BRUNSWICK

The fall high school sports season rolls along with regional final action in all four football class, but don’t blink, because Bowdoin College will be rolling out its winter season openers this weekend.

The men’s and women’s basketball teams, along with the men’s ice hockey squad are set to open, while the women skaters open Nov. 22 at home with in-state rival Colby.

Women’s ice hockey

The Polar Bears enjoyed a resurgent season in 2012-13, winning their first NESCAC crown since 2004 and finishing with a 21-5-2 record.

Bowdoin will feature 14 home contests this winter. The Polar Bears will also enjoy four home NESCAC weekends, including twogame sets at Watson Arena against Wesleyan (Jan. 17- 18), Williams (Jan. 31-Feb. 1), Trinity (Feb. 7-8) and Amherst (Feb. 21-22).

BOWDOIN COLLEGE women’s ice hockey player Emily Tang (top) and men’s basketball player Andrew Madlinger will be counted on for the 2013-14 winter season.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE women’s ice hockey player Emily Tang (top) and men’s basketball player Andrew Madlinger will be counted on for the 2013-14 winter season.

Bowdoin will hit the road for weekend NESCAC trips to Connecticut College (Jan. 10-11), Middlebury (Jan. 24- 25) and Hamilton (Feb. 14- 15).

Non-conference home games will include New England College (Dec. 3), Manhattanville (Jan. 4), St. Thomas-Minn. (Jan. 5), St. Anselm (Jan. 7) and Southern Maine (Jan. 14).

Coach Marissa O’Neil is in her fourth year as head coach of the Polar Bears and owns a 48-24-8 record at Bowdoin — the best first three years for a coach in program history.

The Bears lost four of their top six scores to graduation, a group that covered 37 goals and 56 assists. Sophomore Rachel Kennedy is back after leading the team with 16 goals and 14 assists. Other top scorers are junior Chelsea MacNeil (13- 12), sophomore Arianna Bourque (8-8) and junior Schulyer Nardelli (7-5).

Goaltender Kayla Lessard (15-4-2, 1.38 goal-against average) and Tara Connolly (2-0- 0, 0.99 GAA) have graduated.

Beth Findley (one game, four saves) returns and freshman Lan Crofton is helping out.

Topsham’s Madeline Lane (D), Emily Tang (D) and Chelsea MacNeil (F) will serve as captains.

The Polar Bear women are ranked seventh in the preseason Division III poll released by U.S. College Hockey Online on Monday.

Men’s ice hockey

The Bears will open on the road at Middlebury and Williams (this weekend), and Colby (Nov. 2) before returning home to play Colby at Watson Arena on Nov. 23.

Bowdoin had one of the finest seasons in the prestigious history of the program last winter, winning the NESCAC title, advancing to the NCAA quarterfinals and posting a school-record 23 wins (23-4-2).

After opening the season with three road games, the Polar Bears will make their home debut at Watson Arena against Colby on Nov. 23.

In all, the Polar Bears will play 12 home games, including NESCAC weekends against Conn. College and Tufts (Dec. 6-7), Hamilton and Amherst (Jan. 10-11), Middlebury and Williams (Jan. 24-25), and Trinity and Wesleyan (Feb. 14-15).

The Polar Bears will also play non-conference home tilts against UMass Dartmouth (Dec. 1), the University of New England (Jan. 7) and Southern Maine (Jan. 28).

Coach Terry Meagher enters the 2013-14 season with 498 career wins and will be the sixth Division III head coach and 22nd collegiate head coach, across all divisions, to reach the 500- win plateau.

He will be just the 12th coach across all divisions to earn all of his 500 wins at one school.

Jay Livermore and Harry Matheson will captain the Polar Bears.

Senior Ollie Kee returns with his team-leading 34 points (16-18), while Matheson (13-17-30) was second. Other top scorers were junior John McGinnis (11- 18), senior Colin Downey (8- 18), senior Kyle Lockwood (10-12), junior Connor Quinn (8-9) and junior Danny Palumbo (7-12).

Last year, the Bears outscored opponents 123-74 with the tandem of junior Steve Messina (13-3-1, 2.74 GAA) and sophomore Max Fenkel (10-1-1, 2.10 GAA) leading the defensive charge. They both return.

The Bowdoin men are eighth in the first Division III men’s rankings.

“The preseason is going well. It is a mature group led by a senior class with significant league experience,” said Meagher. “They have prepared well especially with their off season dryland work. A big shout out goes out to Neil Willey our Strength and Conditioning Director.”

And, still new challenges for this group.

“Building this year’s team will present new challenges and should keep everyone focused,” offered Meagher. “There will be playing structure adjustments centered on the talent base of this team.

“And, to be honest I am proud of our hockey conference. Playing a double round-robin format presents our people with competitive contests from the beginning of the season to the end. Combine that with the developing rivalries with our other two Division III programs in the state and we have an exciting offering of games.

