The women's volleyball team kicked off last weekend's Hall of Fame Tournament on a high note, crushing both Gordon College and Bridgewater St. 3-0.

However, in its closing match on Saturday, the team fell to Middlebury 2-3 for a final result of second place in the tournament's Silver Division.

This weekend, the team travels to play two weekend matches at Amherst. The outcomes of these matches are vital for the Polar Bears' final standing in the NESCAC.

According to senior co-captain Jenna Diggs, "the standings for the teams in the middle of the conference depend completely upon the turnout of the upcoming play."

"If we finish 2-0, we will be seated in a fantastic ranking for the conference tournament's opening night of play," she added

The determination begins Friday at 7 p.m. when the Polar Bears face the hosting Lord Jeffs before their final game of the regular season on Halloween afternoon against the Trinity Bantams, who lead the league with an 8-0 record.

Last weekend, in the final game of the tournament, the outlook against Middlebury initially looked bleak with failed first sets of 19-25 and 12-25, but Bowdoin returned with a dogged vengeance.

The Bears built on the momentum of the third's 25-22 triumph to stop the Panthers at just 25-17 in the fourth.

However, in a fifth match of 15-10 Middlebury delivered the final blow, cementing Bowdoin's hard fought defeat.

Throughout the game, senior co-captain Gillian Page posted an impressive 18 kills alongside a further nine from teammate Kristin Hanczor '12.

Both built off of first year Stephanie Bond's platform of 29 offensive assists, while defensively Hanczor also contributed five blocks.

Despite the strength of these individual statistics, Diggs spoke of the equally significant need for solid team-play.

"We lost many points by not performing fundamental skills," she said. "This week in practice, we went back to basics. We are working on getting to our correct spots on defense in the back court, positioning our block perfectly at the net, serving tough, and serve-receiving passing."

If these skills did not come together against Middlebury, it was the polar opposite during the earlier games of the tournament.

Facing Gordon on Friday, the Bears did not allow the Fighting Scots earn more than 20 points in any of the three games, with final set scores of 25-15, 25-20, and 25-17.

They were even more authoritative over Saturday's Bridgewater St., closing in on the team at 25-14, 25-17, and 25-9.

Underclassmen led the way in the effort against Gordon. Hanczor in particular dominated with eight kills and three solo blocks, while first year Victoria Edelman was close behind her teammate with seven kills and four block assists. First year Melissa Haskell also posted seven additional kills and two aces.

Hanzcor then continued her streak at the Hall of Fame Tournament, notching seven more kills against Bridgewater St. Page contributed a solid dozen kills, as well as two aces.

With records of 18-9 overall and 4-4 conference, Bowdoin currently shares a sixth-place NESCAC ranking with Trinity.

The team entertains high aspirations for its post-season play.

"Since the beginning of the season, we've talked about upsetting NESCACs and moving on to NCAAs," Gina Lonati '12 said. "We have the talent in each individual player. But we need to be a great volleyball team, not just a group of great volleyball players."