Polar Bears earn NESCAC bid
With a dominating effort that left many wondering if Colby had mistakenly suited up their junior varsity squad, the Bowdoin Men's Soccer Team trounced their in-state rival 4-0 last Saturday, clinching home field advantage and a first round bye for the NESCAC tournament.
"Getting the bye and not having to travel makes life a lot easier for us," said Bowdoin head Coach Brian Ainscough. Having already clinched the regular season NESCAC title with one conference game remaining against Bates, one would imagine that perhaps the Polar Bears may be looking past the Bobcats to the postseason.
This is not the case, according to co-captain Chris Fuller '03. "We are going to have the same mindset [for Bates this weekend] as we would for any other game," said the native of Wellesley, Massachusetts. "Every game matters when you want to get an NCAA bid."
Fuller, a midfielder/forward, along with fellow senior captains Bart McMann and Kevin Folan, has provided a young team with valuable leadership this season. Said Fuller, "The main challenge has been building team chemistry with such a young group of guys. Getting used to each other's style of play can take time and the fact that we have had so much success this season attests to our team unity."
While many Bowdoin fans may have been nervous prior to the season regarding the loss of All-American Dave Bulow '02 and a relatively small returning core of players, Ainscough was confident that his trio of captains could set a positive example and bring the team to a new level of success. Said the third year coach, "[The captains] have all taken their responsibilities to heart, and have also contributed greatly to our success with their play on the field."
Leading an offensive minded team that has outscored its opponents 38-17 in thirteen games thus far this season, Fuller himself scored one of the most important goals, rocketing in the winning goal in overtime against Trinity on homecoming weekend.
For Fuller and the team, this win marked a turning point in a season filled with success. Said Fuller, "The win was big. Not only for my own confidence but also for the team's. That victory kept us in first place and allowed us to go into the Colby game with the opportunity to clinch hosting the NESCAC tournament."
While a senior provided the winning tally against Trinity, youth once again stepped to the forefront against Colby. Junior Ethan Roth scored the game's first goal midway through the first half on an assist from Folan.
The Polar Bears then pulled away early in the second half with successful penalty kicks by Bobby Desilets '05 and Drew Russo '06. The final tally was scored by Bucky Jencks '05, a goal that was his first of the season.
Several different players scoring goals in one game is no surprise for this year's team. Currently ranked seventh in the nation, Bowdoin has reached this point by utilizing numerous offensive threats.
While Desilets and Russo have accounted for exactly half of the team's 38 goals, seven different players have scored the remaining 19. This versatility has served the Polar Bears well, not allowing the opposition to successfully key on just one or two scoring threats.
While Bowdoin has achieved its goal for this year's regular season, the postseason still awaits. There is no doubt in Polar Bear nation that Ainscough will have his troops prepared. Said Fuller, "Coach Ainscough is a demanding coach who expects a lot out of us." With the amount of talent on this year's squad, expecting anything else would be an injustice.