Mariah Hebert admittedly was anxious about the start of the St. Joseph’s College volleyball season.

Hebert, a junior from Biddeford, missed the 2014 season following surgery to her left shoulder. While she felt healthy, she wasn’t sure how the shoulder would hold up once the daily practices and games began.

So far, it’s been perfect – and not just for her.

The Monks have started the season 6-0, winning Tuesday night’s match against Plymouth State, and Hebert is a big reason. A year ago St. Joseph’s went 9-22, missing Hebert’s steady play as the setter. With her back, the offense again runs smoothly.

“It’s just dramatic,” said Coach Yamile Nolan. “She’s able to run plays off free balls. She communicates excellently with her hitters. It’s just seamless. Truly it’s a beautiful thing to watch after struggling with setting last year.”

Hebert, the 2012 Maine Sunday Telegram volleyball player of the year, had 723 assists as a freshman and the Monks went 19-12. But her left shoulder kept dislocating.

She hoped to play through it as a sophomore but it was too painful. So she had surgery in July 2014 to strengthen the ball and socket.

“It was definitely hard to watch, especially after playing with them for a year,” said Hebert. “It was tough to see them struggle.”

She went through six months of physical therapy and resumed playing last summer. When the season began, she was ready to make up for a lost year.

“I missed the team quite a bit,” she said. “But it feels good to come back stronger than I was.”

Nolan leads the Monks this season with 126 assists.

“Her touch on the ball is so gentle and she just releases the ball, and it doesn’t even spin,” said Nolan.

“Beyond that, her placement is unbelievable. She says, ‘Let me know where you want the ball – higher, shorter, longer, faster, whatever.’ ”

The Monks traditionally have a strong volleyball program and Nolan likes to think last year was an aberration.

Besides Hebert, the Monks have outstanding players in senior Felicia Wachowiak, the middle blocker from Milton, New Hampshire, and freshman Jennelle Thompson, the libero from Farmington, New Hampshire.

Wachowiak has been the Great Northeast Athletic Conference offensive and defensive player of the week for two consecutive weeks. Thompson was this week’s GNAC rookie of the week.

Wachowiak has 30 blocks this year (19 solo) with 67 kills and 17 digs. She recently became the second player in team history to surpass 1,000 career kills. “Phenomenal,” said Nolan. “She’s just dominant when it comes to blocking.”

Thompson has a team-high 94 digs and leads the Monks with 85 total receptions by serve.

“She’s unflappable as a freshman,” said Nolan. “If she makes a mistake, she doesn’t make it twice. And she runs down balls that I don’t think are gettable.”

And then there’s senior defensive specialist Abbie McPhee, of Epping, New Hampshire, who recently surpassed 1,000 career digs.

“My hope is that they keep playing with the same passion and intensity every game,” Nolan said.

“Where that takes us, I don’t know. But if we can take this passion onto the court, we can be proud of wherever we finish this season.”

CROSS COUNTRY

Bentley University sophomore Ryan Cadorette of Saco (Thornton Academy) was the Falcons’ top finisher in the recent Dartmouth Invitational. Cadorette finished 18th overall, covering the 8,000-meter course in 25 minutes, 46.35 seconds. Senior Tom Dean of Portland (Deering), a captain for the Falcons, finished 30th overall in 26:11.46.

University of Southern Maine senior Brooke Davis of Clarendon, Vermont, was named Little East Conference women’s runner of the week. Davis helped the Huskies to a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division II & III competition in the Fordham Fiasco at Van Cortlandt Park in New York. She finished 15th overall with a time of 21:02.36 seconds on the 5,000-meter course.

St. Joseph’s College sophomore Lucas Fisher of Strafford, New Hampshire, was named the GNAC men’s runner of the week after he finished 24th overall with a time of 29:35 at the UNE Invitational.

St. Joseph’s College grad student Heather Eaton of Lincolnville (Camden Hills) was named GNAC women’s runner of the week after she placed third at the UNE Invitational with a time of 19:57 in the 5,000-meter race.

University of New England junior Brittney Sorbello of Dover, New Hampshire, was named Commonwealth Coast Conference women’s runner of the week after winning the UNE Invitational. She finished the 5,000-meter course in 18:59.4, over 20 seconds ahead of the second-place runner.

UNE freshman Matthew Toussaint of Wallagrass (Fort Kent) was named CCC men’s rookie of the week after a ninth-place finish in the UNE Invitational. He covered the 8,000-meter course in 28:27.6.

FIELD HOCKEY

Bentley senior midfielder Kelsey Howard of Scarborough has scored two goals and one assist for the Falcons (2-2). Howard, a captain, scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Assumption. She now has seven goals and four assists in her career.

St. Joseph’s College freshman Michalia Parent of Westborough, Massachusetts, was named GNAC rookie of the week after scoring three goals, including two game-winners, and an assist in three games.

UNE junior goalkeeper Holly Smith of Peabody, Massachusetts, was named CCC defensive player of the week and freshman defender Kersey Boulay of Liberty (Mt. View) was named rookie of the week. Smith had 19 saves in two games. Boulay played a strong defensive game and assisted on the game-winning goal in a 3-2 win over MIT.

FOOTBALL

Husson University junior safety Kenny Sweet of Portland (Deering) was named the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference defensive player of the week while also making the D3Football.com team of the week. Sweet tied a school record with three interceptions in a 44-2 win over Alfred State. Sweet had 100 yards on his return and now has a school-record 225 career return yards. He has 15 tackles on the season along with a team-high three interceptions, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups.

Bentley senior defensive lineman Jeff Amell of Buxton (Bonny Eagle) has four tackles for the Falcons (0-2). Amell, 6-foot-3, 270 pounds, has 32 tackles and 34 assists in his career, including 8.5 sacks for 40 yards in losses. He also has recovered three fumbles.

GOLF

USM junior Tom Murray of Bangor was named the Great Northeast Athletic Conference golfer of the week. He finished second overall in two invitational tournaments, shooting a 1-over par 73 in the Queenan Memorial, then followed with a two-day total of 146 at the Bowdoin College Invitational. USM won the Queenan Invitational and finished second, competing against Division I and II teams, in the Bowdoin Invitational.

Bentley senior Malcolm Oliver of Damariscotta (Lincoln Academy) finished ninth in the recent LeMoyne Fall Preview with a 77-78-155. Oliver, a captain for the Falcons, had five birdies.

St. Joseph’s freshman Cam Letourneau of Hebron (Oxford Hills) was named GNAC rookie of the week. He was the Monks’ top finisher in the Queenan Invitational (third with a 76) and the Bowdoin Invitational (12th with a 153).

Endicott College freshman Christopher Billings of Topsham (Cheverus) was named CCC rookie of the week. He tied for 15th at the Bowdoin Invitational with a two-day score of 155. He shot a 73 on the second day.

SOCCER

USM junior Katherine Hunziker of Portland (Cheverus) was named Little East Conference women’s offensive player of the week and USM senior Marissa Temple of Grafton, Massachusetts, was named goalkeeper of the week. Hunziker had a goal and an assist in a 1-1 week for the Huskies. Those were the first points of her collegiate career. Temple had a total of 23 saves in the two games, including a career-best 19 in a 3-0 loss to Bates. She has a 1.00 goals-against average for the season with a .893 save percentage.

VOLLEYBALL

Husson sophomore Bailey Cote of Biddeford is among the Eagles’ leading players with 52 kills, 23 digs, 15 solo blocks and 11 service aces in 10 matches.