ORONO — The men’s and women’s basketball teams weren’t the only ones to bring in a bumper European crop this year.

Josette Babineau, the Black Bears field hockey coach, included three Europeans in her eight-person recruiting class: forwards Katie Bingle of England and Elke Jacobse and Esther Overeem of Holland.

But unlike the basketball coaches, Babineau did not go to Europe to recruit the players.

She was contacted by a European scouting agency, which sends reports on players who want to come to America to play to every U.S. Division I field hockey program. Babineu watched video of the players and contacted them via Skype, a video-conferencing Internet application. Then Babineau did what every good coach does: sell the university.

“A lot of times their parents are there with them,” said Babineau, of the Skype conversations. “We’re trying to make sure, as much as possible, that it’s going to be the right fit for them because they’re not visiting schools. We want to make sure they know exactly what they’re committing to.”

Maine’s freshman class also includes three of the top Maine high school stars last year: Nicole Sevey and Jessie Skillings of Skowhegan and Marissa Shaw of Nokomis.

The 19-year-old Jacobse, who grew up in the town of Badhoevedorp, Holland (pop.: 12,000), did visit Orono, along with her mother. She also visited Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., before committing to Maine.

“I felt very much at home immediately when I came here,” she said before a recent practice.

Overeem and Bingle relied heavily on the Internet to make their college decisions. They were both impressed by what they saw on Maine’s website and with what they heard from Babineau.

None of them seem concerned about being so far from home.

“I think it’s a big adventure,” said Jacobse. “It’s good to grow up. There are a lot of nice people here and it’s not a problem. Maybe there is coming a moment when I feel homesick, but so far it’s great.’’

She came here, she said, because “of the whole experience. I want to learn a language. The school systems are very good in America and this was a very good opportunity to combine field hockey with school.”

One big difference the European players are finding is in the training. Here, weightlifting is included.

And, said Bingle, college field hockey players in Europe only train twice a week for maybe one game. It was important for her to find a program that would challenge her competitively.

“The standard is good, a higher standard here than any of the universities in England,” she said. “It’s good for my game, so I’m not jumping down.”

Bingle, who grew up in Selby, England (pop.: 13,000), was very impressed with Maine’s facilities.

“If you look at the facilities here compared to England, they’re better and there’s more of them,” she said.

Overeem, who grew up in the town of Hilversum, Holland (pop.: 85,000), said the Skype conversations were very important. “That’s where it clicked,” she said.

She worried at first about being away from home, but has found Maine to her liking so far.

“We’ve been so busy, I haven’t really had time to think about home or stuff like that,” said Overeem, who also looked at Ohio State. “I do Skype a lot. So now I’m not homesick. I’m having fun. And everything’s still new right now.’’

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

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH