The volleyball team’s hopes of finishing first in the NESCAC and securing a conference championship home-field advantage were dashed last Friday night when the team fell 3-1 to host Middlebury. The Polar Bears redeemed themselves on Saturday with an impressive victory over Williams. 
The trip to Vermont left Bowdoin 25-3 overall, 8-2 in the NESCAC, and ranked as the third seed going into NESCAC tournament this weekend at Connecticut College. 
The team played Middlebury last Friday night. Although the final score was not close, both teams made an admirable showing. Bowdoin was initially overwhelmed by an early Middlebury surge, falling 25-13 in the first set. The Polar Bears quickly recovered from this shock and took the second 25-19, tying the match at one-to-one. A late-game run from a 16-16 tie secured the third set for Middlebury 25-21. In the tense fourth set, both teams went back and forth until Middlebury was able to get the upper hand and triumph 26-24, sealing the win in a dramatic fashion. 
Captain Melissa Haskell ’13 led the team offensively in the loss with 12 kills, supported by eight from Ellie Brennan ’14 and seven from Christy Jewett ’16.  Libero Taylor Vail ’14 and Brennan racked up 14 digs each. 
Haskell remained optimistic after the loss. 
“It was really disappointing to miss out on hosting the tournament, but overall I think we played well this weekend,” she said. “Going forward, we can’t get distracted by setbacks but need to continue to focus on winning each match.”
Saturday saw the team quickly rebound, with Bowdoin shutting down Williams in a 3-0 victory. The Polar Bears dominated the Ephs with set scores of 25-13, 25-17 and 25-22. 
 Against Williams, Jewett led the charge with 10 kills, while Haskell contributed seven kills and 11 digs. Setter Sophia Cornew ’14 notched 26 assists. 
Haskell is guardedly hopeful going into the tournament this weekend.  
“This is going to be a very tough weekend from the very first round. We’ve had a great season and I am confident that we have what it takes to win this weekend, but we will have to stay focused and be aggressive,” said Haskell. “When it comes down to it, these are just three more volleyball matches that we have to concentrate on one-by-one to win.” 
The action begins tonight at 8 p.m. at Conn. College against sixth seed Tufts. If Bowdoin wins, the team will move on to the semifinal round, to be played at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday against the winner of seventh-seed Trinity against second seed Middlebury.  If the Polar Bears win in the semifinals, they will advance to the final championship round, played at noon on Sunday.