Date Posted:11/14/2006, 8:00AM
WATERVILLE, ME - The Bowdoin men's volleyball team opened their season on Saturday, November 12th with a third place finish at the Colby Invitational Tournament. The Polar Bears defeated UMass-Lowell B 2-0, defeated UMass-Lowell A 2-0, defeated Colby 2-1, lost to UMaine-Orono 0-2, and lost to Colby 1-2 in a hard fought match with which they finished third.
In their first match of the day, Bowdoin came out with lots of new faces in the lineup and many players stepping into unfamiliar roles to compensate for the holes left by last season's graduating seniors. The Polar Bears were unable to overcome the strong block and polished play of the Maine Black Bears. Senior Jordan Krechmer turned in a strong performance for Bowdoin with 9 assists, primarily to the outside hitter duo of Jeff Jeng (09) and captain Felix Jaeckel (08). This match marks the first collegiate start of both Nick Sanchez (09) and Adi Ranganath (09). Despite having such a young squad, Bowdoin play well, but lost with scores of 22-25 and 19-25.
After a slow start in the morning against UMaine, Bowdoin found their stride, defeating UMass-Lowell's B-team 2-0 handily with scores of 25-16 and 25-11. The Polar Bears were led by setter/right-side David White (4 aces, 10 assists) and outside hitters Jeff Jeng (8 kills) and senior captain Justin Strasburger (3 aces, 7 kills).
Next, in a dogfight of a match, Bowdoin overcame conference rival and host Colby in the first of what is sure to be many such match-ups throughout this season. Bowdoin won 2-1 with scores of 25-18, 14-25, and 15-12. Colby was led by the strong attack of sophomore Tom Milaschewski and the solid defense of senior captain Jani Jung. However, Bowdoin's front line proved to be stronger under the leadership of Justin Strasburger (7 kills, 8 digs), Jeff Jeng (10 kills), David White (10 kills, 11 digs, 11 assists), and middle Adi Ranganath (4 blocks). Jordan Krechmer ran the offense with 15 assists, while Felix Jaeckel anchored the defense with 13 digs.
Fresh from their defeat of Colby, Bowdoin finished pool play with a sweep of UMass-Lowell's A team, avenging their post-season elimination on April 10th, 2006 at Lowell's hands. Bowdoin won 2-0 with scores of 25-13 and 26-24 behind the phenomenal passing of Justin Strasburger (9 digs) and Felix Jaeckel (14 digs). David White also contributed 14 digs, as well as recording 8 assists and 7 kills. Jeff Jeng led the offense with 10 kills, while sophomore middle Chris Carlin contributed another 4 kills and 2 blocks.
Based on their solid pool play performance, Bowdoin went into the playoff round ranked 2nd (behind Maine), and drew #3 Colby first round. Colby came away with the victory this time 2-1 with scores of 21-25, 25-19, and 15-11, outlasting Bowdoin in this battle of stamina. Colby went on to win the tournament, while Bowdoin took third. The Polar Bears were led by Jordan Krechmer, who moved the ball around for a balanced attack and 17 assists. That attack was formed by Jeff Jeng (9 kills), David White (8 kills, 12 assists, 13 digs), and right side Nick Sanchez (5 kills). Adi Ranganath and Chris Carlin added 3 blocks each. This tournament marks the start of what looks to be a great season for the team, as well as the best pre-season finish in program history.