“Our goal from year to year does not change. We want to build a team that is a player in the league as the stretch run approaches.

“The ups and downs will be more numerous in the beginning with the hope that they pay dividends as we approach that final run.”

Men’s basketball

Coming off a 14-10 campaign, the Polar Bears will look to take advantage of a 12-game home slate. After opening at the Regis Tournament on Friday (vs. Western Conn. State), Bowdoin will play its first home game on Nov. 23 against St. Joseph’s (Maine).

Other non-conference home tilts include Babson (Dec. 1), Maine-Farmington (Dec. 13), Bridgewater State (Jan. 7), Maine-Presque Isle (Jan. 21) and Plymouth State (Feb. 4). Bowdoin will also host rival Bates in the nonconference match-up between the teams on Dec. 6. The NESCAC schedule features five home contests, beginning with Connecticut College and Wesleyan (Jan. 10-11), continuing with Colby (Jan. 25) and ending with Trinity and Amherst (Jan. 31, Feb. 1).

Head coach Tim Gilbride is entering his 29th season. Already the winningest coach in program history, Gilbride has a 395-290 career record and is looking to become the 37th active Division III coach — and just the second active NESCAC coach — to surpass the 400- win plateau.

The Polar Bears will be captained by seniors Matt Mathias and Andrew Madlinger this season.

Max Staiger (8.6 points per game, 20.7 minutes) has graduated, but the Bears return six out of their seven top scorers.

Offensive forces to be reckoned with include guard Madlinger (14.3 ppg, 3.7 rebounds per game), junior forward Keegan Piere (13.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg), junior guard Brian Hurley (9.4 ppg, 8.3 assists), Mathias (8.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg), sophomore forward Lucas Hausman (6.5 ppg) and junior center John Swords (6.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg).

Hurley averaged 35.8 minutes, followed by Pieri (32.2), Madlinger (31.5), Mathias (27.7), Hausman (17.9) and Swords (16.5).

The Bears outscored their opponents 69.5-64.2.

Women’s Basketball

The women posted a 14-11 mark in 2012-13 and kept its streak of NESCAC semifinal appearances alive after becoming the first eighth seed in the conference’s history to upset a top seed when it bounced Tufts in the opening round last February.

The Polar Bears, who open Friday versus Norwich at the Salem State Tip-Off, will also boast 12 home dates, beginning with a Tuesday night game against Endicott. Bowdoin will host non-conference games against Bates (Nov. 23), University of New England (Nov. 26), Worcester State (Dec. 9), Maine-Farmington (Dec. 11), Emmanuel (Jan. 7) and Husson (Jan. 28). The Polar Bears’ NESCAC home slate includes contests against Conn. College and Wesleyan (Jan. 10-11), Colby (Jan. 25) and Trinity and Amherst (Jan. 31-Feb. 1). The Polar Bears will also take a winter trip to Daytona Beach, Fla. for a pair of games against Rivier and Gordon on Dec. 28-29.

Coach Adrienne Shibles enters her sixth year as head coach. Recording a 105-37 mark over her first five seasons, no coach in program history has had more wins in their first five campaigns than Shibles.

Bowdoin will be captained by Allie Piscina, Megan Phelps and Sara Binkhorst.

Standout guard Kaitlin Donahue has graduated and gone are her 15.4 ppg, 3.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists, along with 33 minutes a night.

However, four of the top five scorers return in junior forward Phelps (8.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg), sophomore forward Shannon Brady (7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg), junior guard Binkhorst (6.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg), and Auburn’s Kirsten Prue (5.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.9 apg).

This year’s group also features a crop of five freshmen, including Lake Region High School guard Sydney Hancock and York HS sixfooter Emily Campbell.

“Kaitlin Donahoe was a dynamic player and scorer, and her graduation will surely impact our program,” said Shibles. “However, I have been pleased in the preseason with the balanced offensive attack from our returners and first year student/ athletes.”

And, replacing Donahoe’s points?

“There has been no need to speak with our returners about picking up the slack,” said Shibles. “This is a highly motivated, intense group of women who understand what they need to do in order to be successful this season.

“I like our improved quickness and intensity on defense this year. Our firstyear students have really added the depth that we needed to apply tough ball pressure. All five of our first-year students will make an immediate impact on our team this year. They have adjusted very quickly to our system and show incredible promise.”

The schedule remains strong.

“Our entire schedule has a high level of difficulty. We start with a strong Salem State Tip Off Tourney and very quickly transition into playing Endicott, Bates, UNE, USM, Colby, Worcester State and UMF before the break,” added Shibles. “Our conference rules limit our practice time in the preseason and we will have had less than two weeks prior to our first game, but our scrimmage versus our alumni exposed the things we need to focus on, and we will be ready to go on Friday night.”


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