UMF Fall Athletic Teams Look Forward to the 2021 Season

By Abby Pomerleau, Contributing Writer

    After some sports weren’t able to play games during the fall 2020 athletic season, UMF is planning to have a successful fall athletics season next semester with scheduled games and events. 

    Teams who could play and practice were restricted to social distancing and wearing masks while practicing and student-athletes had to complete a form before every practice for a COVID-19 screening. 

    With the 2021 spring season approaching, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) and the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), the conferences UMF’s fall athletics play in, are planning competitive games and events. “Travel restrictions will be lifted by next fall, so all things point to us being able to travel and play outside of the state of Maine,” said Cynthia Pratt, head coach of the UMF field hockey team.

    Although competitions are taking place, there will still be possible restrictions during the season, such as wearing masks, and the success of the season may depend on factors related to COVID-19 vaccinations. “I am pretty confident about having fall seasons that look and feel more like a normal season,” said Julie Davis, UMF’s Director of Athletics, in an email. “So much will depend on the state of the virus, including the vaccination rate. I won’t be surprised if there is still some masking required we’ve learned when they are used consistently and properly, they work to protect both ourselves and others. I am just hopeful that the context doesn’t require them to the degree they are now.” 

    Games and events may be resuming as normal, but other aspects of the season may change. “I feel like bus rides and hotel stays are going to look a bit different with more spacing being put in place” said Jonah Sautter, a current junior who plays for the men’s soccer team. Bus rides and hotels are places where teams bond. Having this built-in team bonding time taken away or altered may affect the morale of the team. 

    In the fall of 2020, teams did practices, but they were not able to compete. Having an entire year off of competition raises concern. “My only worries are for the players on my team and how taking an entire season off might affect them,” said Pratt. “Will they be ready in the fall? Will they once again regain that competitive spirit? It will be my responsibility as a coach to be sure they are focused and prepared. I can give them all the tools and then they have to commit to being the best they can be.”

    As the 2021 season rolls around, hopes are high for the competitive season to go as planned. “I’m excited and looking forward to a sense of normalcy,” said Sautter. “It’s crazy to think all of these guidelines and rules have been in place for over a year now, but I just look forward to things beginning to go back to normal.”

    The athletic department may have a new normal, but the importance of the game remains the same. “I am excited to coach games,” said Pratt. “I love competition and watching my players compete to the best of their ability. I love watching them get better at practice everyday and taking all the things we work on and apply it to a game situation.”

    The expectation regarding fans is that they will be able to attend outdoor games as long as they are wearing masks and social distancing. The plans for the season as well as the topic of fans are subject to change as the fall season becomes closer.

    To stay updated on fall athletics or get in contact with staff in the athletic department, visit athletics.umf.maine.edu. 

Students are Getting Active with Intramural Sports

Students are Getting Active with Intramural Sports

By Marissa Goodwin, Contributing Writer

The FRC by Sam Shirley

    As the spring semester is starting to gear up, students gather to safely play intramural sports with their friends to be active and take a break from the stress of classes. 

    Intramurals, which are tournaments of games organized by the students that are held at the Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) on campus, are a great way to safely bring your friends together in a friendly competition. Jade Petrie, a junior, has participated in intramural basketball, pickleball, and kickball since her sophomore year. “It’s a fun way to get active while being with your friends,” said Petrie. 

    UMF has offered a variety of intramural sports such as basketball, volleyball, kickball, soccer, and pickleball. This year, the options are limited due to safety processions put in place for COVID-19. Petrie’s favorite part about intramurals is that she gets to be social and active simultaneously. “It’s a cool way to meet new people,” said Petrie. 

    Although intramurals are a little different because of COVID-19, students are still safely participating. “Students can stay involved while being active and social at the same time,” said Petrie. 

    Jared Smelter, a senior who has participated in intramurals since he was a junior, enjoys intramurals because he gets to have fun while playing sports with his friends. He agrees that intramurals have been different due to COVID-19 but says that he is happy UMF is still offering them. “We have less options for sports because we can’t have contact,” said Smelter, “but it is better than nothing and I am glad it is still being offered.”

    The advantage of playing intramural sports is that it’s a low-stakes way to keep busy and take a break from academics. “It’s offering sports without actually playing a school sport at UMF,” said Jonah Sautter, a junior who has been playing intramurals for three years and is a referee at UMF intramurals. 

    Intramurals are great for those who don’t want to make the commitment to varsity sports, but miss the supportive, competitive environment of sports. “It is perfect for high school athletes who maybe miss playing sports or just competitive people,” said Sautter.

    With all of the changes that are happening during the time of COVID-19, students are using intramurals as a way to get out and do something. “I think intramurals are helping students,” said Sautter. “It gives a sense of normalcy that is nice.”

