It’s three games into the regular season, and Colby College field hockey coach Tina Cormier has already noticed a decided difference in this year’s team.

“Honestly,” Cormier said, “overall, I feel like we’re just playing as a unit, and we’re playing better than we’ve ever played. The thing that I’m most proud of is their work ethic. They’re just giving me everything they have. If we continue this way, I think we’re going to see a lot of success in the future.”

Colby opened Cormier’s third season with a 3-0 win over Williams, a 5-0 win over the University of New England, and a 3-0 loss to Tufts, the No. 2 ranked team in the country in Division III. The Mules showcased an improved possession game, and considerable versatility.

“It allows us to move people around without slowing down the game,” Cormier said. “A lot of kids are getting playing time, and it’s not slowing down the flow at all.”

Two injuries demonstrated that versatility and how well Colby could play as a unit. Junior back Kellie Walsh, who started every game last season, missed the first two games, but the Mules adjusted and picked up two shutouts. Senior goalie Michelle Burt was also out with an injury, but was ably replaced by sophomore Sarah Evans, who had played only 95 minutes as a freshman. Against Tufts, Evans shined with 18 saves.

“She has done a fantastic job,” Cormier said. “She has been great with her leadership back there. Now we have two goalkeepers who are capable of helping us.”

That, of course, leads to a question: Now that Burt is healthy, who will be Colby’s goalie?

“They’re both very good,” Cormier said. “I trust them equally. I can’t tell you what’s going to happen. I hope to use both of them. Every day, I evaluate to see who’s going to put the team in the best position to succeed at any given moment.”

* * *


Katherine Bowie probably didn’t have this in mind when she chose to play Division I field hockey at Siena College.

Heading into today’s game with Albany, the Saints are 0-4-0 this season. Since Bowie joined Siena’s team as a freshman, they are 0-37-0.

But Kara Zappone, Bowie’s second coach at Siena, describes a person who, rather than being beaten down by the losses, is more determined to change the tide.

“She takes such a pride in the program that her dedication is second to none,” Zappone said. “She brings an energy and enthusiasm and a positive vibe. The harder she works, the harder everybody else around her works.”

Bowie, a junior, played high school field hockey at Cony and later at Kents Hill. She plays left midfielder for the Saints. After starting eight games as a freshman — and finishing tied for second on the team in points — she started all 15 games as a sophomore, and has started all four this fall.

For Siena’s website, the players had to fill out a questionnaire. Most of the questions are casual — Bowie’s biggest fear is sharks, her favorite team is the Red Sox, and her Twitter handle is @bigbootybowie1 — but it’s interesting to note that Bowie went to all capitals for emphasis on only one answer. Asked her goal for this season, she put, “WIN SOME GAMES.”

“No matter what day it is, she is always in a positive mindset, and always strives to overcome that obstacle,” Zappone said. “I would love for her to score a lot of goals, get a lot of assists, and for us to get some wins under our belt so she can see the outcome for all her hard work.”

Zappone paused and added, “She deserves it.”


* * *


It isn’t often a college soccer player can do exactly what his coach wants as a sophomore. Kyle Stiefken is off to a good start.

Stiefken, a Vassalboro native and Cony High School graduate, was still recovering from an injury as the season began. He was coming off a freshman season at Southern Maine Community College in which he contributed four goals and three assists in 13 games. This fall, he’s scored five goals in the SeaWolves first four games. That kind of increased scoring production is what SMCC coach Brian Dougher had in mind.

“We were really hopeful for it,” Dougher said. “He showed some signs of it last year. We graduated most of our forward corps, so I was looking for him to take that mantle on his shoulders, and he’s done a great job with it.”

In SMCC’s two losses this season, the 5-foot-8 Stiefken had a total of five shots — and scored four goals.

“He’s a quick little forward up top, so he’s able to use his pace to get by a lot of defenders,” Stiefken said. “The goals he’s been able to score have been in combination with the other forwards and the midfielders. He’s got five goals right now, and it’s against solid competition.”

SMCC is perennially a contender in the Yankee Small College Conference, and Dougher believes this season will be no different.

“I think we’ll continue to be strong this year,” he said. “We only returned six (players), so we are in that mode of getting everybody on the same page. We’re 2-2, but three out of our four teams (we’ve played) are the best teams we’ll play this season.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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