The volleyball team ended its historic season last Sunday with a 3-2 loss to UMass Boston in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

The team’s record this season of 28-5 had the most wins in program history, and this year marked the first time that Bowdoin made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA tournament.

The Polar Bears began the tournament last Friday night at Connecticut College with a commanding 3-0 sweep of Emerson College. Bowdoin was in control the entire match, dispatching Emerson easily with set scores of 25-21, 25-16 and 25-20. 
Christy Jewett ’16 led the team offensively with ten kills and three aces.  Ellie Brennan ’14 made important offensive and defensive contributions with nine kills, while setter Sophia Cornew ’14 notched 31 assists.

The match against Emerson propelled Bowdoin to the second round where the team faced rival Springfield College for the second time this year. The two teams’ first meeting on September 21 ended in a 3-1 Springfield win, Bowdoin’s only non-NESCAC loss of the regular season.

The tournament continued last Saturday afternoon with a 3-2 comeback over Springfield. Bowdoin was down 2-0 after losing both of the first two sets 25-21, but came from behind in the third to win 25-22. This momentum carried the team forward into the fourth where Bowdoin won 25-20, setting the stage for a climactic fifth set. The set began with an early Springfield lead, but a sustained Polar Bear run resulted in a 15-7 win, securing the match for Bowdoin and taking the team to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.

Melissa Haskell ’13 made crucial offensive and defensive contributions with 19 kills and 10 digs, while Tory Edelman ’13 was not far behind with 17 kills. Cornew racked up 55 assists in the win while libero Taylor Vail ’14 led the team defensively with 20 digs.

The third round of the tournament saw Bowdoin fall to UMass Boston in a fiercely fought 3-2 defeat, reminiscent of the team’s second-round loss to UMass in the tournament last year. 

The Polar Bears lost the first set 25-14 before coming back in the second with a 25-18 win. UMass retook control in the third picking up the set 25-22, and dominated  the fourth, beating UMass 25-12. The fifth set was a close battle, with both teams fighting for the lead for five points before a two point run gave UMass a 15-13 win, sending UMass Boston to Hope College in Holland, Michigan for the NCAA Elite Eight this weekend.

Bowdoin’s three graduating seniors all made important contributions in their last match, with Edelman collecting 14 kills, Hilary Cederna ’13 racking up eight kills and 13 digs, and Haskell notching seven kills and 15 digs. Vail led the team defensively with 27 digs.

After the weekend’s final match, Edelman and Cornew were both named to the All-Regional Team, while Haskell was named a Capital One Academic All-District Honoree. This  distinction puts Haskell in the running to be named to the Division III Academic All American team, announced on December 11.

“I was really happy with the way the team played this weekend, particularly against Springfield,” said Haskell about the match. “We encountered tougher-than-expected defense from UMass but I think we still made a good showing. The thing about NCAA’s is that it’s hard to end your career on a high note but I’m really proud of our team and I’m struggling to comprehend life after volleyball.”

Her fellow captain Edelman echoed this sentiment: “While we ended the season with a heartbreaking loss, overall, we did so well, and I am happy that I was able to be a part of it.”