachel Kennedy '16 and Kim Kahnweiler '16, they found this in the 2015 Pan American Maccabi Games.
"When I was growing up, the Maccabi Games were something that my mom always wanted me to do, and for whatever reason, I never did them," said Kahnweiler. "Then, as I got to senior year and didn't want my athletic career to be over, that was kind of in the back of my mind."
The 2015 Pan American Maccabi Games are the 13th installment of the international, multi-sport competition that will be held in Santiago, Chile from December 26 to January 5. The Games are held every four years and bring together Jewish athletes from North, South and Central America, as well as Israel and other countries around the world.
"Maccabi USA endeavors, through sports, to perpetuate and preserve the American Jewish community by encouraging Jewish pride, strengthening Jewish bonds and by creating a heightened awareness of Israel and Jewish identity," Maccabi USA says on their website. "We strive to provide Jewish athletes the world over the opportunity to share their heritage and customs in competitive athletic settings."
In addition to the Pan Am Games, the Maccabi World Union hosts the Maccabiah Games, the world's largest Jewish athletic competition, in Israel every four years. The 19th Maccabiah Games brought together 7,500 athletes from 77 countries in 2013, making it one of the largest international sporting events after the Olympics.
Kennedy, Kahnweiler and 11 other athletes from across the country will make up the field hockey squad, joining the US team of about 650 athletes traveling to Chile in a few weeks.
"The program puts a huge emphasis on getting to know other Jewish athletes from around the world," said Kahnweiler. "I'm most excited for that part. I think it'll be really interesting to hear about other people's experiences of being Jewish in other countries."
Kennedy and Kahnweiler's field hockey careers will come to a close with many other high notes, including being selected as First Team All-Americans by the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) along with fellow Polar Bear Kimmy Ganong '17.
"I truly think that if I hadn't been fortunate enough to play on the Bowdoin field hockey team, I definitely would not have been recognized as an All-American," said Kahnweiler. "It just goes out to all my teammates who made me better every single year, every single practice. The recognition is nice, but I want to share it with the team. It goes to the team."
In addition, this fall, Kennedy was named NFHCA Division III Player of the Year, after becoming Bowdoin's all-time leader in goals and points and earning her second NESCAC and New England West Region Player of the Year honors. Kennedy is the first Polar Bear to earn the title since it was created in 2009.
"It's really exciting being honored and having personal accolades, but it's hard at the same time knowing that that’s the end and that I won't be playing on the field hockey team anymore," said Kennedy. "But it just adds to the great experience that we had and the great run that we had this season. Being able to play in a national championship game is something that I'm definitely going to be proud of even though we might not have had the outcome we wanted. In the long run, it's been such a successful season and career as a team and also personally."
After a season filled with accomplishments, Kennedy looks forward to ending her field hockey career with a new experience.
"I think it'll be really interesting to not only be surrounded by other Jewish-American athletes but also Jewish athletes from all over the world and be able to interact with them, talk to them and hear about their experiences," said Kennedy. "I just finished my athletic career at Bowdoin. I won't get a chance really to play ever again, so I think it's a cool way to go out, just being able to have my one last time playing and also being able to play with Kim, who I played with for four years here. I think balancing the Jewish aspect and also the athletic aspect is going to be a really rewarding experience."
Men's hockey confident ahead of Colby showdown
It may not have the nationwide cachet of Red Sox-Yankees or Michigan-Ohio State, but for Bowdoin students, it’s just as momentous a rivalry. For the 205th and 206th time, Bowdoin men’s ice hockey will take on Colby, their greatest foe, in this weekend’s two-game series. The Polar Bears will travel to Colby Friday night before returning to Sidney J. Watson Arena to face the Mules on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“The size of our school is small, but the enthusiasm, the interest, the tradition, how it’s grown, the wonderful stories, all those things—this ranks up with as good a rivalry and as good a tradition as there is in the country,” said Head Coach Terry Meagher. “These things evolve. Who knows how or why, but they evolve.
For decades, the Bowdoin-Colby rivalry has spurred fanaticism and excitement across campus as it’s become deeply ingrained in the College’s culture. Even with all the fans that come out for the hockey game, ultimately it’s the players on the ice who maintain the tradition’s integrity.
“The test of a real tradition is the quality of individuals, how they respect the tradition, the game, what it means to them, and I think you could flip jerseys and not even lose a beat in the quality of people that they have,” said Meagher. “You could flip the jerseys and have the same kind of character in each locker room.”
While each face-off between the Polar Bears and Mules has its own unique moments, the players of both sides consistently bring determination, passion and excitement to the ice.
“There’s nothing better than playing against Colby in front of your own fans, and definitely, it’s a lot of fun to battle it out on the ice,” said Chris Fenwick ’16. “The games are always really close. It doesn’t really matter what the standings are going into this game—it’s a hockey game, and anybody can win it.”
