SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - The Bowdoin College volleyball team continued its historic season on Friday evening, picking up its first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in a 3-1 victory (25-19, 25-14, 25-27, 25-16) over Baruch in the opening round at Springfield College.
The Polar Bears (27-2) advance to play in Saturday's second round at 3:30 p.m. against UMass-Boston.
Tory Edelman was outstanding for the Polar Bears, racking up 12 kills and five blocks and hitting at a scalding .458 rate for the match. Ellie Brennan had 10 kills and 10 digs while Kristin Hanczor had nine blocks in addition to five kills. Sophia Cornew had 32 assists and 16 digs in the win.
Bowdoin never trailed in the opening set, jumping out to a 6-3 lead in the early going. Baruch rallied to tie the match at 11 but Bowdoin rolled off five consecutive points, forcing a Bearcat timeout after a Tory Edelman kill made it 16-11. The Polar Bears continued to stretch their advantage to as many as seven points and clinched the first set 25-19 on a Baruch service error.
The Polar Bears did not trail in the second set either, using a key 6-1 surge to take an insurmountable 12-6 lead en route to a 25-14 win. Baruch bounced back in the third set, fending off match point and scoring the final three points to take a 27-25 win.
Tied at 8-8 in the fourth, Hanczor and Edelman sparked a 9-1 run that put the match out of reach for the Bearcats. The Polars clinched their first tournament win, appropriately enough, on a block by Hanczor.
Saturday's match will be a battle of nationally-ranked foes. UMass-Boston stands at 19th in the latest Division III poll while the Polar Bears are 24th. The teams have played once already this season, on the first day of Bowdoin's season at the Endicott Invitational on September 9 when the Beacons took a 3-1 win.