The Bowdoin men’s lacrosse team (11-4, 7-3 NESCAC) earned the no. 3 seed in the NESCAC tournament after losing to Tufts (13-2, 9-1 NESCAC) 20-10 in its final regular season game on Wednesday. The team has drastically improved since last season, when they finished second to last in the NESCAC with a 2-8 conference record and 3-12 overall.

According to Captain Peter Reuter ’16, this exciting change “speaks volumes to the school.”

However, after the team’s nine game winning streak, they appear to have stumbled a little bit in recent games. Bowdoin will enter the playoffs having lost three of its last five.

The result against Tufts is probably the most concerning, though. The team’s other two recent losses—against Keene State and Wesleyan—were both by only one goal.

Captain Adam FitzGerald ’16 explained that the loss to Wesleyan was actually encouraging.

“We were down four goals with maybe three to four minutes left in the game, and then we were able to claw back and take it to overtime,” said FitzGerald.

Although Wesleyan took the win in the end, Bowdoin took it in stride. According to Reuter, the majority of the team’s recent games against Wesleyan have gone into overtime, making it a consistently exciting matchup for the Polar Bears.

“They’re always kind of a fun team to play,” FitzGerald said. “We always have the best games against them.”

The team’s recent success can be attributed to both the players’ health and  focus on individual improvement.

With everyone focused on bettering their own game, the team has been able to improve its results substantially.

“We don’t really rely on one or two guys,” said FitzGerald. “Everyone’s contributing.”

Reuter and Head Coach Jason Archbell pointed to goalie Peter Mumford ’17 as a key player this season. According to Reuter, Mumford’s role as the backbone of the defense has caused a positive chain reaction, impacting all areas of the team. In addition, midfielder Sam Carlin ’19 has been consistent in winning face-offs for the team.

“Just being able to have more possessions has really been the key for success,” said FitzGerald.

In addition to goalkeeping and face-offs, the team has made other improvements on both the offensive and defensive ends.

“We’re defending a lot better than we were before which has been a huge emphasis for us,” said Archbell. “And on the offensive end, we put a lot of onus on shooting better. Our shooting percentage has increased, and we’re getting a lot more high percentage shots closer to the goal.”

According to Reuter and Archbell, the sophomore class as a whole has played a huge role in the team’s success. Many of the sophomores gained experience by starting all of last year. Furthermore, they have been working hard to better themselves.

“They have really good practice work ethics,” said Archbell. “I think that when you have talent that’s working really hard, you’re going to be pretty good.”

The team has been healthy this season, with only a few minor injuries. FitzGerald credits off-season preparation and the work of the training staff for this strength.

Despite the immense growth of the team, Archbell believes there is still room for improvement going into the NESCAC playoffs.

“We’ve probably had too many turnovers and not enough ground balls,” said Archbell. “Certainly, it’s starting to come together.”

Although many of the sophomores gained experience last year, the team is a young one overall and is still learning.

Going forward, the Polar Bears plan on preparing for the tough NESCAC competition they will face in the playoffs. Although the team will consider the “x’s and o’s” to prepare, the players will put more emphasis on making sure the team is doing everything it can to improve.

“We’re trying to look inward and focus on what we need to do to get better, and hopefully that’s enough to overcome whatever opponent we have,” said FitzGerald.

The team is in a good position heading into the playoffs. Reuter noted that the general improvement of the team has been rewarding for the players to see.

“There’s just a sense of excitement that’s kind of flowing throughout the team right now,” said Reuter. “I really do think we have a special group of guys and a special bond that’s been created this year.”

Bowdoin will play its first home playoff game since 2012 tomorrow at 1:00 P.M against Wesleyan.