The women’s volleyball team (1–0; 0–0 NESCAC) opened its season on Tuesday night with a 3–0 victory over the University of Southern Maine (1–4). The Polar Bears won by set scores of 25–17, 25–13 and 25–10. The team views the sweep as a result of offseason training and team chemistry.
After being tied 5–5 in the first set, Bowdoin went on an 8–2 run led by three straight kills from captain and middle blocker Lauren Lange ’24. The Polar Bears held a commanding lead for the rest of the match.
“The first game of the season is always interesting because you don’t know what kinks you’re going to run into,” Lange said. “Jumping in, I think it was a slow five-point start, but once you pick the energy up, you’re like, okay, this is how we’re going to do it. It was a great feeling. The confidence came and the motivation came, and we never really faltered.”
Outside hitter Skye LaMendola ’27 led the Polar Bears with 11 kills and four aces in her first collegiate match.
“[My first game] was everything I hoped it would have been. I really like the culture and the team. It was a fantastic time,” LaMendola said.
Setter Ella Haugen ’23 earned 25 assists and nine digs, and libero Maya White ’25 had 16 digs. Outside hitter Lily Janas ’26 contributed with six kills, and Haley Campau ’27 and Lange had five kills each.
“It was cool to see both the seniority and people who have been on the team for a while mixed with a lot of first years getting their first game experience,” captain Corinne Lamond ’24 said. “It was awesome to see our first years just get out there and rock it. No deer in the headlights, just full gas. The excitement that people have for all experience levels will bring us success.”
The Polar Bears were glad to see their offseason and preseason training pay off.
“During preseason, we really started out strong. We were able to really push ourselves and train hard,” Lange said. “This is when you can start to compete and show everyone what we’ve been working on.”
The team also feels a renewed sense of focus and purpose this season. Last year, Bowdoin lost to Amherst College in the NESCAC Quarterfinals and ended the year 13–10 (6–4 NESCAC).
“The biggest mindset shift happened at the end of last season. We had some honest conversations with coaches, with teammates and with ourselves about why we may not have performed to the level that we wanted,” Lamond said. “Something we talked about all spring was that it’s cool to care and to normalize a culture where working hard is the expectation.”
This weekend, Bowdoin will travel to Swarthmore College to play in the Garnet Invitational. Bowdoin will compete against Swarthmore (3–0), Arcadia University (1–0) and Salisbury University (3–0). The team is excited for practice against tough competition ahead of conference play.
“We’re going out of our way to set ourselves up for playing conference games. So any kinks that we might run into, we can confront this weekend. It’s so we can see high-level competition and we know how to dig within ourselves and step up to the plate,” Lange said.
Bowdoin plays its first conference game of the season against Bates College (1–0; 0–0 NESCAC) next Friday. The team is eager to see where it can go from here.
“I am really excited for us to hit our maximum potential,” Lange said. “I think we have so much talent on this team. I’m so happy to be ending my volleyball career with the team that we currently have.”
The Polar Bears are, of course, also aiming for another NESCAC Championship. Bowdoin last took home the trophy in 2021.
“I want a banner on the wall. I’m excited to work for that, and I think this group is capable,” Lamond said.
Bowdoin plays Swarthmore tonight in Swarthmore, Pa.