This year, the Polar Bears have had a slow start to the season as they came out of their first four games with a record of 0-3-1. With a young team and some early injuries, Meagher was neither surprised nor deterred by their early season record.
“We would like to certainly have had a couple more wins, but our opposition is talented,” said Meagher. “What’s encouraging is you can see the progress on a daily basis. It’s moving in a good direction, but I’m not surprised that we are going through some growing pains right now.”
The Polar Bears began to turn the tide of their season last Sunday, as they claimed their first victory, winning 5-0 against the UMass Boston.
“This was a turning point for us going forward, especially coming into Bowdoin-Colby weekend,” said Fenwick. “Hopefully the win will provide some momentum and carry us forward.”
“The goaltending was a huge key on Sunday,” said Meagher. “We got timely saves and timely goals, and I know we got great play out of our goaltender, Peter Cronin ‘18, on Sunday, and that was a huge lift. That can really inspire a team, and it makes it easier for people to break through and not be tentative.”
Goaltending will continue to be a deciding factor in the games this weekend as the Polar Bears face Colby goaltender Emerson Verrier, who was named NESCAC Player of the Week last week. All four goaltenders on Bowdoin’s roster—none of whom are seniors—have seen playing time this season, so it’s unclear who will be between the pipes for the Polar Bears on Saturday. However, Cronin has had the most minutes and just came off of the shutout win last Sunday.
The rest of the team is similarly young, including a front line that graduated six seniors this past spring. Yet the underclassmen have been proving their capability; all eight goals scored at the Bowdoin-Colby Classic this past weekend were by first years and sophomores.
“There’s no guarantee you’re going to be successful, but if you have a certain amount of skill with will, and then you add experience, we’re going to be a tough opponent,” said Meagher. “I know we have the skill, I think we have the will, it’s just we’ve got to add the experience to that recipe, and then I think we’re going to be a tough opponent in the league.”
Yet the team’s youth doesn’t change many of the fundamental approaches to building a new team that Meagher’s developed over his 33 seasons at Bowdoin.
“There are time-tested models that we follow...but within that, as you’re building the foundation and going to the next step, not every house you build is the same,” said Meagher. “You’re building a brand-new house; you’ve got to get the foundation set, you’ve got to get the infrastructure set, and then the finished product probably doesn’t look like the last house you built.”
Women’s volleyball falls short, finishes in nation’s final eight
Last night, the volleyball team suffered a heartbreaking loss against California Lutheran University in the NCAA D-III Quarterfinals. However, this season has been full of impressive accomplishments, as the team won the Regional Championship for the first time in program history at MIT on Sunday. The team faced UMass-Boston, Babson and MIT in the first three rounds of the tournament and came out of each match victorious, securing the Polar Bears their first ever spot in the Elite Eight.
“It was a huge accomplishment for our program,” said Head Coach Erin Cady. “Our senior leadership has helped direct us to get that regional championship and I’m extremely proud of our program and what our student-athletes have been able to accomplish.”
After a decisive victory against UMass-Boston, who the team also swept during the regular season, the Polar Bears prevailed in a closely fought match against Babson College, who served the team one of its four losses this season. In the regional championship, the team fell to MIT in the first set, yet came back to win the next three by at least seven points in each.
“The first set against MIT was a very good wake up call,” said captain Christy Jewett ‘16. “MIT’s pretty flashy, they have a really big outside hitter and she’s very good so what we focused on for the rest of the game was to make sure that we did not let the people who didn’t deserve points get points. By neutralizing everyone else on the court, number 10 [Megan Gebhard] started to make errors first of all, but also her getting kills didn’t fire their team up as much because they were only getting kills from her, and that was what allowed us to prevail since no team can play with just one really good player.”
In last night’s quarterfinal matchup, the team started strong, winning the first set 25-20. However, Cal Lutheran gained momentum at the end of the set and carried it through to win the next two. The fourth set was neck and neck, until the Regals pulled away towards the end. While the Polar Bears were able to fight back to 23-24, Cal Lutheran claimed the final set 25-23 and earned their spot in the semifinals.
Despite losing this hard-fought battle, with NESCAC and Regional Championship titles, this year’s team has put forward one of the strongest seasons in the history of the program. The team sees the season, and especially the Sweet Sixteen win against MIT, as the culmination of hard work and dedication in every aspect of the program.
“Having the confidence that we could win and knowing that we had a good team behind us to be able to play well enough to win, I think that was the difference this year in actually achieving a win,” said Jewett.
“It would be remiss not to note how great an influence Coach Cady has been to this program and the structure she’s brought to us and the way she doesn’t take herself too seriously. We feel like she’s our friend just as much as she’s the most influential figure that many of us have experienced yet at Bowdoin,” said captain Hailey Wahl ’16. “The stars have aligned with a group of devoted, skilled and talented girls along with a great coaching staff and a perfect set of goals that we’re all on the same page about.”
