When Head Volleyball Coach Erin Cady watched Caroline Flaharty ’20 play for the first time during the recruiting process, she knew she wanted Flaharty on the team.
“I think my notes were ‘yes, yes please,’” Cady said.
As Flaharty wraps up her final season, she has surely exceeded Cady’s expectations.
Earlier this season, Flaharty became the sixth player in Bowdoin volleyball history to reach 1,000 kills. Last week, in the team’s victory against Endicott (17-7), she also hit 1,000 digs, making her the third Bowdoin player to record 1,000 in both stats. With another 3-0 sweep versus Worcester Polytechnic Institute (13-9) last weekend, the team now celebrates both Flaharty’s accomplishment and its eight-match winning streak.
Since Flaharty’s first season, when she was named Rookie of the Year for the NESCAC, she has consistently led the conference in statistics.
“She’s always striving to get better and to perfect her game,” Cady said. “Even if it’s just a little bit each year, she is really focused on changing up her offense with a variety of shots.”
Cady appreciates Flaharty’s versatility on the court, as her ability to play both back and front row for six rotations enables her to contribute throughout the whole game. It is her dedication to self-improvement and her teammates that led her to achieve such a rare milestone, Cady believes.
Heading into the game on Saturday with 999 digs, it was Flaharty’s first dig from middle back that sent her coaches and teammates into applause from the bench.
“It was so early in the game that we didn’t stop or do anything crazy, but it was awesome,” Flaharty said.
Though Flaharty is proud of her achievement, she feels more grateful for her teammates and coaches who have supported her in realizing these goals.
“I think it’s the kind of [accomplishment] that speaks to the entire program I’ve been a part of for four years,” Flaharty said. “In order to get any kind of stat in volleyball, [you have to] depend on the people around you. It speaks to the generations of people that I’ve played with and coaches I’ve had to set [me] up to get those kinds of achievements.”
As the season comes to an end, Cady expects Flaharty to continue to be a dominant force and team leader in their important upcoming matches at Middlebury (11-7, 4-2 NESCAC) and Amherst (16-3, 5-1 NESCAC) this weekend.
Success in these matches will determine the team’s seed in the NESCAC Championship Tournament the weekend of Friday, November 8. Cady hopes to head into the tournament with the third-place seed.
Flaharty recognizes the NESCAC championship as “a completely different ballgame,” and is now focused on “[putting] in the work so that [the team] can come out on top there too.”
“We are practicing a championship mentality [with] every ball we touch,” Flaharty said. “Every point that we are in should be treated as if it’s the championship point of the championship match.”
Cady similarly looks forward to seeing success in the upcoming games and eventually attaining a second chance to defeat Tufts, who is currently seeded first in the league with a 19-1 overall and a 6-0 NESCAC record.
With playoffs soon approaching, the team will be looking for a second chance to defeat Tufts.
“Even though she’s accomplishing so much as an individual, her goals are always oriented towards the team,” Cady said.
“The NESCAC championship is anyone’s,” said Flaharty. “We’re trying to put in the work so that we can come out on top.”
Caroline Flaharty ’20 is a member of the Orient Staff.