The women’s volleyball team began their season with a near-perfect return rate, but one crucial member is different: Head Coach Erin Cady. The team hopes that Cady’s leadership, combined with the expertise of seasoned players will carry them to a league championship win.

Cady was brought on board to replace Karen Corey, who stepped down at the end of the 2014 season.

“Switching to a new head coach is always an adjustment, but the transition to Coach Cady has been great,” said Assistant Coach Kristin Hanczor. “She spent a great deal of time prior to the season listening and learning all she could about the program, our conference and every person on the team, which allowed us to get to work starting day one.”

According to Clare Geyer ’17, who plays middle blocker on the team, the change in leadership combined with the number of returning members means that the team is more stable and steady than last year’s.

Although the team appreciated Corey’s leadership, they are also looking to grow and develop with Cady as a coach.

“I think that Coach Corey was a great coach, but it is so exciting for us to be moving forward with Coach Cady,” said Geyer. “It is incredibly impressive to see how much each player has improved in the few weeks that we’ve been able to work with her so far.”

“Both coaches pushed us really hard and expect a lot from us, but I’d say Coach Cady is especially good at acknowledging the good things that we do to keep us wanting to work harder and harder for our goal,” said team captain Christy Jewett ’16.

Jewett, who also served as captain last year, praised the new leadership that Cady has brought to the team.

“She makes it very easy to be a captain under her,” Jewett said. “She makes sure that you know you’re appreciated and tells you the things that you do right and will ask you for small adjustments but makes sure she acknowledges when you do them.”

The new season under Cady started strong initially with a 3-0 win against the University of New England on September 8. However, the Polar Bears couldn’t continue their winning ways in an invitational at MIT September 11-12. Bowdoin ended that weekend with a 2-3 record for the season so far.

On the first day of the MIT invitational, the Polar Bears split their matches with a 3-0 loss to Springfield and a 3-2 win against Endicott. The team then faced Babson and MIT on the second day, suffering 3-2 and 3-0 losses to both, respectively. 

“We had a hard time figuring out what went so wrong at MIT because when we got off the court we all felt pretty good, but the score didn’t reflect that,” said Jewett. 

She cited a shifting starting lineup, lack of practice and the fatigue of playing several long and grueling games as possible causes for the defeats. 

“This past weekend is not at all reflective of how we play as a team,” said Jewett.
Despite the rocky start to the season, Cady and her team remain optimistic.

“When I stepped on to the court to coach for the first time, I was extremely impressed with the determination and hard work the players displayed,” said Cady. “My hope is to continue improving our offensive and defensive systems to build a team that is difficult to beat.”  

“I don’t think there’s a single person on our team who doesn’t absolutely love Coach Cady and doesn’t trust in her fully to lead our program,” said Jewett.

The Polar Bears will begin their NESCAC games on Friday and Saturday with matches against Middlebury and Hamilton.