Friday, March 7, 2014
After an 0-3-1 start, the UMaine-Farmington women's soccer team has won four in a row. UMF was selected fourth in the conference in the North Atlantic Conference preseason coaches poll, but is now second with a 3-0-0 record in conference play.
"One of the things was having some of the core players back healthy again," UMF coach Molly Wilkie said, mentioning Ava Amador and Kayla Tuttle in that category. "Things are just clicking. People are stepping up who maybe played smaller roles last year."
One of those players stepping up is junior Jenna Silliboy. After playing defense last year, Silliboy moved to outside midfielder this fall, and is tied for fourth on the Beavers in scoring with six points on three goals and three assists.
"She just competes so well and so hard," Wilkie said. "She's given us a big spark, and she's scored some big goals for us."
Amador, a Farmington native and Mt. Blue High School graduate, was the most recent NAC Women's Soccer Player of the Week. In four games this season, she already has six goals and three assists, for a team-high 15 points.
"Ava is sort of the quintissential forward," Wilkie said. "She wants the ball, and she wants to score. She takes charge when she has the ball. She works so hard off the ball, as well as getting back to help on defense."
UMF already has one big win this season. Husson was picked third in the NAC this year, but the Beavers went to Bangor and came away with a 3-1 win and a 22-8 shot advantage.
UMF will tr to get two more big wins this weekend. On Saturday, the Beavers are at New England College, ranked fifth in the conference with a 2-1-0 record. UMF then faces Colby-Sawyer (2-0-0 in the conference) on Sunday.
"This is a huge weekend," Wilkie said. "Those are two high-quality teams. Honestly, the results could go either way. It's going to be important for us to stay focused, and play the game we want to play. There's no getting around it -- this is a big weekend for us."
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The Colby field hockey team plays in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, one of the toughest leagues in the country. But the Mules are also a reason the conference is so good.
For the second straight week, Colby is among the teams also receiving votes in the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Poll for Division III. Effectively, that means the Mules are considered a top 25 team in the country.
Colby knocked then No. 17 Trinity out of the top 20 with a 5-0 win on Sept. 21. The Mules then lost 2-0 to Middlebury, currently ranked No. 6, on Saturday.Colby lost an early-season game to No. 5 Tufts. Middlebury and Tufts are the only two teams to score on Colby, which is 4-2-0 and has outscored its opponents, 17-5.
This is all for a program that was 6-8-0 last fall and 4-10-0 the year before. Colby will have at least two more chances against ranked teams, and both are NESCAC opponents. The Mules host No. 11 Amherst on Oct. 12, and play at No. 4 Bowdoin on Oct. 26.
Colby goalie Sarah Evans is third in the country in the latest Division III statistics with a save percentage of .898. Evans is also 16th in the nation in goals-against average (0.87).
Misha Strage leads Colby with 13 points on five goals and three assists. Megan Fortier (nine points) and Caitlin Murray (five) round out Colby's top three scorers.
Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243