The volleyball team secured an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament for the second straight year after being eliminated from the NESCAC championship by Middlebury in the semifinal round last weekend. 

 The weekend’s loss puts the Polar Bears’ overall season record at 26-4. The NCAA bid marks only the second time in program history that Bowdoin has earned a place at the tournament. 

The team began the NESCAC tournament on a high note, with a resounding 3-0 win over the Tufts last Friday night. The team was in command the entire match, dominating Tufts with set scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-15. 

During the Tufts match, Christy Jewett ’16 led the team in kills, with nine, while senior captain Melissa Haskell was not far behind with eight kills, two service aces, and 13 digs. Hilary Cederna ’13 contributed seven kills and eight digs while Ellie Brennan ’14 racked up five kills and seven digs.  Setter Sophia Cornew ’14 had 29 assists. 

Bowdoin then proceeded on to the NESCAC semifinals, where the team was defeated in a 3-2 heartbreaker against eventual champions Middlebury.  The Polar Bears dropped the first set 21-25 before rebounding in the second for a 25-19 win. 

The team repeated this performance in the third, winning 25-19 again. The team was up 2-1 but lost its lead when Middlebury picked up the closely fought fourth set 25-23. This Panther momentum carried on to the fifth set, where Middlebury was victorious 15-6. The loss eliminated Bowdoin from the tournament and denied the team a chance to repeat last year’s NESCAC championship win.
Middlebury then defeated Conn. College 3-0 in the finals, earning their fourth NESCAC title. 

Jewett again led the team in the close defeat with nineteen kills and five digs.  Haskell was a force offensively and defensively contributing 14 kills and 20 digs.  Captain Tory Edelman ’13 and Emese Gaal ’15 both had 11 kills while Cornew racked up 54 assists. 

“Obviously it was really disappointing to lose out to Middlebury, especially after we lost to them the weekend before, but overall I thought we played really well,” said Jewett. “Since the beginning of the season it has been our goal to make it to the elite eight, and I think we have that opportunity now.”
  In addition, Melissa Haskell and Sophia Cornew were both named to the All-NESCAC First Team when it was announced last Wednesday. 

The Polar Bears will travel to Conn., to face off against Emerson College today at 12:30 p.m. If Bowdoin wins, the team will advance to play the winner of Roger Williams and Springfield College on Saturday afternoon.  The winner of that match will go on to the regional final on Sunday.