The Regional Championship title was accompanied by a number of individual accolades as three Polar Bears were named to the All-Northeast team and Jewett became the second player in Bowdoin history to be an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-American, following Assistant Coach Kristin Hanczor ’11, who was named to the All-American Second Team in 2011.
Katie Doherty ’17 was selected as an AVCA All-American Honorable Mention, as well as a member of the NCAA All-Northeast team. With 1,445 career digs, she ranks third all-time at Bowdoin with more than a season to add to her total.
Quincy Leech ‘17 joins Doherty as an All-American Honorable Mention and on the All-Northeast team for a second year. With 986 assists this season, Leech ranks fifth all-time at Bowdoin for assists in a single season.
Jewett was also named the 2015 New England Women’s Volleyball Association (NEWVA) Player of the Year and a NEWVA All-New England First Team honoree for the second time, as she continues to secure her place in the Bowdoin record books with 1,390 career kills.
“The team victories mean a lot more to me than individual awards because I’ve realized that there’s no way to get this individual recognition without having a really stellar team around you,” said Jewett. “It was very nice to be recognized but I’m more looking forward to getting to having an Elite Eight banner hanging in our gym to kind of represent how amazing this team’s been.”
Between the NESCAC and NCAA playoffs, the team had two consecutive weekends in which they played three matches and flew to Grand Rapids, Michigan on Tuesday in preparation for last night’s game.
“One of the biggest challenges is remaining a student athlete throughout all this,” said Jewett. “Obviously Bowdoin wants us to have a great experience and enjoy being in such a momentous tournament, but also all of us know that we’ve got a lot of work and we’re no different than any of the other students here at Bowdoin.”
Volleyball shocks Williams, takes NESCAC championship
The Bowdoin volleyball team came back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat Williams 3-2 and win the NESCAC Championship last Sunday. Since the league reformatted the playoff system in 2001, this is the first time that a team has come back from being down two sets to win the championship match. With this historic game, the Polar Bears claimed their second NESCAC title and a spot in the NCAA Tournament this weekend.
“The first two sets, Williams started off really strong,” said Head Coach Erin Cady. “Sets three and four, we calmed down, we found our groove, started to do some strategic things that helped give us points, and the team played with a lot of heart out there. I think that was a huge turnaround for us. The exciting fifth set and winning the NESCAC Championship was definitely the highlight of the year.”
According to the players, nerves played a role in the shaky beginning of the championship match, but they were able to turn the tide.
“In that moment in time, it was just making sure that they kept the hope alive and had faith that we could still do this,” said Cady. “Just keeping them calm and firing them up at the same time. It’s kind of two contradictory things, but just trying to figure out a way to get the best out of them.”
Cady’s motivation in that critical moment was key in the team’s transformation and ultimate success.
“It was pretty tight in the third set, and I think [Cady] recognized that,” said captain Christy Jewett ’16. “She always knows what to say. She’s incredible in that way. She sat us down more than halfway through the third set and told us something that the team really needed to hear. We went back on the court with so much more energy and confidence. I think that’s what turned it around. She put confidence back into us that we would come out on top.”
“[Cady] said some of the most inspiring things,” said captain Hailey Wahl ’16. “She was on her knees in front of us, and I think the fire lit up in our eyes. We looked to each other. We got so much energy from the fans. I’ve never felt so much support from all my fellow students, the alums, members of the community and professors, who were all there.”
For the Polar Bears, playing more aggressively was important in turning the match around.“What [Cady] basically said to turn us around was we’re going to go out swinging,” said Jewett. “We’re going to go out swinging as hard as we can, and one of the things that she said that gave us confidence was our hitting—nobody can dig us. Nobody can dig it when we hit fully. So that was our change in strategy; we would swing away.”
With increased aggression and determination, the Polar Bears took the final three sets en route to capturing the NESCAC title, as well as a number of individual honors.
Jewett was named NESCAC Volleyball Player of the Year after breaking the College’s all-time record for career kills, as well as being named NESCAC Player of the Week twice this season.Libero and outside hitter Katie Doherty ’17 was named NESCAC Volleyball Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year after having 51 digs in the championship match against Williams, breaking the College’s record for most digs in a single match. Doherty leads the conference with 509 digs on the season, averaging 5.99 per set.
Quincy Leech ’17 was named NESCAC Player of the Week after averaging 10 assists per set and 4.09 digs per set over the weekend. All three players earned spots on the All-NESCAC First Team, and Erika Sklaver ’17 earned a spot on the All-NESCAC Second Team.
Yet according to Leech, these individual accolades reflect more on the team than each individual player and serve to recognize the program as a whole.
“Volleyball is the ultimate team sport,” said Leech. “It honestly is all about the team; the stats that we conjure together are entirely indicative of a group effort.”
The depth of the team has been a main factor for why Bowdoin is so hard to beat. The team ranks second in hitting percentage and assists due to the combined efforts of many talented players. There are three hitters on the team with 200 or more kills on the whole season, which enables the team to be very versatile and adapt to the strengths and weaknesses of its opponents.
