After a 10-3 season last year, the women’s rugby team hopes to continue its success this season despite having graduated six seniors last spring. 

The outlook is promising for this year’s squad. Seven players—Maddie Baird ’15, Anissa Tanksley ’14, Kerry Townsend ’13, Dani McAvoy ’13, Uche Esonu ’13, Katie Mathews ’12 and Randi London ’15—were voted onto the All-Conference team and Mathews was voted All-American. 

The women’s rugby team will be playing in a new conference this year—the New England Small College Rugby Conference (NESCRC). The winner of this conference will be gaining an automatic bid to the national championships this year, which is different from the system used last year. 

The conference is comprised of seven schools: Amherst, Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, Middlebury, Tufts and Williams—all of whom Bowdoin defeated last year.

With every fall season, the team sets out on a recruiting campaign to bolster its roster. So far this year, fifteen new players have joined the ranks. 

“We are always looking for people as we are a no-cut sport,” said Head Coach Mary Beth Mathews.  

This year, the Polar Bears have to win the conference title to earn a trip to the national championships, which they missed by only one game last year. 

The team’s first test is the Beantown Preseason Tournament, which will be held at UMass-Amherst on September 8 and 9. Their opponents will be announced on-site. 

Bowdoin swept three teams last year and finished 10-3 overall; the outcome this year should be a good measure for how the team will perform the rest of this season.