As weather turns cold, soccer looks to extend win streak
Though the weather in Brunswick has become frigid, the Bowdoin Men's Soccer Team has been scorching nets around New England. The Polar Bears are riding a six-game winning streak during which they have cumulatively outscored their opponents 19-0.
After a tough loss to Amherst and a disappointing tie with Middlebury in September, October has seen the Polar Bears notch their first six shutouts of the season, three of which came against NESCAC foes.
Bowdoin's stingy defense has been the team's strength from the beginning of this season, it has featured several team members playing unanticipated amounts due to other players being injured. One constant, however, has been Travis Derr '04 in the goal. He has given up a sparse ten goals thus far this season in 904 minutes, compiling a 1.00 goals against average.
This strong defensive play has taken the pressure off the offense. "Having Derr in net is a big advantage for us, as he does an extremely good job," said forward Bobby Desilets '05.
Desilets is not the only forward willing to throw praise at his goalkeeper. "Derr has played great for us, and as a result, we're carrying momentum into the postseason," added Drew Russo '06.
While neither of these two forwards would say so themselves, Desilets and Russo are a major reason for the Polar Bears' success. After a slow start to the season, their scoring has exploded. They are tied for the team lead with nine goals each, while Russo leads Desilets in assists by a tally of 4-2.
"At the start of the season, I wasn't seeing the field that well or making the runs I needed to in order to score," said Russo. Luckily for the Polar Bears, he has found his touch, in no small part to some great assists from players such as Ethan Roth '06 and Joseph Adu '07 as well as Tucker Hodgkins '05, who leads the team in assists with five.
While individual accolades such as shutouts for goalies and goals for forwards are great, the stars of this year's team are more focused on achieving their goal of a NESCAC championship and the automatic berth into the NCAA tournament that accompanies it.
"We have lost in the semis of the NESCAC every year I have been here, and that has kept us from going to the NCAAs," said Derr. "If we make the finals, who knows how far we could go in the NCAAs? The possibilities are endless."
Playing the final two games of the regular season against in-state rivals Colby and Bates will give the Polar Bears a chance to hone their skills for the tournament, and, with a little luck, perhaps host the tournament on Pickard Field. They are currently in third place in the NESCAC with a conference record of 4-2-1. The Polar Bears trail Williams (6-0-1) and Amherst (5-1-1).
These two final games are critical for the Polar Bears to keep their winning streak alive and to give them momentum going into the NESCAC tournament.
"Last year we really fell off as the season wore down," said Russo. "We need to stay focused and take care of the teams we are supposed to beat."
While the Polar Bears are the hottest team on campus right now, they know that can change in an instant if they don't maintain their intensity.
"We need to put away the next two games. Our results at the end of the regular season in past years have been less than desirable," said Derr. The Polar Bears hope to take the first step towards reversing this trend this Saturday when they host Colby on Pickard Field at noon to kick off Homecoming Weekend.