The Polar Bears also lead the league in digs on a team and individual basis. Their defensive skill paired with offensive strength has given them the opportunity to continue their success throughout the season going into this weekend. Bowdoin faces UMass Boston in the first round of the NCAA Tournament today at 3 p.m.
“UMass is a really scrappy team,” said Jewett. “I have a lot of respect for their girls and how they play and how much fight they have, so even though we did beat them a couple weeks ago, we’re going to go out with 100 percent because we’ve learned that every opponent deserves our 100 percent effort.”
In Bowdoin’s bracket are Babson, MIT and Amherst, three of the four teams who beat the team earlier this season. Should they win on Friday, the Polar Bears will face the winner of Babson and Roger Williams at MIT tomorrow at 2:30 p.m.
Volleyball enters NESCAC tournament as No. 1 seed
After beating Colby and Bates this past weekend, the Bowdoin Volleyball team finished the regular season with a conference record of 9-1, securing the top seed for the NESCAC Championship and the right to host the tournament, which will take place this weekend in Morrell and Sargent Gymnasiums.
“We’re all extremely excited,” said Assistant Coach Kristin Hanczor. “Hosting is not only exciting just to be playing in your own gym but it’s also an advantage to be playing in your own gym with your own fans and not having to travel and not having to do hotels and everything. But the drawback of being number one is that you’re the clear target for everyone else.”
This year’s tournament will showcase the evenly matched competition and some standard NESCAC rivalry. Two-time defending champion Williams is seeded second with a conference record of 8-2 after losing 3-1 to Tufts in their season opener and 3-2 in a close match against Bowdoin. Amherst is also a top contender as they are seeded third and lead the league in hitting percentage, kills and digs.
“Something that’s really unique about the NESCAC is we’re so strong from top to bottom that at any given time, any team could beat another team,” said captain Christy Jewett ’16. “You have to be at the top of your game. There is no guarantee that you’re going to beat the seventh or eighth seed just because you’re the first seed.”
Jewett was named NESCAC Player of the Week for the second time this season after breaking Bowdoin’s all-time record for career kills as the team swept all four matches at the UMass Boston Invitational
“I’m obviously very honored and grateful and I think the reason that it happened was that the NESCAC was trying to highlight how well our team was playing and in order to do that they selected me as kind of a representative of giving this honor to my team,” said Jewett. “The NESCAC doesn’t choose to honor people unless their team does well, and I would be nowhere without my teammates and without how hard every single person has been working. There’s no way to look good unless your team is really good.”
After starting the season with a shaky 2-3 record, the team eventually hit their stride, winning every game for the rest of the season other than a close loss in the fifth set to Amherst, finishing the season with a 20-4 record. This is the eighth season in school history that the program has reached the 20-win milestone.
The team will face Bates in the quarterfinals Friday at 5 p.m., the second time they’ll face the Bobcats in a week after beating them 3-1 last Saturday.
“The good thing about playing them again is that we’re familiar with what they do,” said Head Coach Erin Cady. “The disadvantage is they’re familiar with what we do on the court, so we’re trying to figure out a way to correct any mistakes or weaknesses that we had last weekend and then build on that and try to expose any weaknesses that they might have going into this weekend.”
“We’ve definitely been looking at what offensive shots are going to work best against their team and we’ve been encouraging our hitters to work on those in practice,” said Hanczor. “We are also looking at their tendencies so that our defense can be ready for their attacks and who they choose to set and what shots they have.”
The match will feature strong serving from both sides of the net as Bowdoin and Bates rank second and third respectively in the NESCAC in service aces per set. The team has spent the week preparing for Bates’ strong outside hitters, such as junior Chandler McGrath, who has averaged 3.26 kills per set this season, just behind Jewett with 3.95. The Bobcats have also had the tendency to force sets to the right side, leading the Polar Bears to focus on and adjust to the new angle.
“We’re working on our defensive movement and being more disciplined with our movement so that we’re not just wandering around in the backcourt, we’re actually moving and being able to make a play on the ball,” said Cady. “I also think their strength is they’re a very passionate team and they work really hard, so we’re looking to work just as hard if not outwork them.”
Even under the pressures of tournament play, the team looks to use their technical strengths, volleyball intelligence and versatility to continue their trend of high performance this weekend.
“We know that we don’t necessarily hit anything much harder than anyone else, we don’t necessarily do anything very differently than the other teams, but we are a very strong team unit. Every one of us can get the job done, so we don’t have to focus on just one person. We can adjust our game plan based on the weaknesses of the other team,” said Hanczor. “We really believe that the winner of the tournament is going to be the most disciplined, the most calm, confident and poised team, and we’re hoping to be that team.”
Men's soccer faces tough road back to championship
After tying Tufts 0-0 at the end of a rain-soaked double overtime game on Wednesday afternoon, the men’s soccer team will return to Somerville for a rematch on Saturday in its first game of the NESCAC tournament. The Polar Bears enter the playoffs as defending champions after winning their first NESCAC title last fall. Just like last year, the Polar Bears are seeded sixth out of the eight competing teams.
