It’s been six years since the Bowdoin softball team qualified for the New England Small College Athletic Conference playoffs, but a record 30-win season ended the drought.

Bowdoin (30-10), seeded second in the East Division, will face Williams (16-19-1), the host school and top seed in the West, at 2:30 p.m. Friday.

“As a whole we’re feeling pretty confident,” said second baseman Amy Hackett of Bangor. “There’s some nerves in there. It’s the first time we’ve been here in a long time, but we’re playing our best.”

Balance has helped the team get back to the postseason, said Coach Ryan Sullivan.

The Polar Bears have a team batting average of .312, an ERA of 2.28 and a fielding percentage of .946.

“You never quite know where the production is going to come from,” said Sullivan. “We’ve had different individuals carry the team at different times.”

The NESCAC playoffs are difficult to reach.

The league is split into two five-team divisions, and only the top two teams in each division qualify for the double-elimination tournament.

Making it even harder, first-round games are against opponents from the other division.

Bowdoin, for example, hasn’t played Williams this year.

“There’s certainly an element of the unknown,” said Sullivan. “But at this point of the year a lot of it is about feeling good, playing good and trusting the process.”

Hackett agreed.

“It’s a little challenging to not have much of an idea of what we’re getting into,” she said, “but it’s still just a softball game. We just have to play.”

BOWDOIN

Several teams head into playoffs this week:

The baseball team clinched the No. 2 seed in the NESCAC East Division and a berth in the four-team championship following a 2-0 win over Bates last weekend.

The Polar Bears (23-12) return to the postseason for the first time since 2007 and will play Williams at 4 p.m. Friday at Waltham, Mass.

The men’s and women’s tennis teams open the NESCAC championships on Friday at Amherst College. The fifth-seeded women’s team (9-6, 3-4 NESCAC) face No. 4 Middlebury at 9 a.m.

The No. 4 men (10-5, 5-3 NESCAC) face No. 5 Trinity at 1 p.m. Friday.

The men’s lacrosse team will try to win its first NESCAC championship this weekend.

The No. 4 Polar Bears play No. 6 Middlebury in the semifinals at 3 p.m. Saturday.

The finale is scheduled for noon Sunday. All games are at Tufts University.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Freshman Shane Belanger of Caribou helped the fifth-seeded Huskies beat No. 4 Rhode Island College 5-3 with a straight-set win at No. 3 singles in the Little East Conference men’s tennis quarterfinals.

USM (6-9) advanced to face No. 1 seed Western Connecticut State at noon Friday.

In women’s lacrosse, senior Jess Knight of Alfred and freshman Shelby Turcotte of Lewiston combined to score 14 goals in a 17-16 win over Western Connecticut in the conference tournament.

The Huskies advanced to the semifinals at 5 p.m. today at top-seeded Keene State.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

Cara Cole was named The Commonwealth Coast Conference women’s lacrosse rookie of the week after scoring three goals in a 14-10 quarterfinal win against Gordon on Saturday.

Cole, a first-year midfielder, also had three assists, three ground balls and a pair of draw controls.

Danielle Cate, Ginny Lee of York, Emily Harvey of Standish, Ali Murray and Mallory Long of Lewiston were named to the all-conference team.

Freshman attack Tyler Thomas was named conference rookie of the year in men’s lacrosse.

He started all 16 games for the Nor’easters, finishing with a team-best 39 goals and 25 assists.

He ranked fourth in the conference in total points with 35 and tied for third in assists with 16.

Junior midfielder Michael Woods of Kittery was an honorable-mention pick. He had 27 goals and 17 assists.

ST. JOSEPH’S

The baseball team was ranked No. 6 in the New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association poll for the second straight week.

The Monks (31-10, 11-3 GNAC) defeated Suffolk 5-4 in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference final to earn their second title in three years.

St. Joseph’s earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III tournament, which begins on May 19 at Eastern Connecticut State in Willimantic, Conn.

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE

The women’s softball team (21-24) earned a berth in the America East playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The women’s track and field team finished second at the America East championships.

Jesse Labreck of Oakland won four individual events and was named field most valuable performer.

Vicki Tolton earned track MVP honors after winning two individual events, and Maine earned the women’s coaching staff of the year award.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]