The women’s lacrosse team (9-3, NESCAC 4-3) is on a three-game winning streak after beating Bates, Wheaton and, most recently, Colby in an extremely tight 12-11 game on Wednesday.
The Polar Bears, who were not ranked at the beginning of the season, have had to quickly prove themselves among the NESCAC’s elite teams. Alex Logan ’18, team captain, believes that the recent success has changed the team’s mindset.
“In the beginning of the season we weren’t ranked, so that kind of put a little bit of a chip on our shoulder,” said Logan. “But now we’re moving up, [and] we don’t look at a team because they’re number one or number two. We don’t get nervous because of that. We just try to play our game.”
Logan said the team has also spent a lot of time watching game videos of themselves to learn from its mistakes.
This year DII and DIII added new rules to the lacrosse handbook, including the impactful addition of a shot clock. Players can now only possess the ball for 90 seconds, which discourages teams from intentionally stalling the game.
“Because of the new rules, NESCAC teams have really changed the way they play defense,” said captain Hannah Hirschfeld ’18. “Lacrosse is a game of possession, so if a player has ball on her stick, unless there’s an unforced error or a caused turnover, it’s difficult to get the ball. There’s a lot more pressure this year because of the possession clock, [and] it increases the pace of the game, which is good for the overall sport.”
Head Coach Liz Grote supports the new rule and likes how it creates a more competitive defense.
“The NESCAC level is so high one player can’t win a game; the defenses are going to be too good for that,” she said. “You have to have that team play, and for a lot of teams in the NESCAC, different players step up every game. You might shut off one player, but another one shines.”
The team holds itself to what it calls the “Bowdoin standard,” which is a commitment for every player to perform her best in the face of pressures from other teams. The NESCAC’s fierce competition makes this pledge essential.
The team looks to maintain this commitment when playing out of conference opponents and was most recently met with success in its game with Wheaton, which increased its conference record to 5-0.
“Whenever you head into a NESCAC game you know it’s going to be intense,” said Grote. “But when you’re playing out of conference games, one of the things I’ve done to make sure we stay intense is to focus on us and what we’re getting better at every day, as opposed to focusing too much on the opponent. If we go in focusing on us and what we can do well, I hope we can maintain that level of confidence.”
The team’s win was special as the game was dedicated to the One Love Foundation, a nonprofit that works to combat relationship violence. The nonprofit was founded in honor of Yeardley Love, a lacrosse player at the University of Virginia who was killed by her abusive boyfriend in 2010. The Bears collected donations for One Love at the game against Wheaton.
Erin Morrissey ’19 and Maggie Savage ’19 took the lead in dedicating the game to One Love, but the team quickly rallied behind the powerful message.
“In any situation, relationship violence is unacceptable and really tough, and I think as women we have to stand with one another.” said Logan. “It’s not completely heteronormative; it can really happen to anyone, and it’s important to recognize relationship violence happens in all kinds of relationships, no matter if you’re an athlete or a non-athlete, or a man or a woman … Having something like that happen in the community is something we need to continue to raise awareness about.”
Bowdoin will look to continue its streak on Saturday against Wesleyan at 12 p.m.