BRUNSWICK, Maine - The Bowdoin College volleyball team won its first NESCAC Championship in convincing fashion on Sunday at Morrell Gymnasium, defeating Middlebury 3-0 (25-21, 25-22, 25-17) for the league title.
Bowdoin's record-breaking season will continue into the NCAA Tournament as the Polar Bears earn the conference's automatic bid to the championship. The Polar Bears (26-2) will be making their first-ever appearance in the tourney while the Panthers (21-8) will hope for an at-large bid when the field is announced on Monday morning.
The Polar Bears won a tight first set and, up 22-21 in the second set, scored three of the final four points to carry a 2-0 lead into the third. Bowdoin raced to a 12-3 edge in the final stanza and pulled away to clinch their first league crown.
Kristin Hanczor led the Polar Bears with 12 kills while Ellie Brennan added nine. Tory Edelman notched seven kills to go with five blocks while Melissa Haskell pitched in eight kills, 12 digs and three blocks. Sophia Cornew led the Bowdoin attack with 38 assists, while also contributing 10 digs defensively. Taylor Vail led the hosts with 13 digs.
Middlebury received 12 kills from Megan Jarchow, who also collected three blocks. Amy Hart had two aces, eight digs and three blocks for the Panthers, who also got 14 digs from Caitlin Barrett. Julia Gibbs earned 17 assists in the setback for Middlebury.
Bowdoin, who entered the 2011 Tournament having not won a tournament match in program history, was making its first-ever appearance in the conference title match. Middlebury was looking for its second consecutive and fourth conference crown. The Polar Bears completed their NESCAC title run by winning nine of ten sets this weekend.