With only two of nine players from last year's starting lineup, the women's squash team has clawed its way back into the nation's second division.
Since 1998, the Division II championship has been tossed back and forth
from Williamstown to Brunswick. Bowdoin took the title in 1998 and then
threw it back at the Cows in 1999. The Bears won the 2000 Division II
championship from Williams by a slim 5-4 margin, and Williams returned
the favor last year, seizing the cup by the same score. After four seasons
on the cusp of divisions I and II, Bowdoin's 2002 team has spent the majority
of the season hovering .
A December 5, 2001 national ranking put the Polar Bears at #20 in the
country, four spots below the DII cutoff. Regular season wins over F&M,
Connecticut College, Tufts and Mt. Holyoke bumped Black up to a #17 ranking
after January 30. Bowdoin owes its current #16 ranking to Tufts who closed
out Vassar 5-4 on February 2nd. When the national championship draws were
published on Tuesday, Bowdoin appeared in the last slot of the second
division, with Tufts leading the DIII pool.
Bowdoin looks at the second division seeding with promise. "We've
competed well against many of the DII teams this season, they know the
girls in black can push them, and better yet, we know they know."
Said captain Cristin O'Brien '02.
Well Cristin, you think you know, but you have no idea; the P. Bears
posted a 4-5 loss to #13 ranked Middlebury, and have waged battle against
#9 Bates, #11 Amherst, and #15 Colby. In fact, the girls traveled up I
95 to take on the Mules this Tuesday, but ended up falling 3-6.
"But honestly, it could have gone either way if the rest of you
would just pull yourselves together for once," said #2 Katie Irving
'04, who posted a win, alongside #1 O'Brien and #4 Sara Kaufman '02. The
Bears play has improved against rival Colby, from a 1-8 blowout in a November
scrimmage, to a 2-7 loss January 8th, to Tuesday's 3-6 decision. The Polar
Bears and Mules are likely to meet again at the nationals this weekend,
and hopefully, the Bears will pull themselves together.
The first challenge of the tournament will be Bates, the #1 seed in the
division. The Bobcats and Bears have faced off twice in the last two weeks,
with Bates taking 7-2 and 8-1 decisions. The Division II seedings are
Nationals are held this weekend, February 15-17, at Yale University.
The girls in black will open against Bates on Friday at 10:30a.m.