Jena Davis '06 nearly quit tryouts for her high school lacrosse team.

"It was the second day of tryouts my freshman year and my back was killing me," she said.

But Davis, now a senior co-captain and starting attackman on the nationally ranked women's lacrosse team, decided to tough it out that day.

"My mom was certain that trying out with an injured back was a bad idea," Davis said. "She thought that I should stick to other sports. But I wanted to play so badly, I convinced her otherwise."

Playing through pain, Davis made her high school lacrosse team.

Although her back problems have since gone away, she has has not lost her tenacity and grit during her four years at Bowdoin.

Davis has been a reliable presence on the lacrosse field and a key contributor to the Polar Bears' offense. Davis has started all 10 games this season, averaging just under 32 minutes a game. She has also netted nine goals and dished out three assists, while scooping up 24 ground balls.

The team has faired well, to say the least, with Davis and fellow senior co-captains Brooke Nentwig and Betsy Rose at the helm. Boasting an 8-2 record, the Polar Bears have been ranked as high as No. 2 in the country for DIII, despite playing a difficult schedule with bouts against Middlebury and Tufts, two of the top teams in the nation.

"Everyone on our team believes we can win every game," Davis said.

Davis attributes the perennial success of the Bowdoin lacrosse team to close bonds with teammates and the opportunity to hold practice at the beginning of the year, in what is commonly referred to as "fall ball." Fall ball involves three days of practices a week and time set aside for conditioning.

Davis believes that the extra practice and conditioning will make the difference down the stretch.

"Fall ball is really important for our team, especially for the freshman, because it helps them acclimate to the school and to the team," she said.

In 2005, the Polar Bears made a strong run in the NCAA tournament, but came up short in the regional semifinal, the Elite Eight, falling to Middlebury.

"[Middlebury] played a good game, but we certainly weren't dominated," Davis said.

In the classroom and off the lacrosse field, Davis has been nothing short of fantastic. Named a James and Sarah Bowdoin Scholar for the past three years, she has also earned 2005 Academic All-American and 2005 Academic All-NESCAC honors.

A neuroscience major, Davis is in the midst of completing her honors project. Next year, she will continue her studies in neuroscience at UC San Diego, working toward a Ph.D. She hopes to teach and perform research after she completes her doctorate.