Wednesday, May 22, 2013
You probably didn't hear about the local kid who played in a national championship game this weekend in Virginia. It was Sarah Fowler, a Winslow graduate who plays on the women's ice hockey team at Liberty University.
The Lady Flames lost in the American Collegiate Hockey Association final to Minnesota 2-0 at the Ashburn (Va.) Ice House. Liberty had won 12 straight overall and four in a row at the ACHA nationals over a three-day period. The Lady Flames were 29-3 overall and their appearance in the ACHA national championship game was the first in the program's history.
Fowler, a freshman defenseman, played in 27 of Liberty's 29 games during the regular season, scoring six points on two goals and four assists. Two of her assists came in one game Nov. 20 against the University of Wisconsin.
Liberty is a club team, but the travel, level of play, and commitment aren't consistent with what most people think of when they hear the term "club team." Fowler says she tells people that it's just a different division, and adds that the level of play was such a jump from high school, it took her most of the season to get comfortable on the ice.
"It's a very good level of hockey -- very competitive, very fast, compared to high school," Fowler said. "The term 'club', it didn't seem to give it enough credit. It's much better than any level of hockey I've played in my life. I felt like a small, intimidated little freshman."
Liberty went 3-0 against Division II competition this season, sweeping Chatham 4-2 and 6-3 in a two-game series and defeating Stevenson, 4-1, in November.
"I like to tell people that, too, when they ask," Fowler said.
Fowler said she chose Liberty because she wanted to go to a Christian university, and she intends to keep playing hockey next season.
"I loved it, so I definitely want to continue playing," she said.
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Thomas graduated a lot of baseball talent from what coach Greg King calls the best team he's ever had in Waterville. But the Terriers also brought in some talent -- enough that on some days they could be starting as many as six freshmen in the field.
"You never know what you're going to see until they step on the field," King said. "But I've been very impressed with some of the changes they might need to make in their swing or their pitching mechanics, they've been very receptive."
The Terriers have a total of 16 freshmen on their roster. Weather permitting, they have a doubleheader in Rhode Island at Johnson & Wales on Sunday. Then comes the Florida trip, and the day after they touch down, they have a doubleheader with Southern Maine.
"If they want to see what it takes to be a good Division III program, they're going to see right away with USM," King said.
Thomas also has a game in Florida with Freed-Hardeman, an NAIA school that has a 20-2-1 record this season and a 36-man roster.
The North Atlantic Conference schedule begins April 6, and King is holding off on any predictions.
"You never know," he said. "I've had teams that I thought were going to be great, and they were terrible. I've had teams that I thought were going to be terrible, and they were good."
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Messalonskee graduate Ben Roy, a Belgrade native, helped the St. Anselm men's skiing team to the USCSA Nationals for the first time in school history.
Last week, at Sun Valley, Idaho, Roy had the best time of any St. Anselm skier in the giant slalom. Roy's time of 2 minutes, 13.10 seconds was good for 18th overall among individuals as the Hawks placed sixth out of 19 schools.
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The Thomas women's lacrosse team is already nearly halfway through its regular season schedule, which ends April 21. The Terriers have played six of their 14 games, the latest a 17-4 loss to Kean in Florida on Wednesday.
Messalonskee graduate Miranda Tinsman, out for the team for the first time as a junior, was second on the Terriers with 11 goals in five games entering Wednesday's action. Tinsman, also a standout field hockey player at Thomas, scored eight of those goals in two games.
Thomas has seven different players with at least four goals -- as many as all of last season. Ceara DiBiase (14 goals, five assists), Gardiner graduate Jenn Day (9-5), and Brittany Premo (8-2) are the other top scorers.
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243