Faced with an opponent desperately trying to tie the score in the last minutes of their conference playoff game, Theresa Hendrix and her St. Joseph’s College teammates wouldn’t stop talking. They shouted directions and encouragement and in the end, congratulations.
St. Joe’s beat Husson 2-1 in Wednesday’s North Atlantic Conference field hockey semifinals. It marked the first time St. Joe’s had beaten their in-state rival in the playoffs.
“We had to play together,” said Hendrix , a senior midfielder and captain. “We lose when we don’t talk to each other.”
Not too far from St. Joseph’s campus in Standish, the University of New England field hockey team beat Nichols College 5-0 in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference. At the same time in Brunswick, the women who play for Bowdoin College prepared for their New England Small College Athletic Conference semifinal Saturday with Tufts.
The dominant team sport on several small college campuses in Maine is field hockey. Hendrix (Scarborough, Cheverus High), speaking for herself, says she does pay attention to which teams win and move deeper into the postseason tournaments. “It’s part of being competitive.”
Bowdoin is the standard. The Polar Bears have been national champions, most recently in 2010. Bowdoin lost its final NESCAC game 1-0 to Tufts and dropped in the conference seedings to third. Stung, Katie Riley (Hingham, Mass.) scored four straight goals in Bowdoin’s 6-1 statement win over Trinity in the quarterfinals. Her four goals tied a NESCAC tournament record.
At St. Joseph’s, the victory was the 100th for Coach Rupert Lewis, a native of Jamaica. He became the first St. Joseph’s field hockey coach to reach that number. Nine years ago he inherited a program that had a total of 14 wins in its previous four seasons.
At UNE, freshman goalie Holly Smith (Peabody, Mass.) had her sixth shutout in eight games. The Nor’easters are unbeaten in 13 conference games this year and play Gordon College Saturday for the title. St. Joseph’s plays Castleton State on Saturday for the NAC title.
“We’ll forget (the win over Husson),” said Hendrix. “I can’t think we’ve played our perfect game yet. But this is the perfect time to peak.”
The volleyball team, seeded second in the NESCAC tournament, plays Friday night in the quarterfinals against Trinity at Williams College. The men’s soccer team plays top-seeded Amherst in the conference playoffs on Saturday while the women’s soccer team must wait to see if it earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament after its loss to Tufts last weekend . . . Coby Horowitz gets a week of training before defending his New England Division III Championship in the regional cross country meet Nov. 16 hosted by the University of Southern Maine. The national cross country championship meet is Nov. 23 at Hanover College (Indiana) . . . The women’s rugby team avenged its only regular-season loss by winning its second consecutive New England Small College Rugby Championship with a 47-12 victory over Tufts last weekend and advances to the national tournament, hosting a game at 1 p.m. Saturday.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
Women’s volleyball player Angie Brunette (North Andover, Mass.) was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Senior Scholar-Athlete of the Year. On the court, Brunette leads the Nor’easter attack in points/set (4.1), kills/set (3.33), blocks/set (0.85) and hitting percentage (.245).
Over the eight conference matches during the regular season, the middle blocker ranked second in kills/set and seventh in blocks/set.
It marks the third all-league selection for Brunette, who got an honorable mention nod as a sophomore and was picked to the second team as a junior. Away from volleyball, the two-year captain has made the dean’s list in every semester at UNE majoring in occupational therapy (currently working toward a master’s degree).
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE
Women’s basketball coach Gary Fifield, his staff and players will conduct a shooting clinic for girls in grades 3-10 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Costello Sports Complex on the Gorham campus. For further information go to www.southernmainehuskies.com/fanZone/clinic . . . The women play the University of Maine 7 p.m. Monday at the new Cross Center in Bangor. Maine leads the series between the Division I and Division III programs, 17-1, and last played USM in 1986.
Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: SteveSolloway