Derek Taber Contributing Writer
The last home game of the year for the UMF soccer teams welcomes family and friends as the team recognizes senior leadership, and accomplishments. The women’s and men’s teams celebrate “UMF Senior Day” in front of a home crowd, where all seniors will get to have their names introduced at half time. After a sub-par starts to the season both teams have rallied recently to win three of their last four games.
There are playoff implications in the women’s game. Fern Calkins, the junior defensive midfielder, is ready to defend the NAC title while honoring the seniors. “We are all super excited for our conference match-up this weekend against SUNY Canton and looking forward to recognizing our seniors,” said Calkins. “Our seniors have definitely played a big role in our success these past years and we really want to get this win for them.”
The women’s team started the year having lost their first five matches, but have turned things around as of late. The women have put themselves in a position to defend the conference title they won last year. Currently holding on to the sixth and final playoff seed, a win against a conference rival will greatly help the chance of defending the title.
Eden LeBlanc, Women’s Soccer (Photo courtesy of Molly Wilkie)
SUNY Canton is coming to Farmington with losses in four out of their last five games, and will try to defend the fifth seed in the conference matchup. A win would further cement their place in the standings. The UMF team is honoring four seniors at the game: Libby Ouellette F, Morgan Tortorella D, Eden Leblanc D, Mikayla Cameron GK.
The men will also play SUNY Canton in their last home game of the year and have an opportunity to climb back into the playoff hunt to grab the final seed in the conference tournament. A record of 1-4 in the conference and 7-7 overall, the men’s team will need this win to stay alive as the last four home games have ended in a loss.
Andrew Longhurst, a senior and center on the team, is looking for a victory in his final home battle. “If we win this game we are almost guaranteed a spot in the playoffs which will give us a chance to go for the NAC championship,” said Longhurst in an email interview. “I am expecting a win in my last home game. The guys have been working really hard over the past 3 weeks in preparation.”
“It’s also exciting to have my family up here for the game because I live in Delaware so I don’t get to see them too much during soccer season and throughout the year,” said Longhurst.
SUNY Canton is sitting comfortably in the fourth seat, and could wind up playing spoiler to the Beavers if they leave town with a win. However, SUNY has struggled of late losing three out of four games, so the momentum could be on the side of the Beavers.
The team is practicing hard with the season on the line. Longhurst knows the importance of preparation. “We are doing everything we can to give ourselves an advantage on them by studying film, getting our injuries taken care of, staying on top of our academics, and working incredibly hard every practice,” said Longhurst.
The Men’s team carries seven players on the roster that will be honored with their families on senior night. The team seniors are Nick Marshall C, Jake Heimlich C, Jon Randolph C, Nate Campbell D, Derek Mclaughlin D, Hunter Michaud C, Andrew Longhurst C.
By Lucas Dwornik Contributing Writer
UMF Men’s Soccer coach, Nathan Kronewetter (Photo courtesy of UMF Athletics)
Two years ago Coach Thomas Dinuzzo, who was essentially the sole reason I came to UMF, announced he was leaving, which made me heavily consider transferring. However, UMF has a very democratic way of selecting a new coach, wherein the athletic department narrows the list of candidates, then the players interview and vote on their pick for the next coach. After the first four candidates, I had an idea that UMF men’s soccer would be in good hands. I was certain of it after meeting Nathan Kronewetter, whose experience and knowledge was impressive.
Fast forward to now. This season we were able to make playoffs for the first time in three years and the record in conference doesn’t show that three of the losses were in overtime. While in a slump this year, Kronewetter tried everything to get us out of it which he successfully did. He changed formations, personal, and did what he could to give the team confidence we desperately needed. I trust Coach Kronewetter at the helm.
A team is obviously composed of its players, however, and there is reason for expectation. All of the Freshmen this year, first and foremost, are kind and well meaning student athletes and don’t mean to exclude any of them. That being said, there are a few players worth
New Goalie Bradley Neal successfully blocking a shot (Photo courtesy of Lucas Dwornik)
After Matt Wilson’s time at UMF it’s frankly hard to imagine any other keeper wearing the strange #77 worn by our starting goalkeeper, but I don’t fear for our strength in the position. All three freshmen goalies this year have drive and will push each other, but Bradley Neal (Monmouth) stands out. He’s confident, has good reflexes, has a good goal kick (very important for D3 Soccer). His only flaw is that he’s a Manchester United fan.
