MEDFORD, Mass. — The Bowdoin College volleyball team’s bid for consecutive NESCAC Championships came up just short in a 3-2 loss to Tufts on Sunday afternoon.

The Polar Bears, who had won 14 consecutive matches, fell to 18-7 and will hope for an at-large bid when NCAA Tournament selections are announced later today.  Tufts (27-1) earned an automatic bid as the conference champion.

The Polar Bears came within mere points of repeating as conference champions as the Jumbos rallied for a 25-21, 18-25, 20-25, 25-17, 15-13 victory.

After dropping the first set, Bowdoin rebounded in the second, taking an early 10-4 lead and never trailing en route to a 25-17 win, capped by a 6-0 run.

The Polar Bears took a 2-1 overall lead with another commanding performance in the third set, ending on a kill from Danielle Abrams.

Tied at 15 apiece in the fourth set, Tufts used a key 6-0 run to take a late lead and force a decisive fifth.

The teams traded points throughout the tiebreaking fifth, with neither squad opening up more than a two-point lead. Bowdoin’s last lead came at 12-11, but a kill by Brigid Bell and back-to-back attack errors by the Polar Bears gave Tufts a 14-12 lead. Caroline Flaharty kept Bowdoin alive with a kill that cut the lead to 14-13, but Maddie Stewart finished it off for the Jumbos.

Ashley Williams led Bowdoin with 13 kills, while Flaharty added 11 with 20 digs and three aces. Abrams also had 11 kills, with Kate Kiser (25 assists) and Ella Haugen (19 assists) keying the Polar Bear offense. Defensively, Emily King had 22 digs and Cori Gray added seven blocks.

Bowdoin captured a come-from-behind, 3-2, victory over No. 2 Wesleyan on Saturday.

After winning the opening set, 25-17, the Cardinals earned 25-19 and 28-26 victories in sets 2 and 3, respectively. The Polar Bears grabbed a hard-fought 25-22 win in the fourth set, and in the winner-take-all fifth, Bowdoin edged out Wesleyan, 16-14.

In the tiebreaking fifth set, Bowdoin took an early 7-3 edge, but the Cardinals rallied to even the score at 9-9. The teams traded points until 14-14 when Flaharty gave Bowdoin the lead for good and a block by Jaida Hodge-Adams and Gray clinched the win for the Polar Bears.

On Friday, Bowdoin rolled to a 3-0 victory over sixth-seeded Williams, with set wins of 25-20, 25-16, 25-20.

Women’s rugby

Bowdoin won a hard-fought National Intercollegiate Rugby Association Division III semifinal match on Saturday, 12-7, over Norwich University.

The Polar Bears advanced to next Sunday’s NIRA Division III Championship at Harvard University against the University of New England.

Bowdoin opened the scoring in the first two minutes off a penalty play with a strong run from 10-meters out by Safiya Osei. Sage Kashner converted the try, giving Bowdoin the 7-0 lead.

Off a turnover by the Polar Bears in their defensive end, Norwich’s Emily Ngo poached the ball from a quick ruck and ran 10-meters for the score. Outside center Emma Paradis converted the try, knotting the score 7-7.

Both teams had opportunities in the next 33 minutes of the first half but none were converted into points as the defenses out-shined the attach.

The second half was more of the same with a lot of back-and-forth action until the 15-minute mark. Bowdoin capitalized on a penalty inside Norwich territory.  Jenna Clukey kicked the penalty into touch giving Bowdoin the lineout at the 5-meter line. Bowdoin’s jumper Amber Ramos won the ball, and the forward pack drove the maul forward and scrumhalf Sara Nelson took the ball to the weak side and dove over the try line for what was the only score of the second half, giving the hosts a 12-7 advantage.

Bowdoin dominated much of the next 25 minutes inside Norwich territory, but were thwarted by a stout Norwich defense.

The Cadets threatened in the final five minutes, but Bowdoin’s defense held on, recovering possession and taking the ball into touch to end the game.

Ashlynn Autrey led Bowdoin with seven tackles, Lucy Noel had five, and Nelson, Claire Carges, Clukey and Kendra Clifton added four apiece. Sophia Karris led the team with four long carries; strong carries also came from Ella GarnettHannah ZuklieLucy Noel and Kendra Clifton.

Bowdoin won all its scrums and jumpers Ramos and Hannah Zuklie captured all Bowdoin’s lineout ball.

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