Last Saturday, the women’s lacrosse team (9-7, NESCAC 5-5) fell to Amherst (12-4, NESCAC 6-4) in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament, by a score of 12-9. However, the team hopes its winning season overall will be enough to win an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
“It wasn’t the outcome we wanted or expected,” said Katie Miller ’21, one of the team’s lead scorers and a recent selection to the First-Team All-NESCAC.
Amherst started the game strong, jumping out to a 3-1 lead, but Bowdoin took the lead after a 5-1 run to end the first half. In the second half, Amherst posted an impressive five goals within the first nine minutes and held the lead through the end.
“They knew we’re good in transition,” said Miller. “They knew how to shut us down and their attack played well against our defense.”
The Polar Bears totaled 26 shots, 22 ground-balls and 10 saves in the match, marking an improvement from their first regular season game against the Mammoths, when they lost 16-12.
“I don’t think we [had] a bad game. We’ve just had better games,” said Miller. “We weren’t as consistent as we have been in the past.”
On Sunday, the team will learn if it received an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. Bids are awarded to teams based on their overall season records as well as the strength of their schedules.
“It’s definitely tough [to be] in this weird waiting period,” said Miller. “But it gives us a unique opportunity to be present and focus on the team and individuals and getting better.”
Regardless of the postseason outcome, this season has been one of dramatic improvement for women’s lacrosse. After dropping three of their first five games to begin the season, the Polar Bears went on to beat Colby (9-6, NESCAC 5-5), Endicott (13-5) and Williams (7-8, NESCAC 3-7).
Miller cites improved communication and camaraderie among the players as a driving force for their success in the second half of the season.
“Our team chemistry has improved a lot, and the way that we connect on the field and off the field has really translated to the field every time we play,” said Miller. “I feel like it’s a big part of our success.”
The team also saw significant contributions from its younger players, which Miller said proved to be an advantage.
“That’s good because it puts everyone on a level playing field and there’s no hierarchy,” she said. “It’s a whole team effort.”
While six seniors will be graduating from the team this year, Miller feels optimistic about next season.
“I have no doubt our underclassmen and our juniors are going to step up,” Miller said. “Our sophomore class is super talented and we have a lot of contributors this year … We have a good class coming in.”