The women’s volleyball team continued its largely positive season, losing a closely-contested match against Trinity and quickly defeating Wesleyan the weekend before Fall Break.
Bowdoin’s performance versus Trinity was strong. They executed more total kills than the Bantams and kept the score very close, but the team made 16 total errors and lost 3-1 after four sets.
“I felt like we played really great volleyball, we were just very focused, and disciplined and did what we wanted to do, but unfortunately we started making too many errors,” said Head Coach Karen Corey.
“If you were to watch the game and not look at the score, we were playing very, very well at times, and we looked like we were completely dominating,” said captain Christy Jewett ’16, who led the team with 19 kills.
The team was firing on all cylinders offensively, but its defensive performance accounted for some of its mistakes. Bowdoin beat the Bantams by an impressive 13 points in the second set and lost by only two points in the first and third sets.
Players said that the mistakes came at unfortunate times and gave points to Trinity when the game was tight.
Nonetheless, Bowdoin channeled the energy from the loss into a strong performance against Wesleyan the following day.
“A lot of the disappointment of Trinity contributed to how well we started off against Wesleyan,” said Jewett.
The team quickly disposed of Wesleyan in three sets, winning by a large margin in the first set.
“Obviously we have a lot of talent, but it takes that talent coming together and playing as a team instead of as individuals, and I definitely felt that during the Wesleyan game,” said sophomore Quincy Leech.
However, Jewett emphasized the challenge of maintaining a higher level of play against Wesleyan, who are arguably a weaker team this season with a 1-6 record in the NESCAC.
“I’d say actually we didn’t play as nicely against Wesleyan, because with a tougher opponent like Trinity they really push you to rise to their level. Whereas Wesleyan wouldn’t give us as much back and it’s really hard to keep pushing when you’re not getting as much back from your opponent,” she said.
The Polar Bears followed these two matches with games against NESCAC opponents Hamilton and Middlebury and a crucial out-of-conference win over the University of Massachusetts, Boston this Columbus Day weekend.
The Polar Bears’ performance against Hamilton was impressive, winning 3-1 with wide margins. Katie Doherty ’17 held up the team’s defense with 40 digs, breaking the school’s previous record of 37 in 2009.
The match against Middlebury was close, but Bowdoin once again was unable to sustain momentum for the entire match to secure a victory and lost 3-2.
This performance leaves Bowdoin with a solid 4-3 record and a fifth place standing in the NESCAC.
“We want to compete really hard in the NESCAC. We want to get to the NESCAC tournament, we want to have a strong run in the NESCAC tournament; we want to win the NESCAC tournament,” Corey said.
The team is pushing to achieve its goal, but finishing in first place is becoming unlikely this late in the season. Williams, currently in first with a 6-0 record, has only four more NESCAC matches and would have to lose at least three to give the top seed to Bowdoin.
Jewett stressed the threat Williams poses but stated that the team is studying its strategy and is focused on putting its best foot forward on November 1.
Jewett said that the win over UMass Boston was crucial because it gives Bowdoin an advantage in the NCAA. The NCAA ranks teams by region and out-of-conference matches are weighted more heavily. Bowdoin now holds the number six spot in New England.
The team is determined to not let errors prevent success in future games.
“Volleyball is a game of errors so you’re going to inevitably make some and give some to your opponents. There’s a certain number I find acceptable: in D-III somewhere around eight errors a game is about average of what the strongest teams give up and still win,” said Corey.
“They’re’ going to make mental mistakes…we’re just going to be working hard on keeping that mental focus together,” she added.
“Going forward, we’re really looking to make sure we give an extra two percent of push at the end to close out games.” said Jewett.
Bowdoin has a home match against Bates today and will host Lebanon Valley College and Babson College on Saturday.