This year our back line (Defense) had a different look with two newcomers playing big roles this season. Silas Mohular (Readfield), a state champion last year with Maranacook Community High School, is a “hidden gem,” in assistant coach Blake Heart’s mind as well as my own. Silas is good in the air, on the ball, and is overall dedicated to athletics, playing basketball for the Beavers as well. Jacob Atwood (Edmon), shows great potential at outside back which was relatively new to him this year, playing in a majority of the games at the position. It was also nice to have another vegetarian/vegan on the team to share the banter from the rest of the guys.
Sawyer Deroche (Fairfield), Yusuf Mohamed (Lewiston), and Ilyas Abdi (Portland) are the three freshmen this year who scored goals and I anticipate more to come from them. All are quick, and know how to beat a defender on the dribble. The transition from high school soccer to college soccer is particularly difficult for offensive players, and they’d agree that there’s room for growth. However, I can’t imagine a scenario in which these guys aren’t successful at UMF under a coach who teaches technique so effectively.
My time playing for UMF has been a mixed bag of sorts, but I find comfort in knowing the young men I’ve mentioned (and the ones I didn’t have space to mention) are the future of the program.
PS: Congratulations to the Women’s team on winning the North Atlantic Conference, and thank you to everyone in the athletics department (especially the athletic trainers) for all your hard work. Go Beavers!
By Emilee Eustis Staff Reporter
The crowd was buzzing with excitement under the beaming sun while waiting for the UMF men’s soccer team to take the field last Saturday morning.
UMF men’s soccer team huddled up and planing their next move on the field. (Photo courtesy of UMF Athletics)
It was the season opener, or first conference game, for the Beavers and they were facing one of their rivals, the Mariners of Maine Maritime Academy (MMA). “We knew it was going to be a fight for 90 minutes and that this game goes a long way towards playoff standings at the end of the season,” said Tristan Price, a senior athlete at UMF. “Everyone was really excited and looking forward to the game.”
The Beavers spent two practices preparing for the challenge and focused on capitalizing on every chance they had. “We always talk about coming out of the kickoff strong and putting the other team under pressure immediately and we were able to do that,” said Price. After scoring their first goal within minutes of the game, the team was focused on not letting the Mariners offensive push take away their quick lead.
The Beavers showed a strong defensive effort, keeping the Mariners at one goal until the last seven minutes of the half when Matt Caron of MMA scored on a penalty goal. The momentum swung in the Mariners favor, and with a tied score at halftime, the Beavers were prepared for an intense start of the second half.
“[At halftime] we talked about getting the ball more wide to create more chances,” said Michael Pingree, another captain and senior athlete at UMF. “We wanted to work smarter off the ball.”
The second half started out at a fast pace with both teams focused on an offensive push. At the 25-minute mark, the Mariners used that energy to get another goal, again by Caron, putting them ahead 2 to 1.
“I think their goal in the second half kind of changed everything,” said Price. “We started throwing guys forward trying to score and we abandoned our game plan towards the end.”
In an effort to get the game back in their hands, the Beavers worked extremely hard to keep the ball on our end of the field. “With about 15 minutes left, we missed a good opportunity on net that helped shift momentum our way,” said Pingree. “From that point on we got some dangerous balls in and created many good opportunities to even the score.”
With seconds left, they had one last chance to tie the game. “Time was running down and the urgency to score was full throttle,” said Pingree. The ball reached Jake Heimlich, a Junior at UMF, and flew into the back of the net as the time ran out. The team “plead” for a penalty as one of their players was on the ground, but the referee did not agree.
The final score was 2 to 1 in favor of the Mariners, but the outcome did not discourage the Beavers. “We work extremely hard every day,” said Pingree. “We’re just looking to stay disciplined in our overall game plan, and that will make us really hard to beat.”