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2023 spring sports preview

March 3, 2023


Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S LACROSSE: Ethan Barnard ’23 carries the ball down the field in a game versus Colby College last season.

2022 record: 18–3 (9–1 NESCAC)

The men’s lacrosse team enters 2023 with high expectations after its most successful season in recent history last year. Bowdoin advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament and fell to the Rochester Institute of Technology, the eventual national champions. With Head Coach Bill Mason at the helm for his second year, the Polar Bears hope to pursue NESCAC and NCAA championships. Bowdoin starts its season ranked third in the nation.

Captain Harp Lane ’23 noted that the team’s cohesiveness and enjoyment of the game are two central factors to its success.

“The group we have right now is really cohesive and wants to be together, and that off-the-field chemistry relates to [our play] on the field,” Lane said. “Our coach emphasizes how we’ve been playing [lacrosse] for our whole lives, and we don’t want to lose that young spirit at heart.… [We] play for that little kid who first picked up the sport.”

Mason noted that he is looking forward to a stretch earlier in the season, when the Polar Bears will play three games in five days between March 11 and March 15, including two games in Tampa, Fla.

“I am most excited to see our team compete during [that] challenging week,” Mason wrote in an email to the Orient. “That trip should be a greater indicator of how tough and resilient our team is.”

Captain Zack Goorno ’23 believes that the team’s increased experience and off-season training will prepare it to better approach this season’s challenges.

“We have a lot more experience than last year, since [last year] not even the seniors had played more than one collegiate season. We’re going to be in similar spots that we were last year,” Goorno said. “On top of that, I think we’re a really athletic team this year—we worked really hard in the off-season to gain weight and muscle and also to get faster.”

First game: March 5 at Middlebury College


Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S LACROSSE: Fiona Bundy ’22 attacks the eight meter. Bundy was a key part of the team's offense last year.

2022 record: 9–7 (4–6 NESCAC)

The women’s lacrosse team will begin its season with a pair of home games against Rogers Williams University on Sunday and top-ranked Middlebury College on Wednesday. Coming off of a 9–7 season in 2022 and a first-round loss in the NESCAC tournament, the team is led by Head Coach Liz Grote in her 21st year at the College.

Captain Fiona Bundy ’22, who scored 38 goals last season, sees the potential for the team to make a significant improvement in its record this season.

“Last year we were really competitive with top-ranked teams, but sometimes we didn’t finish and pull through for the win,” Bundy wrote in an email to the Orient. “I think this year, since we only graduated two people, the team is really experienced and knows what it takes now to win those really tough games.”

The Polar Bears will look to last year’s leading goal-scorer Sophia Sundano ’24 and attacker Colleen McAloon ’23 to jump start much of their offense, while midfielder Lauren Burke ’25 is likely to play an increased role on the field.

Captain Peyton Mulhern ’23 also spoke to the greater experience of this year’s team and highlighted the Polar Bears’ desire to increase their toughness.

“I think we can build on our physicality and become a gritter team,” Mulhern said. “We did a good job last year, but we saw that playing in the NESCAC [requires] a high level of lacrosse, and to be able to compete with the rest of the teams, we have to up our level.”

With these improvements, the team hopes to improve its NESCAC record, where it went 4–6 last year and finished seventh out of 11 teams. Its game against Middlebury next week will be an immediate opportunity to do so, and the team is also looking forward to matchups against in-state rivals Bates College (away on Wednesday, April 5) and Colby College (home on Wednesday, April 12).

First game: March 5 versus Roger Williams University


Courtesy of Brian Beard
BASEBALL: CJ Brito-Trinidad ’23 puts the ball in play in a game against Colby College. The baseball team had a NESCAC Quarterfinal exit last season.

2022 record: 16–19 (8–4 NESCAC)

Having finished the 2022 season at the top of the NESCAC East division last year, the baseball team is looking forward to continuing its success and improving on its playoff performance in its 2023 campaign through an off-season emphasis on strength and condition training and a more experienced veteran core.

The Polar Bears finished the 2022 season 16–19 (8–4 NESCAC), but they failed to get past Amherst College (16–18–1; 5–7 NESCAC in 2022) in the first round of the 2022 NESCAC Championships. Head Coach Mike Connolly highlighted that the team was disappointed with its early playoff exit.

“We felt—and this was across the board, this wasn’t just coaches, this was our captains, our Leadership Council—we felt like last year we had a fantastic year, and we kind of ran out of gas a little bit at the end of the year,” Connolly said in a phone interview with the Orient.

To address this, the team has been focusing on one thing in particular during the offseason: strength and conditioning.

“There was a period last year when we were an outstanding baseball team. We want to make sure that we can extend that beyond just the first round of the playoffs, so really, it’s making a commitment to strength, making a commitment to conditioning, trying to do everything in our power to stay healthier than we did last year,” Connolly said.