The road to last year’s title involved facing three of the top four seeded teams and many close matches, starting with a 2-1 win over the third seed, Williams. Bowdoin’s next two games against fourth seed Middlebury in the semifinal and second seed Amherst in the championship ended scoreless in double overtime, and Bowdoin came out on top after penalty kicks both times
“Having that experience, we know that if it does come down to that, then we can do what’s necessary,” said captain Nabil Odulate ’16. “We’ve got a great goalkeeper that’s shown himself very well in those situations, so that always is a big boost to our confidence to know that he’s good for a couple of saves, so if we can do our jobs, then we’ll be in a good spot.”
Each season brings new strengths and weaknesses, and this year, the team trusts its defensive capability to shut down its opponents and keep any game close.
“We haven’t given up a lot of goals. We’ve been in every game, we’ve only given up two goals in one game, so we’re always within striking distance,” said Head Coach Scott Wiercinski. “That’s a really promising position to be in because you can always salvage things in the last minute, so there are reasons for optimism there.”
“Our first focus as a team is always being defensively solid,” said Odulate. “Outside of that, we’re focused on passing the ball around on the ground, keeping it on the ground, but also looking to attack quickly when we have the opportunity.”
This year, the team finishes the regular season with a conference record of 3-3-4, seeded sixth and hoping history will repeat itself.
“If last year is any indication, we feel like if we’re playing well, which we are, and if we’re healthy, which we are, then the sky’s the limit,” said Wiercinski. “We’re not afraid of anyone, and whoever we have to play, we feel optimistic that we can have a good result and keep going through the tournament.”
The 2015 tournament continues the high level of rivalry and competition standard in the NESCAC. While Bowdoin comes in as the defending NESCAC champions, Tufts also enters the tournament with its first national title after winning the NCAA Division III tournament last fall. Amherst leads the NESCAC with the only undefeated record, although this past Wednesday, Trinity tied the Lord Jeffs 1-1 to put an end to their 14-game win streak. The Polar Bears remain undaunted and eager to challenge any opponent they might face, starting with Tufts.
In preparation for this weekend, the team has the opportunity to improve and adapt based on Wednesday’s matchup. The team looks to improve its defense in the midfield in order to counter Tufts’ strength and precision in its passing game. Bowdoin will also focus on converting on offensive chances and maintaining its defensive strength.
“Our back line is very good at defending for short periods of time in open space, and that’s something that Tufts tries to exploit,” said Wiercinski. “We think that it’s going to be a good matchup in that way but something that requires getting midfield players to the ball to slow things down.”
The teams are evenly-matched teams going into the quarterfinals. Tufts and Bowdoin have each allowed only seven goals on the season, tying them for second fewest goals allowed behind Amherst. The Polar Bears’ defensive line will be keeping track of junior Nathan Majumder, who has been Tufts’ leading scorer this fall.
“[Last Wednesday] was a lot of playing that was an appetizer for what’s going to be a little bit more of a pressure-packed weekend,” said Wiercinski. “Even though there were no goals, there were a lot of good chances back and forth, and I think we’re both looking forward to another exciting game this weekend.”
The high stakes of tournament play makes each game drastically different from the regular season, but with many returning players and a season-long focus on emotional stability, the team feels prepared to excel under the circumstances.
“That urgency and immediacy of what you’re doing and how it might reveal itself in the result is much more poignant [in playoffs] than it is through the course of a long season where if you make mistakes today, you can make up for it tomorrow,” said Wiercinski. “In the playoffs, there’s just not that opportunity.”
Orthopedic Associates provides care, rehab for injured Bowdoin athletes
“You try your best to prevent all the injuries, that’s part of our job,” said Head Athletic Trainer Dan Davies. “But you can never fully, 100 percent prevent somebody from getting injured.”
When an injury does present itself, the athletes are in the hands of the College’s athletic training staff. Each team has an athletic trainer that works with their program specifically, yet with so much risk involved, the National College Athletic Association (NCAA) mandates that colleges must be associated with team physicians as well. For Bowdoin, Orthopedic Associates (OA) in downtown Brunswick provides the team doctor and additional physical therapists.Dr. Michael Pleacher has worked as a sports medicine physician for 10 years and has been in the Brunswick office of OA since 2011. In addition to serving as the team doctor for the College, he also works with the Brunswick-area high schools and the U.S. Cross Country Ski Team.
“The overarching goal of the care I provide for Bowdoin students is number one, to look out for their safety, provide them high quality care, take care of the injury,” said Pleacher. “We’re here to help people get back on the field. Sometimes that means they need to be out for a few weeks, but when it’s feasible, when it’s reasonable and safe, we try to allow the athletes to return quickly. I think because we have a collaborative team approach we routinely achieve that.”
