Friendship is what got Louise Johnson '14 into the game of soccer, and is what's keeping the Polar Bear goalkeeper in the game for the long haul.
Johnson's soccer days began in second grade when a friend asked her to try out for the Manhattan Soccer Club.
The bond that inspired her in the beginning has guided the rest of her soccer career, as her favorite part of soccer continues to be the team aspect of the sport.
Team unity was crucial in the women's grueling back-to-back games against NESCAC foes last weekend.
Johnson didn't see playing time last year, though she gained experience by watching her older teammates.
This is Johnson's first year as a starting goalie, and she described her first games as "extremely nerve-wracking."
The Polar Bears hosted Middlebury on Saturday and then traveled to face off against Williams the next day. Though Bowdoin fell to Middlebury on Saturday in overtime and tied Williams in double overtime, Johnson's goalkeeping stood out.
She managed eight and nine saves in the two games, respectively, playing the entirety of both games for a total of over 205 minutes of action.
At one point in the match against Williams, Johnson fouled an opposing striker inside the box and received a yellow card.
"We were not going down from my yellow-card play," she said, and recalled thinking, "I had better save it."
In the moment of pressure, Johnson's team-centric mentality and athletic determination shown through: she was unwilling to be the reason for her team falling behind.
Johnson believes that team chemistry is key to changing the Polar Bears' fortune on the field from a sub-.500 season last year to a 2-2-2 record so far this year.
"We have been sitting low in the NESCAC for so long," she said. "It's our time to move up and everyone owes it to themselves and to the team to play their hardest."
Her performance as a starter this year shows that her daily goalkeeper training sessions before team practices have helped shape her into a reliable and consistent keeper.
Johnson hopes to enjoy the remaining years of her tenure at Bowdoin. She said she has met "a great network of friends" through soccer that she hopes to stay connected to after graduation.
For Johnson, having "24 teammates always there for each other with a common goal" is something extremely special.