Before she became the women’s soccer head coach at Bowdoin College in the spring of 2012, Brianne Weaver knew the Polar Bears had something special.

Now in her third season in Brunswick, she hasn’t been disappointed. The Polar Bears have advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III tournament the last two years and are off to another great start.

Bowdoin is 7-1 and ranked 18th in the nation in the latest coaches’ poll. The Polar Bears won their first six games before losing to Brandeis 1-0 on Saturday.

“I am very fortunate,” said Weaver. “I inherited a fantastic group. They are all very high achievers. They wanted to do more and that was apparent even in the interview process. When I got the job I told them, ‘This is what you’ve got to do to get to the next level.’ To their credit, they’ve done what they’ve had to do.”

While no one likes to lose, Weaver and others said the loss may have a lasting positive effect.

“Knowing this group, and how hard they work to achieve their goals, it probably does relieve a little pressure,” she said. “Now we know what we have to work on going into the rest of our schedule.”

Kiersten Turner, a junior from Gorham and Bowdoin’s second-leading scorer with four goals and two assists, called it frustrating but “we will take this loss and use it to get better the rest of the year.”

Turner has had an outstanding career for the Polar Bears. She led the team with 12 goals as a sophomore when she received several honors, including NSCAA All-America. For her career, she has 22 goals and eight assists.

“She is an incredible competitor,” Weaver said of Turner. “Even in practice she is always working quite hard at all the little things which help her become a great player on game day. And she is fortunate to be surrounded by a very talented group of teammates.”

While Turner said she is seeing more pressure from opponents this year, she also said the game is becoming a little easier.

“I think that each year you get more comfortable and have more confidence in general,” said Turner. “And I think this year, with me getting a little more pressure from teams … it’s opened (things) up for other players.”

Senior Amanda Kinneston is Bowdoin’s leading scorer with four goals and three assists while junior Jamie Hofstetter has three goals and one assist.

“This is the closest team I have been on so far at Bowdoin,” said Turner. “We have a large upper-class contingent (with six seniors) and that is different than in the past. The teams in the past had a larger number of underclassmen. Just having that large upper-class group sets the tone. We are able to set the standard for the girls coming in.”

Weaver, who previously coached at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said the older players are invaluable to Bowdoin’s success.

“They’ve all been together for several years,” she said. “And that certainly makes a difference. Every line on the field knows what is expected of them and that is invaluable.”

Turner, the only Mainer on the roster, said the Polar Bears excel at possessing the ball. “Every game we’ve played the other team has had to chase us all around the field,” she said. “That’s exhausting.”

FIELD HOCKEY

St. Joseph’s College senior midfielder Theresa Hendrix of Scarborough (Cheverus) was named the Great Northeast Conference Player of the Week. Hendrix helped the Monks win three games with two goals and three assists. She has four goals and a team-high six assists on the season.

n Endicott College senior Emily Sawchuck of Cumberland (Cheverus) was named Commonwealth Coast Conference offensive player of the week after scoring four goals and two assists in three victories for the Gulls. She scored in a 1-0 victory over regional power MIT.

n Endicott senior defender Alyssa Clark of Gorham was named CCC defensive player of the week after recording four defensive saves, three in a 1-0 win over MIT, the team’s first over MIT since 1981.

FOOTBALL

Sophomore running back Alex Shain of Sanford has played in four games for Assumption College (1-3), gaining 85 rushing yards with one touchdown, and averaging 21.7 yards on three kick returns.

GOLF

St. Joseph’s College sophomore Michael Caron of Gorham continues to dominate the GNAC awards. Caron was named the GNAC golfer of the week for the fourth consecutive week after shooting a par-72 for medalist honors in the 12th annual John Queenan Memorial Tournament. He is the first golfer to win medalist honors two years in a row. In six events this year, Caron has a 73.6 average.

n Bentley University junior Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta (Lincoln Academy) finished third with a 77-70-147 to lead the Falcons to the Northeast-10 Conference championship at Lake Sunapee Country Club in New London, New Hampshire. Bentley’s golfers shot a 297-296-593, the best winning mark in the conference since 2003. For his effort, Oliver was named to the Northeast-10 all-conference first team. He has competed in four tournaments this fall, with a team-best 73.5 stroke average.

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

University of New England junior C.J. Vallie of Nashua, New Hampshire, was named CCC Runner of the Week. Vallie placed fourth (out of 149 runners) with an 8-kilometer time of 28 minutes, 9 seconds to lead the Nor’easters to a first-place team finish in the Pop Crowell Invitational.

MEN’S SOCCER

UNE senior goalkeeper Aldan McParland of Brockville, Ontario, was named CCC defensive player of the week after averaging 10 saves with a 0.92 goals-against average in two games.

n Junior midfielder Bryan Soucy of Windham scored his first goal of the season for Maine Maritime Academy in a 5-0 win over Lyndon on Sunday. He also has three assists. Junior midfielder Matt Leblanc of Dayton (Thornton Academy) has one assist in eight games.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

UNE junior Lexie Basiliere of Kingston, New Hampshire, was named CCC runner of the week when she placed first overall (out of 149 runners) with a 5-kilometer time of 19:56 in leading the Nor’easters to the team title in the Pop Crowell Invitational.

n UNE freshman Angel Waters of Limerick (Massabesic) was honored as the CCC rookie of the week when she was second by a fraction of a second in a time of 19:56 at the Pop Crowell Invitational.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

Freshman forward Amanda Arnold of Dayton (Thornton Academy) has six goals and one assist in six games for Assumption College.

n Maine Maritime Academy junior forward Victoria Cooper of Saco (Thornton Academy) was named the North Atlantic Conference offensive player of the week after scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Lyndon.

WOMEN’S TENNIS

Endicott College senior Natalie Egbert of Gorham improved her No.1 singles record to 5-2 with a 6-0, 6-2 win in a recent match against Eastern Nazarene.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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