Bowdoin College holds an elite status among collegiate women's rugby programs. The Polar Bears are one of just a half-dozen squads in the nation to claim "varsity" status and have continued their rich tradition of success since making the move from "club" designation in 2003.
The Polar Bears have made several appearances in the New England Rugby Football Union playoffs, and placed in the 2003 postseason. This past fall, Bowdoin enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in program history, capturing the New England Division II Championship with a 23-12 victory over the University of New Hampshire at Pickard Field. The Polar Bears advanced to the Northeast Regional Final as well, earning a bid to the National Championship "Elite Eight" in April of 2007.
The program plays six regular season games in the fall and also has a limited spring slate. In the past few seasons, several Polar Bears have gone on to compete for regional and national sides, evidence of the expanding popularity of the sport. The team consists of both an "A" and "B" side, allowing as many athletes to compete as possible, while maintaining a competitive level of play. Coach Marybeth Mathews emphasizes strong sportsmanship in creating a safe and supportive team environment for this world-renown sport.
The 2006-07 season was undoubtedly the most successful in the storied history of Bowdoin women's rugby. The Polar Bears finished the year as New England Champions and made their first-ever trip to Nationals, reaching the "Final Four" of the Division II Tournament.
After falling in their season-opener in the fall, Bowdoin rebounded with eight straight wins, hosted (and won) the NERFU Championship and traveled to Rutgers for the Northeast Regional. Bowdoin went unbeaten against rivals Colby, Bates, Farmington and Maine-Orono, outscoring their in-state foes by a combined 145-24 score.
At the national tournament, Bowdoin bounced Arizona, 22-0 before falling to eventual National Champion UC-Santa Cruz in the Semifinals. Overall, the 2006-07 Division II New England Champions racked up an 12-4 record.
The Bowdoin College women's rugby team practices and plays at Pickard Field, part of Bowdoin's 35-acre athletic complex. Pickard Field is comfortably framed by the beautiful Bowdoin pines and- during the exceptional autumn season in Maine- is unquestionably one of the best places to watch a match in all of New England.