In order to provide the best care for the athletes, OA works closely with the athletic training staff and Health Center on campus. The physical therapy staff at OA and the athletic training staff at the College meet on a weekly basis to discuss the state of currently injured athletes and coordinate recovery plans.
“There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes that maybe the athletes and students aren’t aware of,” said Pleacher. “We are really trying to make this a very smooth process for the injured athletes so they can concentrate on getting better and staying up with their academics.”
Each season poses new challenges for the sports medicine staff. Due to the competitive and physical nature of each sport, there’s no exact science to predicting and preventing injuries.“Each sport has their own niche of injuries but every year, that’s what I like about this job, you never know what’s going to happen,” said Davies.
However, there are some trends due to the inherent makeup of the sports. The repetitive overhead motion involved in volleyball, baseball, softball, tennis and squash lead to more upper extremity injuries, while track or cross country athletes see more lower extremity injuries.
“You just think of the different activities involved in each sport, they’re going to strain different body parts in different ways,” said Pleacher.
Injuries also vary based on timing within the season.
“In general, we see a fair number of overuse or wear-and-tear injuries as a particular season gets along,” said Pleacher. “At the beginning of each season we see some more strains and sprains. People who have just gotten off of their summer conditioning program and just gotten into their sport—those first couple of days are the other period of time where we see a fair number of injuries.”
The NCAA Injury Surveillance Program (ISP) collects data on collegiate athletics and injuries in order to facilitate better injury prevention programs nationwide. Their data shows that football tends to have the highest injury rate nationwide, with the highest rate during preseason as opposed to in-season and postseason play.
Trey Brown ’16 knows his way around knee injuries as he’s torn his right ACL twice and his left ACL once over the course of the past four years, while playing football both for Bowdoin and Phillips Andover Academy. After taking a break from play during his junior year, he returned his senior year only to tear his meniscus during preseason, about two weeks before the team’s first game.
“I kind of feel like the ACL guru because I tore mine so many times,” said Brown. “I’ve seen plenty of patients go in and out of there with ACL tears, and they’re always asking me questions.”
The OA office becomes its own community through conversations among patients and therapists. Therapy varies depending on the injury’s severity, but usually starts out with three sessions per week. After spending so much time together, athletes have developed close bonds with the therapists and other patients.
“There were a couple Bowdoin students who would be there at the same time every week, a couple of people who lived in town,” said Maddie Lemal-Brown ’18, a member of the women’s rugby team. “That’s actually how a relationship formed, kind of bonding over the same injury and helping each other through the recovery.”
While injuries can be devastating to many student athletes, for Bowdoin students, OA provides a positive aspect of a negative situation.
“It’s an interesting way to break the Bowdoin bubble,” said Lemal-Brown. “It’s a very regular thing that gets you more incorporated in Brunswick and you learn more about people outside of your class who aren’t your age and aren’t in college. I’ve appreciated getting out and being away from campus just for a couple of hours every week and I think other people who’ve been to OA can attest to that fact. It’s a small different experience that you wouldn’t have had if you weren’t in that situation.”
Volleyball extends winning streak to 10
The volleyball team extended its winning streak to 10 games last weekend with a sweep of Trinity and Wesleyan. Undefeated in the NESCAC, the squad has dominated throughout its matches, losing only two sets out of the last 32.
A number of individual achievements have accompanied the team’s continued success. Two weeks ago, captain Christy Jewett ’16 was named the NESCAC Volleyball Player of the Week as she achieved 1,161 career kills, the second highest number in Bowdoin history. Jewett saw the conference accolade as more of a team accomplishment than an individual one.
“Obviously it feels great to be honored, but one thing that I’ve really become aware of is that nobody ever wins Player of the Week without a really strong team backing her,” said Jewett.
Jewett is on pace to break the six-year-old Bowdoin career record of 1,227 kills held by Gillian Page ‘10 by the end of the season. Last year, Jewett set the single-season school records for most kills and attacks with 445 and 1158, respectively.
Katie Doherty ’17 also entered the record book this season, as she became the sixth player in Bowdoin history to reach 1,000 career digs.
“If our team weren’t as strong as it is, I don’t think that would’ve been possible to accomplish,” said Doherty.
With a full season of Bowdoin volleyball left, Doherty has plenty of opportunities to move up through the all-time rankings, yet the statistics are not what keep her motivated. For Doherty, the effect her accomplishments had on the rest of the team impacted her more than the number itself.
“[Reaching 1,000 digs] was one of the most amazing moments of my life, simply because of the atmosphere and how amazing my team is,” said Doherty. “I was just so inspired by how excited everyone else was. It was amazing not because I valued it but because of how much everyone else valued it.”
The team has accomplished a lot already, but its season is far from over. The volleyball program heads into a high stakes Homecoming Weekend facing fellow NESCAC competitors Amherst and Williams.
“Everyone’s really excited for this weekend,” said Doherty. “This is the moment that will really define us as a team. We’ll see if we can cement our first place in the NESCAC.”
