When MIT’s Sean Bingham headed a cross past Bowdoin goalkeeper Stevie Van Siclen ‘18 in the 99th minute, Bowdoin Men’s Soccer’s season came to a close in the second round of the NCAA tournament. But after capturing their second NESCAC championship in two years, everyone associated with the program agrees: the season was a resounding success.
Anchored by senior defenders Nabil Odulate ’16 (who was named the NESCAC player of the year) and Kiefer Solarte ’16, the team gave up only a single goal in the five postseason games they played: Bingham’s game winner. 

Bowdoin forged its identity as a defensive team early in the season—Odulate and Coach Scott Wiercinski agreed that the back line was staunch from September onwards. However, it took the team a little bit longer to get the attack going. Wiercinski noted that the team prioritized getting the ball into the back of the net in practice, and saw a clear moment when their efforts came together.

“In the second half against Babson [on October 12th] we came out with a ton of energy and a really strong mentality. We scored four goals, and in some ways we didn’t really slow down from a performance standpoint until the season was over.” said Wiercinski.

Odulate pointed to another comeback victory, a 2-1 win against Connecticut College on October 24, saying “our heads didn’t drop at all when they scored the goal, we just ramped up our intensity, ramped up the pressure on them, and ended up getting the come from behind win. I think that really set the stage for what we were able to go on to do in the playoffs.”

No matter the date of the team’s turnaround, the Polar Bears clearly came together as a group and were able to use their collective energy to pull off multiple upsets in the NESCAC tournament and capture the title. 

Bowdoin travelled to MIT for the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament. On both Saturday November 14th, the date of the team’s first round matchup against Plattsburgh State, and the next day against MIT, the wind was gusting in Boston. In the first half against Plattsburgh, Bowdoin was playing against the wind, but managed to keep the Cardinals out of the back of the net during the first 45 minutes. In the second half, they attacked with the wind at their back.

According to Odulate, “the last 10-15 minutes of that game was really just one-way traffic.” 
Bowdoin finally broke through with a header from Moctar Niang ’19 off of a ball into the 18-yard box from Hunter Miller ’16 in the 90th minute, sealing a 1-0 victory for the Polar Bears. Wiercinski noted Moctar’s ability in the air, and the team hopes he will anchor an attacking group that will have to be more proficient on a regular basis next season if the Polar Bears hope to repeat once again as NESCAC champions.