Having lost both the 2020 and 2021 seasons to Covid-19, the team is particularly excited for its second year back on the diamond. Captain and catcher Stephen Simoes ’23 believes the experience the team gained from last season will help them succeed this year.

“Last year, over two thirds of our team hadn’t yet played a full college season because of the Covid restrictions,” Simoes wrote in an email to the Orient. “This year, most of us come into the season with an understanding of what college baseball is all about, and that’s certainly a bonus.”

First game: Doubleheader against Westminster College on March 13 in Auburndale, Fla.


Courtesy of Brian Beard
SOFTBALL: Angelina Mayers ’23 throws home in a game last season. Mayers led the team in runs batted in last season.

2022 record: 14–18 (3–9 NESCAC)

After falling to Amherst College (26–9; 9–3 NESCAC in 2022) in the NESCAC Quarterfinal last year, the softball team is looking to have a strong showing this season by focusing on consistency and filling in the gaps of last year’s roster with young talent.

The Polar Bears finished last season 14–18 (3–9 NESCAC). Head Coach Ryan Sullivan believes that last year was exceptionally difficult for the program due to Covid-19 protocol and a lack of depth in the pitching staff.

“The beauty of college athletics is that every year is so different,” Sullivan said. “We’ve had a really encouraging preseason. Given what we went through last year, it can only make us stronger.”

Sullivan has been impressed with how hard the team has worked, something he says is especially notable given that softball typically has one of the longest preseasons out of the spring sports.

“This group has shown up every day and works really hard,” Sullivan said. “The message we’ve been trying to get across is just that consistency is something we have to achieve. In our sport, the ups and downs are killer…. We want to be consistent in the field and be aggressive on the bases.”

Sullivan added that the team’s young pitching staff and pitching depth is very promising.

“The first years are filling in a lot of gaps for our team, which is exciting,” Angelina Mayers ’23 said. “We’re working on our communication and being a closer team.”

Bowdoin’s second game of the season will be against top-20 Rowan University, which Sullivan says will be a good indicator of where the Polar Bears stand. However, he is most excited to simply get back out on the field.

“It’s fun to go out and compete and see what your team can do,” Sullivan said. “I think we’re working to get to a place where we can be successful.”

First game: Doubleheader on March 13 against Fredonia State and against Rowan University in Clermont, Fla.


Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S TENNIS: Ethan Bradley ’24 prepares to receive a serve from his opponent. The men’s tennis team went 16–6 (7–3 NESCAC) last season.

2022 record: 16–6 (7–3 NESCAC)

The men’s tennis team, ranked 14th in the nation, is looking to improve on its third-round exit from the NCAA DIII Tournament last spring.

The Polar Bears finished last season 16–6 (7–3 NESCAC) in what was the first opportunity for most players on the team to compete collegiately after losing two seasons to the Covid-19 pandemic. The experience has been critical for the team’s development.

“Having everyone on the team except first years play a season has given us a better foundation to know what we need to improve on. Last year, only a couple of guys had played a season, and now most of us have that experience too,” captain Tristan Bradley ’23 wrote in an email to the Orient.

The extra exposure to collegiate tennis has proven helpful. In the fall, Bradley and Reid Staples ’24 both went to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Cup in Rome, Ga. after playing against each other in the final round of the ITA Men’s New England Regional.

Despite the improvement, Bradley noted that there are still areas of the game the team can work to improve on together.

“Everyone is eager to say this year is ‘the year,’ but we are still a young team…. Of course, we have lofty goals of making a deep run in NESCAC and NCAA [playoffs], but we are taking a more process-oriented approach,” Bradley wrote.

One aspect of the game the team has focused on during the off-season was keeping a controlled mindset.

“Consistency doesn’t mean how well you play; it is about all the little things during practice and in a match that you can control to help our team be more engaged for a longer time frame,” Bradley wrote.

Bradley is optimistic that the team has a formula for success.

“This year we know how to better manage our time—mentally and emotionally—which should give us a better shot to be in a good mindset during our matches,” Bradley wrote.

First match: March 4 at Amherst College


Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S TENNIS: Hannah Buckhout ’24 celebrates a match. Bowdoin starts the year ranked 17th in the nation.

2022 record: 7–10 (5–5 NESCAC)

After just missing the NCAA DIII Tournament last spring, the women’s tennis team is looking for redemption on the court. The team finished last spring with a 7–10 (5–5 NESCAC) record and starts the year ranked 17th in the nation.

“We are coming off a decent season last year, but bouts of Covid, injury and overall team rebuilding post-pandemic left us unable to reach our full potential in the 2022 season,” captain Hannah Buckhout ’24 wrote in an email to the Orient.

