BRUNSWICK, Maine – In a meeting between the top two teams in the NESCAC, Bowdoin defeated Wesleyan 3-1 on Friday evening to earn the top seed for the upcoming conference championship.
The Polar Bears (23-1, 9-0 NESCAC) survived the incredibly tight match which featured 19 lead changes and 44 ties. Wesleyan (15-4, 8-1) loses their first conference game of the season with the setback.
- The Polar Bears prevailed by set scores of 30-28, 25-22, 20-25, 27-25.
- In the 40-minute first set, neither team could pull away until late, when Wesleyan used a quick 3-1 surge to take a 24-21 advantage and serve for set point. Bowdoin rebounded with a 3-0 run to tie the score and the teams traded points, until a 3-0 run by the Polar Bears, capped by a service ace from Lisa Sheldon, gave the Polar Bears the 30-28 win. In all, Bowdoin fended off eight set points to take the dramatic 1-0 lead.
- The teams continued their back-and-forth play in the second set and found themselves knotted at 21-21. Bowdoin rolled off a 4-1 run to close the set, clinching it on a Sophia Pahl ace to take a 2-0 advantage.
- Wesleyan cut into Bowdoin's lead with a late run in the third set after Bowdoin closed the gap to 21-20. The Cardinals used a 4-0 run to win the set, sealing it on a kill from Harper Graves to make it 2-1.
- The Cardinals seemed poised to force a tie-breaking fifth set as they twice served for the set, holding leads of 24-23 and 25-24, only to see Bowdoin rally again. A kill by Sophia Pahl and attack error by the Cardinals gave Bowdoin a 26-25 lead and the Polar Bears won it in unconventional fashion as a Wesleyan attack was dug by Sheldon and sailed back over the net to the far corner of the Cardinal zone, landing safely for the match-clinching point.
By The Numbers
- Caroline Flaharty racked up a match-high 20 kills with 21 digs for Bowdoin, who also got double-digit kills from Ashley Williams, who posted 18.
- Kate Kiser had 54 assists and 14 digs and Lisa Sheldon recorded 29 digs and two service aces. Defensively, Sydney Salle had four solo blocks.
- Wesleyan was led by 17 kills from Mia Hogan, 15 from Stasie Litinsky and 13 from Harper Graves.
- Phia Bellizzi led all players with 32 digs for the Cardinals while Kaira Muraoka-Robertson had 48 assists for the visitors.
- Bowdoin will close out their regular season on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. against Connecticut College.
- Wesleyan heads to Tufts for a 1:00 p.m. match Saturday afternoon.
- Regardless of Saturday's results, Bowdoin will host the 2018 NESCAC Volleyball Championship in Brunswick beginning on Friday, November 2. Complete tournament information will be released on Saturday, including match times and pairings.