The University of Maine at Farmington field hockey team is relying heavily on its defense right now. The Beavers have three shutouts, and have allowed only eight goals in eight games, but carry just a 4-4 record in to this afternoon’s home game with Thomas College.

But then, the Beavers knew defense would be their strength this fall. Sweeper Kaleigh Chase and left back Emma Daniel both bring a lot of experience, and sophomore Renee DesPres of Skowhegan has moved into a starting role. Freshman Curran Brierley has made a nice transition to college play, and UMF is generating about five shots per game more than its opponents.

Daniel is probably the star of the group, as she made all-conference last season. A junior, she has been playing left back since her freshman year at UMF.

“She plays at a high level every game,” UMF coach Cyndi Pratt said. “That consistency is comforting to a coach and a team. You don’t have to worry about her.”

The Beavers have lost their last two games, by scores of 2-1 to the University of New England and 1-0 to St. Joseph’s.

“My team has to figure out they have to play hard for 70 minutes of a game,” Pratt said. “It’s not like you can start playing hard when you’re down by a goal. It might be too late.”

Lily Barry and Mt. Blue graduate Kaitlyn Bullen lead UMF with six goals apiece. No one else has more than two, and Pratt would like to see more offense. Still, she acknowledges the Beavers lost a lot of scoring to graduation, and feels the way they play together is improving every day.

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Freshman Brian Potter has the unusual position of GK/F on the Husson men’s soccer roster. Potter hasn’t seen any time at forward for the Eagles, but he has started eight games in goal with impressive results. Potter, a Waterville native and Erskine Academy graduate, has a 0.59 goals-against-average and a save percentage of .913.

“We brought him along slowly, but lately, he’s been way more confident,” Husson coach Jeff Gettler said. “He’s exceeded our expectations to date. He’s had some good training before, because his habits are very good.”

Gettler said it’s quite unusual for a player to be a college-level talent as a goalkeeper and a field player.

“I recruited him as a goalkeeper, but every time I went to see him, he was playing in the field,” Gettler said. “There’s a lot of good things because he’s been a good field player. He’s got great feet. He’s light years ahead of other players who have only played in goal.”

Potter’s teammate, freshman midfielder Jake Erskine of Sidney, is also making an impact. Erskine has played in 10 of Husson’s 11 games and started four.

“If you think of a midfielder as a link between the back and the forward lines,” Gettler said, “he really helps in that engine room part — being busy, keeping people moving.”

Gettler said that like Potter, Erskine is already showing great progress on the field. The Eagles are 6-4-1 this fall and have won three straight.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise for us,” Gettler said. “We really need him. He’s an integral part of our midfield and our team right now.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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