In the final moments of Wednesday's game against Tufts, members of the men's soccer team saw the season flash before their eyes. Although the team scored the tying goal with just 46 seconds left on the clock, the Jumbos came back to defeat the Polar Bears 2-1 in overtime.

This disappointment was all too familiar for the men, who fell just short of victory in a series of frustratingly close games this season. The Tufts game marked the end of Bowdoin's season, five weeks earlier than the end of last year's.

"All the games were really close," said Alex Marecki '14 of the squad's season. "It felt like every game could've gone either way. We just lacked that killer instinct that we had last year."

Last season, the men finished in the semifinals of the NCAA D-III tournament with a loss to Lynchburg on December 3, finishing fourth in the nation. This year, the team fell out of the rankings and down to the bottom of the conference, finishing 10th in the NESCAC.

Last Saturday, a 2-0 loss against Trinity bumped Bowdoin out of contention for the NESCAC tournament. The Polar Bear's final overall record (4-7-3, 1-7-2 NESCAC) included a 2-0 loss to Colby, only the second to the Mules in the last 15 years.

Players and spectators alike have been baffled this season. What changed between this year and the last? Was this fall just a series of unfortunate events for the team or was it something else?

Senior captain Sean Bishop attributes the season's results to the many injuries the players received over the course of the season.

"There were only two seniors out there playing by the end of the season," he said. "With that, it was hard to live up to last year's record."

Among the key injured players were captain Call Nichols '12, who suffered from an ongoing illness; Nick Powell '12 who sprained his ankle early on; and Eddie Jones '12, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament.

Last year, Nichols ran the midfield, while Powell and Jones powered the offensive line. This year, Powell got Bowdoin off to the right start with six goals in the first five games, but quickly joined those injured on the bench.

"It was frustrating for those on the bench because they were seniors and wanted to help," said Bishop. "But they just couldn't."

The absence of key offensive players was obvious when the squad failed to score in eight of the 14 games it played this season.

Bishop also suggested that this season's many losses caused a loss of confidence, prompting inconsistency from the players left on the field.

"There was a lot of pressure on those players to do well, but when you have that many injuries, team morale just goes way down," he said.

Head Coach Fran O'Leary compensated for the many injuries by introducing a new cast to the pitch. The players rose to the challenge, but many of them were completely new to collegiate soccer at the start of the season and lacked the experience that many of last year's athletes had built up.

"I think Coach did all he could to salvage the season for what it was," said Bishop. "Things just didn't work out and luck just wasn't on our side."

While the new players experienced a disappointing season, there is always next year.

The team will be aided by one of its many injured players, Jones, who decided to "redshirt" this season and take his spring semester off in order to play next fall.

Bishop's advice for next year's team is clear.

"Don't let the past season burden you," he said. "Focus on the season at hand, that season only."

As an afterthought he added, "and make it to the Final Four again, please."