    To find more information about UMF intramurals, visit the UMF Intramurals Instagram page @umfimsports and directly message the account. Students are asked to fill out an application to sign up and pay a $20 deposit to hold their spot to ensure that they will show up to the games.

Men’s Basketball Defeats UMM in Home Opener

Men’s Basketball Defeats UMM in Home Opener

By Kaitlyn York Contributing Writer

UMF Senior Milani Hicks (22) looks to make a lay-up between two defenders (Photo by Jeff Lamb Photography)

   Dearborn Gymnasium buzzed with excitement as dozens of fans piled into the bleachers to support the men’s basketball team during their home opening game against the University of Maine at Machias (UMM) Clippers. Months of preparation for the new season paid off as the Beavers pulled off their first win of the season.

   Riley Robinson, a junior on the team, came ready to play with an positive attitude. “I felt confident. We expected a challenge,” said Robinson. “We knew they were a good team, but I was confident in my guys.”

   Anthony Owens, also a junior on the team, entered the gymnasium with confidence. “I felt great about what we were going to do, and that’s all that we can control.”

  As the team ran onto the court sporting their new uniforms, the crowd roared with enthusiasm. Just twenty seconds into the game, Robinson scored the first two points for the Beavers. For the first seven minutes of the first half the teams were scoring back and forth until the Beavers began to take over both offensively and defensively.

   Head Coach, Richard Meader, said that he was very pleased with the way that the Beavers played. “We really played well defensively and got a lot of fast breaks,” said Meader. “We played the way we had hoped to play.”

   Coming into the second half of the game the Beavers were up 46-27 over the Clippers. “I felt confident, but I knew there was still a lot of game left and we needed to execute,” said Robinson. Execute they did, the Beavers checked back into the game stronger than before. They continued to secure their lead as they scored repeatedly throughout the half.

   The team managed to pull off their first win of the 2018-2019 season with a score of 96-64 over the Clippers giving them a 1-0 record.

   Though they won the game, the team recognizes that they have some work to do during their practices leading up to their next games. “We can always become better on the defensive end, though we do play solid defense,” said Meader. “Any team can always shoot better. We need consistency with the shooting. You gotta make shots to win.”

   Robinson was the leading scorer for the Beavers with 24 personal points in the game. Robinson was followed in points by Milani Hicks, a senior, who scored a total of 15 points. Overall, the Beavers made 41 out of the 76 shots they attempted during the game, creating a 53.9% average.

   Meader has been coaching for UMF for 26 years and has found this years team to be exceptionally special. “They practice well, they listen in practice and try to do what you ask them to do,” said Meader. “They are a good group of guys who are excellent students and they have skills.”

   As they look forward to the rest of the season, they have high hopes for their team. “We got a great group of guys and if we keep working together, the goal has to be a NAC championship,” said Owens.

   The teams next home game will be Tuesday Nov. 27th at 7:30 p.m. in Dearborn Gymnasium against the Polar Bears of Bowdoin College.

The Future of UMF Soccer As I See it

The Future of UMF Soccer As I See it

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)

a shout.

   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!

Beavers Spring Into Action with Their Upcoming Playday

By Sara Lamb Contributing Writer

UMF Men’s and Women’s soccer teams gear up for the opportunity to compete against other schools and work on their skills during the offseason.

   “A playday is basically the culmination of our spring season,”  said Tristan Price, a junior who plays on the Men’s team. “The result doesn’t count for anything but how you play can tell you a lot about what you need to work on in the summer.” Most collegiate soccer teams participate in a spring season where they get together once again, workout, and practice for the regular season in the Fall.

   This is the Men’s first spring season with a new head coach. “Coach Kronewetter has brought a different style of play,” said Price. “He has really emphasized being structured defensively.”

   With the help of the new coach, the team was more successful in their defensive effort this season as compared to previous ones, and they were able to better compete with the teams in the North Atlantic Conference (NAC).

   The Men’s and Women’s team each have around 12 members who are able to participate in the spring season. Others are either injured or involved in another spring sport. Both teams are looking to get stronger with team workouts made by the athletic trainers on campus, and by playing Futsal, a small scale modified version of soccer.

   Lydia Roy, a junior soccer player, said, “I think we are looking to be in a very good position.” Roy spoke about the teams regular season goals in an email interview and said, “Overall, it looks like we have pretty good chance at competing for the NAC Championship.”

   The Women’s head coach, Molly Wilkie, who has been coaching here for 10 seasons, pushes her team to be the best. “Our coach pushes us to be accountable and to do the hard work on our own time. It pushes us to be better players as well as better individuals,” Roy said.

   This year the Women’s playday will be held on Saturday, April 21 at St. Joseph’s college in Standish, where they play four 45 minute games against Husson, Saint Joe’s, UNE, and Thomas. The Men’s team will play at the University of Southern Maine in Portland on Sunday April 29.