After falling 8-1 to Middlebury (8-3, 5-0 NESCAC) on Saturday, the women’s tennis team has a chance to bounce back in its double-header against Tufts (10-3, 3-1 NESCAC) and Williams (9-4, 3-1 NESCAC) this coming weekend. These will be Bowdoin’s last two NESCAC games in the regular season and with them comes the opportunity to secure a high seed in NESCAC playoffs.
Last weekend’s hefty loss was uncharacteristic of Bowdoin’s season thus far. The Polar Bears (10-4, 4-2 NESCAC) have had a very successful season, capturing a win over top ranked Pomona in March and a No. 7 spot in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) national Division III rankings. Joulia Likhanskaia ’17, a member of the team, sees last weekend’s result as a blemish rather than a defining aspect of the team’s season.
“We did suffer a major loss last weekend, but that’s alright; it’s not going to bring us down too much,” said Likhanskaia. “[Last weekend] was kind of a wake up call for us.”
Middlebury is currently ranked No. 3 in the ITA rankings—one of two NESCAC teams ranked ahead of Bowdoin in national polls.
A great deal of Bowdoin’s success this season has come from the chemistry formed by way of a very small roster. Bowdoin started the season with eight players, but due to a couple of midseason injuries, the team’s playable roster now consists of only six students.
“We’ve faced a lot of adversity and a few challenges,” said Likhanskaia. “Having only six players, you really have to make sure everyone’s on top of their game, that they’re staying healthy, that they get their rest. But we’ve done pretty well.”
Beyond the physical burden placed on the six available players, the pressure to perform is also high. The players will have to be on top of their game this weekend against two nationally-ranked NESCAC teams: No.8 Tufts and No. 4 Williams.
First, the Polar Bears will travel to face a very strong Tufts program that is currently 4-1 at home. After that match they will travel to Williamstown, Massachusetts to take on the Purple Cows. The last time Bowdoin met Williams was in a 5-0 defeat that knocked the Polar Bears out of the NCAA tournament last season.
Wins in each of these matches would give Bowdoin a great deal of confidence heading down the homestretch of their season. With the NESCAC tournament in sight, the team wants to ensure that it is firing on all cylinders.
“I think we’ll be ready for this weekend. We’re pumped,” said Likhanskaia.
The team will travel to Massachusetts to face Tufts on Saturday at 3 p.m. and Williams on Sunday at 2 p.m.