On November 19, inboxes pinged across campus as Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann invited students to celebrate the women’s rugby team’s return to campus after its championship victory. For the third consecutive year, Bowdoin women’s rugby won the National Intercollegiate Rugby League (NIRA) Division III Championship In Hanover, N.H..
Continuing its domination of the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) Division III (DIII), the women’s rugby team (7–1) defeated Castleton University (5–4) by a score of 56–8 during the first round of the championship tournament last Saturday.
During the women’s rugby (6–1) game against Vassar College (9–1) on October 29, flanker Kyra Bishop ’26 tallied 19 tackles, a try and two conversion kicks. Although the team suffered a 26–19 loss, Bishop had one of her best showings in what has been a successful rookie season.
RAISE THE SAILS
Last weekend, the sailing team competed in regattas at Brown University and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. At Brown, Bowdoin finished sixth overall out of fifteen competing teams. Ellie Maus ’22, Meg Gonzalez ’23, Teagan Cunningham ’22, Lizzy Kaplan ’23, Holliss Hirsch ’25, Brooke Asherman ’23 and Sophie Brett ’25 raced for the Polar Bears.
Field hockey forward Faith Jennings ’23 scored in double-overtime to defeat Tufts University (10–5; 7–3 NESCAC) on Tuesday. Jennings received a pass from midfielder Maya Malenfant ’25 and was able to race past her defender and get off a backhanded shot to secure Bowdoin’s 3–2 victory.
In the midst of Homecoming Weekend 2022, the women’s rugby team departed Pickard Field triumphant after a 62-5 win against the University of Maine-Orono (UMO). After earning wins against the University of New England, Colby College and Castleton University, the team is 4-0 this season and has won its last 15 games.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM
Women’s soccer went 3-0 last week against Bates College, the University of Maine-Farmington (UMF) and the University of New England (UNE). The Polar Bears defeated Bates 2-1, the UMF 8-0 and the UNE 1-0.
The women’s rugby team is slated to play its first game of the season against rival the University of New England (UNE) this Friday at the UNE’s turf. With the Polar Bears coming off of an undefeated season, the game is anticipated to be a tightly contested rematch of last year’s national championship, in which Bowdoin came out on top.
Before Ella Slaby ’25 was leading the rugby team to national championships and representing her country on the international stage, she was living abroad in Shanghai and working tirelessly to get recruited by an NCAA rugby program.
History repeats itself. On Sunday, November 21, the women’s rugby team completed its undefeated season by capturing its second consecutive National Intercollegiate Rugby League (NIRA) Division III championship. In West Point, New York, the Polar Bears defeated the University of New England (UNE) by a score of 31-12.
RUNNING TO REGIONALS
The men’s and women’s cross-country teams will compete at the NCAA Division III East Regional at Suffolk University in Franklin Park, Massachusetts. Each team will bring eight athletes, seven competitors and one alternate.
After winning the Division III national championship in the 2019-2020 season, the women’s rugby team aims to continue its success through the last stretch of the regular season by continuing to split up their major goals into smaller, more immediately achievable parts.
After 18 months without competition, the current national champion women’s rugby team hosted Colby for an unofficial scrimmage on April 24. The scrimmage resembled a traditional match, the only significant difference being a shift from a two-halves format to a four-quarter model that gave players more opportunity for rest.
Highlighting the work of women’s rugby Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews, the U.S. Women’s Rugby Foundation (USWRF) added Bowdoin’s women’s rugby team to their list of the 15 most influential programs in the nation this past March.
Facing many challenges this semester, the Bowdoin women’s rugby team hopes to focus on fostering community with their first years and strengthening their team both physically and mentally. Without training and competitions, one of the team’s top priorities is addressing the issue of race and equity in athletics.
In the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-5 victory over the University of New England (UNE) (2-6) at Mignone Field at Harvard University in Allston, Mass., the women’s rugby team did exactly what it needed to do to clinch its first Division III National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) championship game: go down by a try after the first possession.
After winning a tight playoff game against Norwich University this past weekend, the women’s rugby team turns its attention to this weekend, when it will face the University of New England (UNE) in the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) Division III championship game, hosted by Harvard University.
On September 7, the Bowdoin varsity women’s rugby team opened their season with an emphatic 76-0 thumping of Roger Williams University. For the team, one of the College’s most successful teams over the past few decades, these landslide victories have been somewhat commonplace.
The women’s rugby team (4-1) will host its seventh annual Polar Bear 7s tournament tomorrow. Earlier this month, the team competed in the NEC 7s tournament where they defeated UNH (34-10), University of Maine (19-15) and Wesleyan (32-15).
In the last decade, more out transgender and non-binary students have chosen to participate in college athletics across the country. In the last five years, Bowdoin has supported at least three athletes during their transitions and as they navigated joining new teams.
The women’s rugby team is continuing its tradition of excellence despite last year’s move from the NESCAC conference in USA Rugby to the more competitive National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) League.
“We had been in the USA rugby pathway … and we had been in that pathway for many, many years,” said Head Coach MaryBeth Mathews.
The new assistant women’s rugby coach brings experience from both sides of the pond. James Read grew up watching semi-professional rugby at Havant Rugby Club in Hampshire, England, where he began playing at age 11. After playing for seven years at Havant, Read broke into the semi-professional world and competed alongside some of the same players he watched as a boy.
Pinned to every wall and corkboard around campus is a recruitment poster for women’s rugby, seeking members of all body types and every athletic ability. In recent years, Bowdoin’s rugby program has expanded, welcoming first years to the team even before they step on campus.
The women’s rugby team won two out of three games at the Brown University Varsity 7’s Tournament to kick off their spring season. The team beat both Norwich and University of New England, but ultimately fell to undefeated Dartmouth.
Last Saturday, Bowdoin women’s rugby concluded its regular season with a crushing 50-12 victory against Middlebury. A stellar defensive performance by Jackie Jacques ’19, who accumulated ten tackles throughout the game, highlighted the match. Satya Kent ’19, Kendall Schutzer ’18, and Elizabeth D’Angelo ’19, who each accumulated eight tackles of their own, supplemented Jacques’ defensive effort.
Since 2003, the Bowdoin women’s rugby team has led the way as the oldest collegiate varsity women’s rugby program in the nation and as a consistently strong contender in the league, meanwhile never losing touch with its club roots and embracing the inclusive nature of the sport.
Turning the tide.
The baseball team (11-12, 3-3 NESCAC) is currently on a five-game win streak after sweeping its weekend series against Trinity (13-12, 3-6 NESCAC) and beating Thomas (3-25) 11-4 on Monday. Brandon Lopez ’20 was named NESCAC Pitcher of the Week this week after tossing a full game against Trinity last Friday.
The women’s tennis team is currently 10-2, 4-1 NESCAC after a 9-0 win over Connecticut College (6-5, 0-3 NESCAC) on Sunday. Despite injuries that have weakened the team’s roster, the Polar Bears have won three of their last four games—all dominant 9-0 shutouts—and are currently ranked fourth in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Division III poll.
This Spring Break, the women’s rugby team spent 10 days in France and Spain as part of its quadrennial international tour, funded by generous donations and fundraisers put on by the team. Since 1994, the Polar Bears have taken six tours and the experience has become an integral part of the program.