Last year, Katie Doherty ’17 made an immediate impact on the volleyball team as a first year. She had a statistically explosive first season, appearing in 29 of the team’s 30 matches and grabbing 163 kills and 277 digs, good enough for second on the team in both categories.

At the start of her sophomore campaign, Doherty, who hails from Menlo Park, Calif., has not shown signs of letting up.

A graduate of Menlo Atherton High School, Doherty had an impressive high school career, playing for the varsity team all four years and helping it reach the California state semi-finals. She also competed in soccer and pole-vaulting during high school. 

At Bowdoin’s first tournament of the season, the Endicott Invitational, Doherty helped the team win four straight matchups by averaging 2.47 kills and 4.20 digs per set—surpassing her averages of 1.85 kills and 3.1 digs per set from last season.

“We were looking to go undefeated for the weekend,” said Doherty on the team’s attitude going into the tournament. “We have a bitter taste from last year and we really want to go farther this year.”

After a 20-5 showing in the regular season last year, Bowdoin lost in the NESCAC finals to Williams and failed to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Doherty was strong throughout the Polar Bears’ first two matches—three-set victories over the Plymouth State University Panthers and the Roger Williams Hawks—but really came through in a dramatic five-set victory over a well-regarded squad from New York University (NYU). 

Though Bowdoin jumped out to a two set lead, NYU fought back,  taking the third set and narrowly forced a fifth by winning the fouth set 29-27.  

In the decisive fifth, Doherty and fellow sophomores Erica Sklaver and Clare Geyer led the team to a 15-12 victory.

“Everyone on the court really believed that we were going to win the whole time,” Doherty said. “We have a really positive attitude and a really positive team and we were really excited to just play.”

Doherty finished the match with 15 kills and a team-leading 29 digs, 11 more digs than teammate Christy Jewett ’16, who had Bowdoin’s second-highest total in the match.

Later in the day Doherty and the rest of the Polar Bears beat Endicott College. After narrowly dropping the first game 25-22 the Polar Bears comfortably won the next three 25-18, 25-12, and 25-17, respectively. Doherty’s 19 total digs was nearly double that of the next-closest Polar Bear.

Doherty officially plays outside hitter, a position usually played on the line nearest the net on the left side. Despite playing in a position that is close to the net, she has a high number of digs—the third most in the NESCAC. Only Katie Kershaw of Amherst and Anna Brown of Hamilton have more digs this season, and both play positions—defensive specialist and libero respectively—that offer them more oppurtunities for digs. 

Part of the reason Doherty has such a high number of digs for her position is because Bowdoin has changed formations this year, as detailed in the Orient’s article this week about the start of the volleyball season. Even though players rotate through a variety of different positions on the team, Doherty seems to have a knack for consistently coming up with the ball and getting it back over the net.  

Doherty was named to the Endicott Invitational All-Tournament Team and was honored as the NESCAC Women’s Volleyball Player of the Week.

After domination at the Endicott Invitational, Doherty Doherty helped the Polar Bears to a convinving win in their home opener against the University of New England on Tuesday. The reigning Player of the Week led the team with 15 digs while also racking up seven kills, good for the second most on the team.

Doherty said she was surprised by the recent slew of accolades. 

“I was honestly really surprised,” she said. “I was expecting Christy [Jewett] or Erica [Sklaver] to get something like [the NESCAC Player of the Week award]. I wouldn’t really have expected myself to but it was nice to be recognized. It could have been any of my team members.”