On Saturday afternoon in Morrell Gymnasium, the women’s volleyball team (11–7; 6–3 NESCAC) defeated Wesleyan University (16–2; 7–1 NESCAC) in a highly contested five-set match. The Polar Bears’ 3–2 win struck down Wesleyan’s undefeated NESCAC record and earned Bowdoin a third place conference ranking. On Tuesday, Bowdoin defeated Bates College (5–1; 0–8 NESCAC) in Lewiston.
Given Wesleyan’s record and its standing as the number twelve ranked team in Division III prior to Saturday’s match, Bowdoin players knew they were in for a challenge. Offensive hitter Jenna Robbins ’23 said that in the face of a tough opponent, the team focused on bringing its best game.
“We knew that we needed to control what we could on our side, keep our energy high and really work together as a team and as a collective unit,” Robbins said. “Instead of looking at it like they’re the twelfth ranked team in the country, [we viewed them as] just a component in our conference.”
The Polar Bears lost the first set 25-13, but the team did not let this setback affect the rest of the match.
“We lost pretty badly in the first set, and we easily could have said, ‘Okay, you know, they’re good, this is just the way it’s going to be.’ We could have settled for that, but we came back in the second set with more of a hunger to do better and to play at our level. We ended up winning that [second] set,” middle blocker Mary John ’25 said.
Following Bowdoin’s 25–18 win in the second set, the Cardinals took the third set 27–25.
“After that third set, there was a bit of a frustration that we didn’t keep the lead, but that frustration, instead of [hurting] us, actually just lended itself to: ‘Okay, we’re not letting that happen again, and we’re going to show them that we can seal the deal. We can finish it,” John said.
The team went on to win the next two sets 25–15 and 15–12, due in large part to fierce defensive blocks and 14 digs by libero Maya White ’25. Offensively, setter Ella Haugen ’23 earned 50 assists, and outside hitter Sarah Evans ’23 led the team with 18 kills.
Bowdoin won its match at Bates on Tuesday 3–1, marking its third consecutive win since its shutout against Trinity College last Friday. After losing its first set 23–25, Bowdoin rebounded by winning its next three 25–18, 25–13 and 25–12. The team recorded a season-high 17 service aces, with six coming from setter Joy Liu ’25 and with Robbins and middle hitter Lauren Lange ’24 each contributing four.
The team hopes to carry this momentum into tonight’s non-conference match against Colby College (13–5; 4–4 NESCAC) in Waterville. The Polar Bears fell 1–3 to the Mules last month.
“We want to keep [last Saturday’s] game as our standard now that we know that we can play like that,” Robbins said. “Bringing our A-game and just continuing to work as a collective unit, not as individuals out there on the court … will help us this weekend.”