Theresa Hendrix looked at her fellow captains. She looked at the rest of her St. Joseph’s College teammates in the moments before the start of Tuesday’s field hockey game against rival Husson.
It wasn’t a time for speeches, said Hendrix. “For the juniors and seniors, nothing needed to be said. The younger girls looked at us and just knew. This was a big game.”
It proved once more that game-time intensity doesn’t require Friday Night Lights or the crowds of thousands seen at high school football games in Maine.
Husson has beaten St. Joseph’s when it matters most lately, in the North Atlantic Conference championship game. Tuesday, the St. Joseph’s players decided it was time to make a statement. They beat Husson 2-0, the largest margin in eight games stretching back to 2008.
“After the game (someone) said it was supposed to have been a close game on paper,” said Carley Denis, a senior midfielder from Lewiston. “Games are never played on paper.”
St. Joseph’s has three seniors and three juniors on its roster, with 13 underclassmen. The Monks are a young team, but one that wins.
They opened the season with an eight-game winning streak before losing two straight to Castleton State and Lasell to begin October. Saturday, St. Joseph’s beat Thomas, 2-0.
“We were on an eight-game high and the two losses made us see what we needed to work on,” said Hendrix, a senior midfielder from Scarborough who attended Cheverus. “Coach (Rupert Lewis) is one of the most passionate coaches I’ve played for and it rubs off on us. He got us focused again on the small things and the fundamentals you need to do to win.”
The Monks are 10-2 overall going into Thursday’s nonconference game at Salem (Mass.) State. Their NAC record is 5-2.
Six of the 10 wins are shutouts with freshman Emma Astbury (Bridgewater, Vt.) in net.
“Our defense is so strong,” said Denis. “It’s a level of trust we have this year. If you have less skills and your team connects, you’ll play better than if you have more skills but don’t connect with each other. Emma has been awesome back there.”
Rachelle Messuri (Atkinson, N.H.), another senior captain, leads the team in scoring with seven goals, six assists and 20 points. Effie Drew (Portland), a junior forward, has seven goals, three assists and 17 points.
St. Joseph’s has four games remaining before the conference quarterfinals begin Nov. 2. The Monks will leave the NAC after this season. The school is a member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference, which will offer a field hockey schedule for the first time next year.
At Bowdoin College, the Polar Bears continue to be one of the dominant teams in the country. Bowdoin (10-1) is ranked second nationally in the NCAA Division III poll. Montclair State (12-1) is the new leader, replacing Franklin & Marshall (11-1), which fell to fifth. Bowdoin outscored two New England Small College Athletic Conference opponents 14-1 last weekend.
Bowdoin has a 39-game winning streak at home, the longest in NCAA Division III this year. Senior forward Katie Riley (Hingham, Mass.) leads the team with eight goals, 14 assists and 30 points, followed by sophomore forward Rachel Kennedy (Trumbull, Conn.), 12 goals, four assists and 28 points, and Emily Simonton (Kennett Square, Pa.) with 11 goals, 3 assists, 25 points. Junior goalie Hannah Gartner (Reistertown, Md.) has a 0.77 goals-against average.
At the University of New England, the Nor’easters are 7-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, 9-5 overall. Senior midfielder Hannah Tavella (Putnam Valley, N.Y.) leads scorers with seven goals, eight assists and 22 points before Wednesday night’s 3-0 victory over MIT. Junior forward Erin Bibber (Charlton, Mass.) has eight goals for 16 points, and senior forward Casey Clark (Franconia, N.H.) has six goals, four assists and 16 points.
The balanced scoring continues with junior midfielder Hannah Warren (Harrison, Oxford Hills) with seven goals, one assist and 15 points, and Hayley LaPointe (Topsham, Mt. Ararat) with three goals, nine assists and 15 points. Freshman goalie Holly Smith (Peabody, Mass.) has a 2.09 goals-against average.
At the University of Southern Maine, junior forward Peyton Dostie (Standish, Bonny Eagle) has 15 goals, six assists and 36 points to rank second in scoring in the Little East Conference. Senior Rebecca Pratt (Cornville, Skowhegan High) has four goals, four assists and 12 points. Senior goalie Kayla Kennedy (Windham), 2.80 goals-against average and freshman Amanda Kasbohm (York) has a 3.60 goals-against average in net. The Huskies are 5-10 overall, 2-5 in the Little East.
Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at: