Polar Bears soccer primes for playoffs
The Bowdoin Men's Soccer Team enters the stretch run of their season in the enviable position of controlling their own destiny. With wins in their next two games against in-state rivals Bates and Colby, the Polar Bears will not only clinch the CBB title, but also earn the advantage of hosting the NESCAC tournament.
"We have a lot at stake this weekend, with an opportunity to have the tournament here and avoid a first round game," said head coach Brian Ainscough.
This advantage is not one to be taken lightly, as the Polar Bears were forced to take a long bus trip to Williamstown to face the Williams Ephs last year in the NESCAC tournament. Bowdoin dropped a tough game to Williams, who eventually reached the NCAA tournament.
Bowdoin is still in contention for hosting the tournament largely because of the outstanding play of senior Chris Fuller. During the past week, Fuller scored four goals in three games, including a blast that gave the Polar Bears a 3-2 overtime win over Trinity to celebrate Homecoming.
"Chris Fuller had a great week for us," said Ainscough. "He gave us the boost we needed. We had the problem of having to play five games in seven days earlier this year, which took a toll on us physically."
Another important factor for successful teams is having new players rise to meet challenges. Recently for Bowdoin, sophomore goalkeeper Tom Davis has done just that. After starting against Babson, he played the second half of the Trinity game as well as overtime, helping to earn the critical conference win.
"It felt great," said Davis. "I was just happy that I could finally contribute." Davis is not playing as a replacement for junior standout Travis Derr, however. According to Ainscough, "We're getting into a difficult part of the season and we needed to see how Tommy would respond under pressure." Having two reliable keepers is a major advantage that the Polar Bears are happy to have over their opponents.
For many players who compete for one available position on the field, this situation could present a problem. This is apparently not the case according to Davis. The San Francisco native said, "Travis and I work really well together. We push each other and both want to play, but it is very healthy competition."
For Davis, the biggest competition does not happen only on the soccer field, but also in his room. His roommate, fellow sophomore Bobby Desilets, is one of the premier goal-scoring forwards in the NESCAC this season.
"We get into competitions in practice. When he scores he gives me weird looks. I can't tell if he's happy that he scored or if he's trying to hit on me," said Davis.
Desilets quickly cleared this up for any soccer fans who might now be eager to watch practice in hopes of seeing one if his looks. "It's just to let Tommy know that he can't stop any of my shots. It's not really the competition he describes. Unless there is a competition between a hammer and a nail."
While the two Polar Bears were exchanging these blows, Davis was also enjoying the World Series action on television, featuring his beloved Giants playing in the fall classic for the first time since 1989.
Davis erupted as his hero Barry Bonds crushed a homerun to deep center. The connection between these two is a special one, as both have recently been accused of utilizing steroids in their training regimens, resulting in the intimidating bulk that Davis used to stop Trinity's forwards last Saturday.
This friendly rivalry has added to a team that already has great camaraderie. According to several teammates, the team's ability to talk this season has added a new dimension to their on field success. Said superfan Daniel Hayes, "I'm really happy for Bobby and Tommy, they have something great going. All of us think they're perfect together. I mean, they even finish each other's sentences."
After all, with all successful teams, communication is the key.