With this excitement comes extra focus and determination as the program prepares for its biggest challenge and the largest threat to its streak so far.
“It’s really confidence boosting to have a streak like that but we’re going to be really challenged this weekend,” said Jewett. “Our winning streak is a good measure of success but this weekend will be an even better measure of what we can do.”
Williams and Amherst are ranked number two and three respectively in the NESCAC, and the team has to take down Williams on Saturday at 2 p.m. in order to host the NESCAC tournament at the end of the season—an advantage keenly sought after by the team.
“We emphasize how we’re in the driver’s seat right now,” said Head Coach Erin Cady, “We have the power to control our own destiny and look at it like it’s a power or an opportunity instead of pressure to perform.”
While this weekend may be daunting to some, the squad is eager to rise to the challenge.“The easy part will be the team [being] mentally motivated and ready and physically motivated to go out and perform against Williams,” said Cady. “I definitely can tell you our players are ready and motivated for that match.”
The team remains focused on continuous improvement and leaning into the discomfort of learning new skills.
“Something that [Cady] does really well that’s helped our team is to keep us uncomfortable in practice by challenging us to do new things every time we’ve successfully done something,” said Doherty. “That just allows us to keep raising our play no matter who we’re playing.”
“We’re consistently working,” said Jewett. “Once we fix something, [Cady] will scout us like she will scout a different team. We’ve been working on finding ways that they would exploit us so that we can fix it before they have a chance to find those.”
Luckily the team hasn’t had any serious injuries and with everyone ready and available to do their best, the team continues on their fast track to the NESCAC tournament with high expectations for their performance.
Volleyball captures fifth consecutive win
The volleyball team has hit its stride, having won its last five matches against formidable opponents. After a difficult weekend at the MIT Invitational, the squad came back for a strong win at Middlebury. Having never won in Middlebury’s gym, this game marked a turning of the tide for the team.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said captain Christy Jewett ’16. “I think what defined us was taking care of the things we could control and setting our minds on beating Middlebury for the first time there.”
As with any early-season team, and especially one with a new head coach, Bowdoin took some time to settle into changes and new lineups and achieve the strong showings in recent weeks.
“I think some of the sacrifices that we made in the first weekend in order to figure out our team dynamics paid off,” said captain Hailey Wahl ’16. “In these past two weekends we’ve been able to apply a lot of what we learned from the first weekend and make the changes that we needed to make and be flexible and be able to figure out our opposition’s strengths and change our game plan in order to better defend against the opposing team.”
The team beat Middlebury 3-1, losing a close third match 23-25 but bringing it back in the fourth match for a decisive 25-18 win. The Polar Bears proceeded to sweep their next four matches against Hamilton, Worcester State, Bates and Colby, giving them a record of 7-3 and leaving them undefeated in the NESCAC. Jewett consistently led the team in kills throughout the four matches, totaling 15 against Bates, with first year Lisa Sheldon stepping up to contribute, leading the team with 22 digs against Hamilton.
The team’s depth is a primary strength this year, as demonstrated by Sheldon’s seamless introduction into the lineup in the past few games.
“I’d say this is the deepest team we’ve had in terms of talent,” said Assistant Coach Kristin Hanczor. “Everyone is very close in their ability and it allows us to compete against each other really intensely, which makes games more fun and less stressful because we already know in our gym we’re competing at a high level.”
With a strong base of returning players, the team is able to look into more complicated strategies. Differently from previous years, Head Coach Erin Cady has adapted the program’s game plan to focus on adjusting their tactics to each opponent.
“Being very smart volleyball players is becoming more of a focus of our program this year with so many returners who are ready to move to the next level,” said Hanczor. “The players have become so smart in the game of volleyball that we’re able to give them a lot more things to think about and they’re still able to execute really well without being overwhelmed by information.”
This, however, requires the players to lean into discomfort and muscle through vulnerability as they continue to make changes. With hard work and dedication, the players are able to leave the security of their known strengths and improve upon other skills as well.
“I’m vulnerable for a period of time, but then it becomes more successful in the end,” said Wahl. “I think [Cady] makes us realize that to be uncomfortable is a good thing, and so it gives us confidence in our own skill to be adaptable... [Cady] has faith in us and the courage to let us be vulnerable for a bit so that we can make changes in order to accommodate different strategies that will help us be successful against specific teams we play.”
Bowdoin hosts Conn. College tonight at 8 p.m. and will stay at home for a Saturday doubleheader against Tufts and Keene State at noon and 5 p.m., respectively.
Conley ’18 and Kirk ’18 launch IM field hockey
Here are some reasons to join intramural field hockey, according to Katherine Kirk ’18: it’s fun, it's good exercise, it's creative, you'll find friends, fall nights are beautiful, there will be music, there will be laughter, there will be some healthy competition and it’s open to everyone.
