The Thomas women’s soccer team picked up its first win of the season Sunday against UMaine-Machias. The Terriers tried several different formations over the first three games and came close to that first win two other times. Thomas lost 1-0 to Regis on a goal in the 65th minute, and rallied from a 2-0 deficit against Southern Maine before falling in overtime.

“We had been searching for our identity, for lack of a better phrase, over the last couple of games,” Thomas coach Deb Biche said. “Machias is a decent squad. It’s a tough place to play.”

The Terriers have two seniors and four juniors playing, so Biche expects them to be better at the end of the season.

“We have progressed over the last four games,” Biche said. “We’ve seen some better results from last year to this year.”

Thomas has been outshot 106-34 this season, but the defensive line has held strong and junior Kate Thibodeau has been superb in goal. Thibodeau has an .846 save percentage through four games.

“Kate has really stepped up her game in goal,” Biche said. “I think she’s improved significantly over the summer.”

Midfielders Jasmine Ryan and Jillian Lambert are also factors and the forwards are led by Mary Grace Morris and newcomer Kajsa Kaufeldt.

“There’s no one outstanding player on our team. Collectively, we’re a real good group,” Biche said.

* * *

UMaine-Farmington has 10 freshmen on its field hockey team, including five from central Maine. That’s bolstered the number of players on the roster to 25.

“It’s great, certainly for practice-wise,” coach Cyndi Pratt said. “Sometimes we have kids miss for class, so I think it’s great for our program to have the numbers around. It’s also good to get them used to the level of play in college. It’s not always easy, but I think it’s great to have the new energy.”

The Beavers didn’t open their season until Sunday, and lost 5-1 to Endicott.

“We played better in the second half than we did in the first half,” Pratt said. “Endicott had already played a couple games, so we took a little too much time and were back on our heels to start the game.”

UMF was 8-8 overall and 6-3 in the North Atlantic Conference last season, and to be successful again this season, Pratt said the Beavers will need to finish in the circle and play strong defense.

“The game has developed,” Pratt said. “Teams play really good defense, so you don’t get a lot of opportunities. The scoreboard doesn’t reflect what you did between the goals. It reflects what you did in front of the cage, on offense and defense.”

One way the game has developed is that most teams play their home games on artificial turf. UMF has a grass field, and that may provide a home-field advantage. It could also swing the other way, as sometimes the Beavers will practice on one surface and play on another. Pratt is taking the approach that if you do what you need to do, you can win on any surface.

“I really do think the game of field hockey is better on turf,” she said. “With saying that, what are we supposed to do? Not play? We have a grass field. I think if we dwell on it too much, it’s a built-in excuse for our players, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

* * *

About three dozen athletes and staff from Thomas will be walking Sunday in Portland’s Back Cove to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Basketball coach T.J. Maines and cross country coach Kerry Smart both have daughters named Gabby who are Type 1 Diabetes. Gabby Maines is in third grade and Gabby Smart is a fourth-grader.

“She takes six, seven shots a day,” T.J. Maines said of his daughter. “It’s not an easy thing to deal with. They’re tough little girls. Whatever we can do to help find a cure, that’s what we want.”

Maines said there will be about 60 walkers total, and they have set a goal of raising $5,000. Thomas is hosting three high school field hockey games on its new field Saturday, and admission from those games will be donated to the fundraiser.

If you wish to donate, please contact Maines at [email protected]

* * *

Hannah Thornberg, who led the Commonwealth Coast Conference in scoring last season as a junior field hockey player at Endicott College, is off to a strong start again this fall. Thornberg, a Messalonskee High School graduate, had 15 goals and five assists for 35 points last year.

So far this season, Thornberg has four goals and two assists in three games. After being held scoreless in a season-opening loss to Babson, Thornberg had two goals and an assist in each of Endicott’s two games this weekend.

Endicott’s career records go back only to 2005. In that time frame, Thornberg should set new records for goals and points. She currently has 37 goals and 88 points in her career. Jennifer Rheaume, whose numbers cover 2005 to 2007, is in first place with 41 goals and 95 points.

Another field hockey player who is racking up goals is Nokomis grad Sabrina Vaillancourt. Early in her third season at Husson, Vaillancourt has 30 career goals, including seven in five games this fall.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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