It was only an exhibition game.

But the University of Southern Maine’s 78-73 men’s basketball victory over the University of Maine last Saturday certainly opened eyes. Now Huskies Coach Karl Henrikson is hoping that win can provide some momentum for what promises to be an exciting season for the Huskies.

“This is a game that did have some meaning,” said Henrikson. “Obviously we haven’t played UMaine in quite a while. We are a Division III school and we wanted to make sure we represented ourselves well. So we prepared well. But we prepare well for every game.

“The kids were happy with the result, but not content. It fueled the fire to make ourselves better. This group is really going to push to do that.”

Any time a Division III team beats a Division I team – even in an exhibition – it means something. But the Huskies know it is just the start.

“That game was a huge confidence builder,” said Cole Libby, a junior guard from Buxton (Bonny Eagle) who was just elected a captain. “It just motivates everyone to get better every day, to show people what we can actually to.

“We also set the bar pretty high for ourselves. We like that. Everyone gets after each other every day in practice.”

The Huskies, coming off a 7-19 season, do not have a senior on the roster. They won’t rely on one, or two, or even three players to carry them each night. However the season unfolds, it will be a team effort every day.

That’s what happened Saturday, when the Huskies had four players score in double figures, led by sophomore Zach Leal of York. Ten players had at least one steal, led by Leal with four. Seven players had at least one rebound, led by Libby with nine.

What Henrikson liked most about that game was that when the Huskies returned to practice on Sunday, no one asked for a DVD copy of the game. “The kids know there’s other things we want to accomplish,” he said. “These kids have it in perspective. It’s an accomplishment, but it’s not what we want to try to do with our season. We can’t look back and say it’s the highlight of our year.

“We want to get better. It shows our potential.”

Henrikson said many people don’t realize how competitive the Little East Conference is, calling it one of the best conferences in the nation. He’s looking forward to coaching such a young group.

“If you compete with kids who are younger, they’ll get better as they get older,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a great year.”

Libby, who averaged 9.5 points and 4.9 rebounds last year, is certainly looking forward to it.

“This is the year to build for years to come,” he said. “We have a lot of young kids and we want to get keep getting better so for the next few years we don’t move backward.”

FIELD HOCKEY

Endicott senior Emily Sawchuck of Cumberland (Cheverus) was named the Commonweath Coast Conference offensive player of the year. Sawchuck led the conference in goals (20), assists (nine) and points (49). She was named to the conference first team for the third time. Senior back Alyssa Clark of Gorham was a CCC second-team selection.

University of New England senior Beth Sullivan of Cumberland, Rhode Island, was named the CCC defensive player of the year. Sullivan led a defense that allowed only 11 goals in the regular season. She and UNE senior midfielder Hannah Warren were CCC first-team selections. UNE sophomore forward Nicole Matarozzo was a second-team CCC selection.

UNE and Endicott will play for the league championship – and an automatic berth in the Division III tournament – at 1 p.m. Saturday at UNE.

St. Joseph’s junior Amanda Celata of Dedham, Massachusetts, was named Great Northeast Athletic Conference player of the week after scoring two goals in a 2-1 victory at Plymouth State. St. Joseph’s sophomore Emma Astbury of Bridgewater, Vermont, was named GNAC goalkeeper of the week for making a career-high eight saves in that victory.

Bowdoin junior forward Rachel Kennedy of Trumbull, Connecticut, was named New England Small College Athletic Conference player of the week for the third time this season. She scored five goals in two wins.

Anna Maria junior forward Kylie Dalbec of Portland leads the GNAC with 21 goals.

Gordon sophomore defender Karli-An Gilbert of Scarborough was named CCC defensive player of the week.

USM’s Peyton Dostie of Standish (Bonny Eagle) was selected to play in the NFHCA Division III Senior Game on Nov. 22 in Lexington, Virginia. She leads the LEC with 43 points and has 17 goals.

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

Colby sophomore Silas Eastman of Fryeburg Academy (Chatham, New Hampshire) earned first-team honors in the NESCAC. Eastman was sixth in the conference meet with an 8-kilometer time of 25:26.5 to help the Mules finish second.

USM junior Chris Dunn of Kennebunk earned all-Little East Conference honors by finishing fifth in the conference championships with a time of 27:25.84. USM finished second.

MEN’S HOCKEY

USM freshman goalie Kyle Shapiro of Ocean, New Jersey, was named the ECAC East rookie of the week. He made 34 saves in his collegiate debut to lead USM to a 3-2 victory over Stonehill. The Huskies, picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll, open conference play this weekend.

MEN’S SOCCER

Bowdoin senior Sam White of Falmouth was selected as NESCAC co-player of the week after he scored the winning goal in a 2-1 upset of Williams in the conference quarterfinals. The goal was White’s team-leading fifth.

UNE senior goalkeeper Aidan McParland, from Brockville, Ontario was selected to the academic all-district team while also earning CCC defensive player of the year. He has a 0.85 goals-against average. UNE sophomore back Erik Holmquist of Gothenburg, Sweden, was named to the CCC first team.

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY

UNE sophomore Brittney Sorbello of Dover, New Hampshire, was named CCC runner of the year after winning the CCC championship with a 5-kilometer time of 23:55 in a photo finish with Roger Williams’ Hannah Zydanowicz. UNE freshman Angel Waters of Limerick (Massabesic) finished fifth in 24:04 to earn CCC rookie of the week honors. UNE finished first for its third CCC championship.

USM junior Hannah Damron of Windham earned LEC all-conference honors after placing third in the LEC championship. She finished in 19:22.18 to help USM take second.

WOMEN’S SOCCER

UNE senior back Lindsey Monaco of Holyoke, Massachusetts, was named CCC defensive player of the year and senior scholar-athlete. Monaco leads UNE with six assists and keys a defense that allowed just 13 goals. UNE freshman Becca Murphy of Durham, New Hampshire, was selected as CCC co-rookie of the year. She has eight goals.