The women’s volleyball team currently sits in first place in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) with a 7-1 in-conference record and a 17-4 overall record. Heading into the playoffs, the team has won 13 of its last 14 matches—including the last five in a row—and is a contender to host the first game of the NESCAC tournament.
In addition to leading the NESCAC standings, women’s volleyball is dominating the conference in blocks and service aces.
Ella Haugen ’23, who has played in all 21 matches this season and leads the team with 563 assists, attributes this successful season to the team’s depth and camaraderie.
“I think that with a lot of teams, there can be animosity between who’s playing and who’s not. But we just have a really strong bond as a team—so it’s nice that we have trust in each other, trust in our coach and have been able to make a lot of changes and stay confident with those changes because of that,” Haugen said. “We have seen an upward progression throughout the season.”
Captain Cori Gray ’22 has also played in every match this season and leads the team with 61 blocks. She believes that many players have developed a newfound sense of admiration for the sport this year.
“I know especially for the returners, [we are] lucky we get to be part of Bowdoin volleyball,” Gray said. “For the new girls, they had their senior years [of high school] taken away from them or their [first] year at Bowdoin taken away from them. So I think getting that chance again to play volleyball, whether it be for their first time at Bowdoin as sophomores or after losing their senior year of high school—I think everyone is just appreciative to be here.”
Head Coach Erin Cady also recognizes the adjustments her players and fellow coaches have made during this unusual season.
“Our whole team has worked hard and adapted to changes,” Cady said. “The program is full of dedicated individuals that know how to prioritize the team’s success.”
As the playoffs approach, the team is trying to achieve a difficult balance between embracing confidence and maintaining humility.
“We, in the past, have had an underdog mentality going into a lot of games and that’s worked for us because we never get too cocky,” Haugen said. “But this year we’ve also had to say, ‘No, we’re talented too. We can make it that far.’ It’s a tough balance.”
Heading into the playoffs, the team carries itself with confidence in its strong camaraderie and ability to persevere through adversity.
“I think all of us are confident in our abilities and I think confident in our togetherness as a team to get us to where we need to be,” Gray said. “We trust our abilities and have learned a lot of important lessons throughout this entire year in some tough losses and some exhausting weekends. The fact that we’ve experienced all of these different things will, hopefully, ultimately separate us from our competition.”
Women’s volleyball will play its final two matches of the regular season this Friday at Colby College and Saturday at Bates College.