Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The goals are posted on a wall in the locker room. Win an away game. Win a home game. Win a conference game. Have a good practice.
Ben Brewster of Cape Elizabeth is a tri-captain for the Bowdoin men’s soccer team, which is off to a 6-1-1 start.
At the bottom of the list is this: Win our last game of the season.
Ben Brewster, Sam White and their Bowdoin College teammates see the goals for 2012 as a simple road map. The men's soccer team lost its way last season. In 2010, Bowdoin reached the semifinals of the NCAA Division III soccer playoffs in San Antonio. A 2-1 overtime defeat to Lynchburg College ended a 15-2-3 season.
Last year, Bowdoin tumbled to a 4-7-3 record, 1-7-2 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Everything that could go wrong did, beginning with injuries.
"I think we got a little too complacent. That was part of it," said Brewster of Cape Elizabeth, a freshman defender on the 2010 team. Now he's a junior and a tri-captain. "A lot of guys come from successful high school programs. After 2010, which was an unbelievable season, last year was kind of a revelation. It's good to have that hunger back."
Bowdoin is 6-1-1, 2-1-1 in the conference. It heads into the meat of the NESCAC schedule Saturday and Sunday with games against Colby and Williams. If you want to say Bowdoin is on a mission, Brewster and White, a sophomore forward from Falmouth, won't disagree.
"This team has high energy, high spirit," said White. "It's a step-by-step process, earning every win. The leadership on this team is phenomenal."
It isn't often that many of the same players experience such a turnaround in fortune in two years. White was a senior at Falmouth High in 2010. He had committed to Bowdoin before the NCAA tournament. His freshman expectations were sky high.
"Last year was a little frustrating, but knowing I had three more years and this team had so much potential was exciting." So exciting, White toned his 6-foot-4, 195-pound body even more this summer. He has the physical gifts and the mental makeup to be one of Bowdoin's primary scorers.
"On corner kicks I've had defenders come up to me and say 'you are really big.' I've got an advantage, but I have to use it."
White was a scoring leader as a freshman. Brewster and the other upperclassmen didn't let him get too comfortable. "Last year should have given me confidence, but every year is a new year," said White. "Eight or nine freshman came in and they all bring a lot to the table.
"It was kind of like everything was up for grabs."
ST. JOSEPH'S COLLEGE
Amber Dostie of Standish will sit out the Runnin' Monks Invitational on Saturday to prepare for some of the bigger meets of the cross country schedule. A sophomore, Dostie has been her team's lead runner for two years.
Heather Eaton of Lincolnville, another sophomore, and Lauren Rabideau, a freshman from Ballston Spa, N.Y., should lead St. Joseph's. Saturday's field includes the University of New England and its precocious freshman, Michaela Moran.
UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND
Sophomore goalkeeper Aidan McPharland (Brockville, Ontario) is a renaissance man. He's also the Commonwealth Coast Conference Defensive Player of the Week after victories over Lyndon State (1-0) and Endicott (2-1). Endicott represented the fifth win of the season, which is significant. The Nor'easters have won five games or more only three times since 2000. A 10-8 record in 2009 is the only winning season during that time.
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