During the off-season, the team has particularly focused on improving its doubles. Since the first three matches of each competition are played in doubles, winning doubles matches can provide momentum early in a set ahead of the singles matches.

“We’re trying to play an exciting brand of doubles, which is an aggressive style of doubles,” Head Coach Ben Lamanna said. “[We’re] getting stronger so that we can be digging in the corners better and playing longer points more confidently and feeling like you don’t have to take as many risks on a singles court because we’re fit enough to last and focus.”

The Polar Bears aren’t just putting in the hard work to improve technique out on the court; they’ve also been training intensely in order to build their strength and increase their stamina.

“So far this year, we have worked incredibly hard through early morning and late-night practices, lifts, and conditioning sessions to succeed in our upcoming matches,” Buckhout wrote.

The team has already started to see the results of its hard work. In the fall, Jamilah Karah ’25 and Cara Hung ’26 headed to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Cup in Rome, Ga. and won two doubles matches.

Lamanna has been impressed by the team’s progress and is optimistic for the Polar Bears’ performance this season.

“With the year of experience that we had last year, just the concepts building on top of each other, we’re more mature, we’re more battle-tested and ready to have a big season,” Lamanna said.

First match: March 4 at Amherst College


Courtesy of Brian Beard
MEN'S TRACK AND FIELD: Ajay Olson ’23 takes off in a race last spring. The men’s track and field team placed fifth in the NESCAC Championship last season.

2022 record: 5th/11 at NESCACs

With a top-five finish at the NESCAC Championship in 2022, the men’s track and field team is hoping to bring energy and continued success into this upcoming season, particularly through a young jumps squad.

“Our men’s horizontal jumps group is a relatively young group of sophomores and first years with one senior, and so I’m really excited about that because we have the depth to score very deeply in the long and triple [jumps],” Head Coach LJ Que said.

Captain Parker Beatty ’23 noted that the team is optimistic about its return to the outdoors after a strong indoor season.

“We’ve really been driving home the idea of getting one percent better every day,” Beatty wrote in an email to the Orient. “Every day we show up to practice with the expectation that we are there to push each other to eclipse our current limits, and we will continue to do this into the outdoor season.”

With this preparation, Beatty believes there could be some standout performances come the NESCAC Championship in April.

“There’s a different feel to this roster, and we have so many athletes that are right on the cusp of having breakout performances that are just waiting to happen,” Beatty wrote. “For right now, all we are focused on is competing with ourselves and being diligent and intentional in our training, so that when championship season arrives, we will be mentally and physically ready.”

Que is especially looking forward to the seniors on the team, who have only experienced one full season of outdoor track due to Covid-19 restrictions, getting a chance to compete one last time.

“I’m just really excited for our senior class. I think our senior class has really been affected the most and most uniquely with Covid,” Que said. “I’m just excited for … them to continue to train and have really great culminating experiences at the end of the season–whenever that is for them.”

First meet: March 25 at the Monmouth University Invitation in West Long Branch, N.J.


Courtesy of Brian Beard
WOMEN'S TRACK AND FIELD: Jada Scotland ’23 competes in the weight throw. The women’s track and field team placed third in the NESCAC Championship last season.

2022 record: 3rd/11 at NESCACs

Aiming to continue its individual and team successes from the indoor season, the women’s track and field team is hoping that PRs and records will continue to fall as it shifts to the outdoors and more events are opened up for competition.

“We did really well at [indoor] states this year, which is kind of the full-team championship in indoor,” Emma Hargreaves ’23, a captain and thrower, said. “But in outdoor, we get to have a NESCAC Championship, so I think our sights are set on that championship. Both teams are situated to do very well.”

Last year, the Polar Bears finished third in scoring for the NESCAC Championship meet. Head Coach LJ Que noted that getting back to that level of competition is one of the team’s goals this year as it places a focus on injury prevention.

“The women getting third again last year was truly a culminating experience for all the different event groups,” Que said. “We’re focusing on addressing any injuries and being really proactive in our injury prevention.”

Que is hoping that the women’s throwing group and relay teams continue to put up points for the team and propel them into the top three in the NESCAC.

“What I’m excited about is our continued efforts on the throws. We scored almost 60 points, just in our throws last NESCACs,” Que said. “[We want to continue] being really strong across all of our relay teams, whether that’s a 4×100, the 4×400 or the 4×800. We’re looking to continue to improve on those relay legs and create stronger relay legs to place higher in those events come the NESCAC meet.”

Hargreaves noted that these same points are crucial to defeating some of their NESCAC rivals.

“We’re always kind of looking at Bates knowing that we could hopefully score more than them at the NESCACs,” Hargreaves said. “That’s definitely what we’re rolling towards. It will be really fun.”

First meet: March 25 at the Monmouth University Invitation in West Long Branch, N.J.


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