Outside hitter Melissa Haskell ’13 supplied talent and drive in her best season yet, leading the volleyball team to the NCAA D-III Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. 

Led by Haskell’s 2.84 kills and 2.99 digs per set, the Polar Bears earned a 28-5 season record, posting the most wins in the team’s history by beating their 27-3 performance from the previous year. 

With Haskell finishing her collegiate career, the team is losing their kill leader and most reliable offensive threat.

“If you look at her statistics over four years, she has 250 kills and digs each season,” Head Coach Karen Corey said. “Having that consistency is something we will miss.” 

In her career, Haskell eclipsed 1,000 kills and digs, becoming only the second player in the team’s history to accomplish this feat. 

“You always knew what to expect from Melissa,” said co-captain Tory Edelman. “It was a very comforting quality to have when you aren’t worried about her play on the court.” 

Haskell’s poise stems from her experience on the court. She started since her first year and became a dependable player and leader. 

Junior setter Sophia Cornew emphasized the calm demeanor that Haskell provides on the court.

“Mel was an even keel for the team and her leadership reflected her ability to keep a level-headedness about all challenges we faced as a team,” she said. 

In addition to supplying production and leadership on the court, Haskell also provided her teammates with a model of the successful student-athlete.

A physics major at Bowdoin, Haskell has a 3.79 cumulative GPA, is a Sarah and James Bowdoin scholar and a two-time Academic All-American. Recently, she was named the Capital One Academic All-District honoree. The D-III Academic-All American team is released on Tuesday, December 11.

Haskell says the key to balancing athletics and academics is “just trying to focus on one thing at a time and not worry about the two things at once.” She continues with the following advice: “Don’t watch too many YouTube videos.”

“She is a Bowdoin physics major, working on an honors project between MIT and Mass General,” said Corey, praising her academic commitment. “Whether she is in the classroom or on the court, she is very analytical.” 

Haskins explains, in jest: “I am a total science geek.”

She says she plans to pursue graduate school next year and will keep track of Bowdoin volleyball next season.