When Heather Davis was hired to coach the University of New England women’s soccer team, she knew she was inheriting a strong defense, replete with returning goalkeeper.

What she didn’t know was how the rest of the team would be.

UNE is off to a 3-1 start after a 1-0 setback at Colby College on Tuesday.

“I had no idea about the incoming class. But they’ve turned out to be a great complement to our returning force,” said Davis. “I feel confident about where we are and where we’re progressing towards.”

The Nor’Easters lost in the opening round of The Commonwealth Coast Conference playoffs last year and learned in the offseason they would be getting a new coach.

Davis was hired mid-winter after a hiring process that included the returning players.

An all-region player for Plymouth State in the mid-1990s, Davis brings 12 years of head coaching experience to UNE. Her most recent position was as head coach of Division II Lock Haven University.

“It was kind of unnerving when they told us we were going to get a new coach,” said senior captain Kate Pemberton of Scarborough.

“But her attitude about soccer and the season, and winning is great. She’s really a person you want to prove yourself to. I think all the girls respect her and feel the same way.”

The Nor’Easters landed two players in this week’s conference honors.

Defender Cassie Zdrojeski was named the defensive player of the week and Morgan Jensen was named rookie of the week.

The defense allowed just one goal in the two wins, and Jensen scored an insurance goal in a 2-0 win over Southern Maine before assisting on the game winner over Salve Regina, 2-1.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE

Polar Bears sophomore Chelsea Gross shot an 84 to lead individual scoring in a dual match between Bowdoin and Bates in women’s golf in Bowdoin’s season-opener. Bowdoin beat Bates by 10 strokes (392-402). Taylor Guiffre shot a 97 to finish No. 5 for Bowdoin.

UNIVERSITY OF MAINE

Former Gorham soccer standout Kelsey Wilson is leading the Black Bears in scoring six games into the season. Wilson, a senior midfielder, has four goals and two assists for 10 points.

Junior forward Carolyne Nellis follows with two goals, two assists.

• Junior field hockey forward Kelly Newton was named America East player of the week after scoring four goals, and assisting on two more in wins over Harvard and Pacific University this past weekend. The Black Bears are 4-2.

• The women’s basketball program released its nonconference schedule this week. It includes games against Florida in a tournament (Nov. 27), at Kansas (Dec. 1), and at Penn State (Dec. 12). The season opens Nov. 13 at home with a game against Harvard. In total, Maine will host 13 games.

• Men’s basketball will reach a national audience Feb. 12 when the team’s game against Stony Brook is on ESPNU.

• Cross country standout Riley Masters was named America East Performer of the Week after winning the individual title at the Boston College Invitational on Saturday.

Masters finished the course at Franklin Park in Boston, in 24:51, 14 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.

The win marked Masters’ return to cross country after missing the 2009 season with an injury.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Junior captains John Vallo and Tim Even finished 1-2 in a dominating team win at the 2010 University of New England Cross Country Invitational last Saturday.

The Huskies took seven of the top 10 spots.

Vallo raced the 8,000-meter course in 27 minutes and 54 seconds. Even finished in 28:13.

USM will next compete on Saturday at the UMass Dartmouth Invitational.

• The women were winners as well, placing five runners in the top 12 at the same meet.

Senior Carly Dion of Biddeford was the Huskies top finisher, finishing No. 7 overall in 21:50 on the 5,110-meter course.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND

Cross country runner Colleen Ahern was named TCCC Runner of the Week following a second place finish at the UNE Invitational on Saturday.

She ran the 5,110-meter course in 21:25 to help UNE to a second-place finish.

• Runner Brandon Mulligan was named TCCC runner of the week after placing fourth at the UNE Invitational. He ran an 8-kilometer time of 28:33 for the Nor’easters, who finished second in the nine-team field.

He was given the same honor after the season opening meet: University of Maine Farmington Invitational.

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference honored two women’s soccer players this week.

Jessica Needham was named player of the week for the second straight week, after putting away game-winning scores in two Monks’ wins last week.

Rookie goalie Jackie Lorenzen of Windham was also named the GNAC goalkeeper of the week after making 10 saves last week in two games – including a shutout.

Lorenzen has a 0.33 goals-against average, a .917 save percentage.

• Freshman volleyball player Holly Bannister, a former Greely player, was named GNAC rookie of the week. Bannister had 13 kills, 11 service aces and 19 digs, in four wins over the weekend.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at: [email protected]