"I could go on for hours," said Kirk, who started the new program with Julia Conley ’18. Kirk spearheaded the creation of the program after playing in high school and missing the sport last year.
"It's such a fun sport because you can be really creative," said Kirk. "There are so many different types of passes, so many different types of shots you can take, different ways to carry the ball down the field, you can do an aerial, you can dribble it in the air, there are so many different dodges."
As with most intramural sports, the program gives people the option to continue playing or pick up the sport with a lot of flexibility in previous experience and time commitment. The program hosts pick up games every Thursday night at 7 p.m. on Ryan Field behind Farley Field House.
"The first time it wasn't a game, we just kind of passed a little bit, got to know each other, took some shots and stuff. It's really casual," said Kirk. "We're hoping more people will come because it's so beautiful at night with the lights."
Even though the group is small, Kirk was surprised to see that many people there in the first place. She stresses the importance of getting the word out when trying to start a new program. Many people who showed up the first night came because they'd see a poster or flyer about the game around campus.
Although starting a new intramural sport from scratch can seem daunting, Kirk explained that the process was much easier due to the help of Ryan Sullivan, who organizes and directs intramurals.
"[Sullivan] was like she wants to do this and she's going to do it," said Kirk. "He didn't say she's just some silly girl, she doesn't know what she's doing. It wasn't that at all."
"He was really helpful," said Kirk. "The biggest hurdle was where are we going to find sticks, but then he found a closet full of sticks, randomly on campus. And I think that's really great because it makes it more accessible to anyone who wants to play."
Kirk hopes more people take advantage of the intramural opportunities as an extracurricular option.
"It's something active, anything active, even being in a play, just some sort of extracurricular thing or going on an Outing Club trip," said Kirk. "I think [that's] an important part of the liberal arts education."
Women’s soccer opens season with high hopes
Under the leadership of Head Coach Brianne Weaver and Assistant Coach Ellery Gould, the women’s soccer program at Bowdoin has consistently performed well over the past three years.
Last year, the team had a regular season record of 11-3, which included an undefeated record at home. The team didn’t lose any game by more than a one-goal margin. The Polar Bears also earned a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third consecutive season and were awarded the Team Academic Award and the Silver Award for Team Ethics and Sportsmanship by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
The team expects this season to be no exception to the continued success of the program.“We’ve got a great core of returning players,” Weaver said. “We have six outstanding senior leaders on the team who’ve performed at a very high level. I think the example’s been set over the past three seasons that we have pretty high goals that we want to go after, and it looks like we have a lot of the pieces to do that.”
Many key veteran players return to the roster this year, including Second Team Division III All-American Bridget McCarthy ’16 in goal and Second Team All-NESCAC forward Kiersten Turner ’16, who will serve as captains along with midfielder/defender Rachel Brooke ’16. The strong group of senior leaders also includes forward Jamie Hofstetter ’16, who led the team with six goals and five assists last season and earned First Team All-NESCAC and Second Team All-New England selections, as well as midfielder Maggie Godley ’16 and defender Sarah Wallace ’16 .
Even with the loss of six seniors from last year’s team, the squad has demonstrated their strength and resilience as players continue to adapt into new roles on the team.
“There were people in the classes below [the seniors] that were ready to pick up the torch and run with it,” said Weaver. “Time will tell, but I think they’ve done an outstanding job so far.”The team also brings in a large group of new faces to the program this year.
“We’ve got a strong group of first years,” Gould said. “We have nine, which is a big class, but they’ve really been able to step up and become a part of the team right away, so that’s been really helpful for total team chemistry.”
Weaver described the team’s chemistry as a key element in the success and depth of the program and attributes its continued unity to the strong leadership within the team.
“We also just try to have a really strong team-first mentality and a really positive mindset all the time that all of us want to improve and get better every single day,” Weaver said. “We want it to be a pretty affirming experience to be a part of this team.”
The team maintains this mindset by paying special attention to the details during games and practices.
“I would be happy with the team just knowing that on a day-to-day basis, we’re giving it our all, we’re trying our best and we’re doing everything we can to make each other better,” said Turner. “At the end of the day, it’s the little things that matter. It’s not necessarily how many wins or how many losses we have. It’s just feeling good about what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis.”
The team opened its season with a 2-0 defeat at Amherst last Saturday, giving up one goal in each half. Bowdoin got off 14 shots to the Jeffs’ 17 but was unable to put one in the back of the net. The Polar Bears rebounded the next day in their home opener with a 6-1 win over Husson University. Hofstetter, Turner, Julia Patterson ’19, Elizabeth Weathers ’18, Sophie al Mutawaly ’19 and Julia Bottone ’17 each scored.
As they head into the rest of their schedule, the players are confident in their tactics on the pitch.
“Our team is more technical than we ever have been in the past,” said Turner. “We’re not a kick and run team at all; we’re very possession-focused, and I think on attack, we’re looking really good. We’ve been scoring goals, and then on defense and with [McCarthy], we’re very solid.”