BASEBALL
Coach: Chris Bessey (fifth season)

Last season: 14-22 overall, 12-10 North Atlantic Conference

Key players: Jimmy Neal (Sr., P-IF), Joe Sullivan (Sr., P), Ben Keene (Jr., IF), Trevor Hisler (So., IF), Sean Cabaniss (Jr., UT), Dustin McCrossin (Jr., IF), Jordan Croteau (So., C), Kyle Peterson (Jr., P), Tom Grady (Jr., OF-P), Grayson Beressi (Jr., OF)

Outlook: Bessey has done a fantastic job building the UMF program. The Beavers have gone from four conference wins his first season, to seven, eight, and then 12 last spring. He was rewarded as NAC Coach of the Year for 2014. What’s especially encouraging with this year’s group is that UMF’s top eight hitters by average last year were all freshmen or sophomores, and all are back this season. Pitching-wise, Sullivan, Peterson and Neal combined for 11 of UMF’s 14 wins last year, and all of them are also back on the roster. Sullivan was extra-tough in conference games — 4-1 with a 0.74 ERA and four complete games. The overall result of this deep roster is that the Beavers were picked to finish third in the conference by the league’s coaches.

SOFTBALL
Coach: Amy Jones (first season)

Last season: 14-14 overall, 10-4 NAC

Key players: Kennadi Grover (So., IF), Katie Clark (So., IF), Shelby Bryant (Jr., OF), Courtney Fowler (So., P), Meryl Bond (Jr., C), Hannah Lust (Sr., IF-DP), Kristen Manzo (So., P)

Outlook: Jones hit a team-high .402 as UMF’s third baseman last year, and graduated in December. The Beavers hit .319 as a team last season, and return a good portion of that offense, led by Clark (.365, 19 RBI), and Grover (.372, 22 RBI, 13 extra-base hits). The pitching is thinner because Emily Soule is not playing softball for UMF. In addition to hitting .388 overall, Soule was 7-2 in conference games with a 2.25 ERA. That leaves Fowler (3-1, 3.42 in conference play) as the top returning pitcher. Manzo (2-4, 3.57) also saw action in the circle last spring. UMF was still picked for third in the NAC.

MEN’S LACROSSE
Coach: Jim Dock (first season)

Last season: 4-7 overall, 4-4 NAC

Key players: Nathan Chase (Jr., A), Cameron McAllister (Jr., M), Chase Rerrick (Fr., A), Joseph Maldonado (So., GK), Casey Wrigley (So., A), Connor Joy (Jr., D), Josh Smith (Sr., D)

Outlook: UMF was projected to finish among the nine teams in the NAC in the preseason coaches poll. The Beavers opened the season by losing 19-1 to Rivier and 22-1 to Lasell. McAllister scored the UMF goal in each game. The Beavers have a lot of offense to replace, as Chase (nine goals, 12 assists last season) is the only player among last year’s top seven returning scorers who wasn’t a senior last season. Maldonado is also relatively new to the net after playing only 15 minutes last spring behind then-senior Ben Altmaier.

WOMEN’S LACROSSE
Coach: Molly Wilkie (seventh season)

Last season: 5-9 overall, 3-3 NAC

Key players: Ayla Allen (Jr., M), Mara Balboni (Jr., M), Jaclyn Langevin (So., M), Maddi Kadnar (Sr., A), Erica Letellier (So., D), Rhi Jackson (So., D/M), Patty Smith (So., GK), Kayla Burgess (Fr., GK)

Outlook: The Beavers had only two seniors last season so they are poised for some improvement this year. Allen scored a team-high 31 goals last season and is UMF’s all-time leader in that category after only two seasons. Balboni added 25 goals last year and Langevin finished with 24. The Beavers will miss defender Chelsea Morley, who is not back after making second-team all-conference as a junior last spring. The goalkeeper will be new, as Hannah Goodenow played every minute as a senior last season. Smith, however, has plenty of collegiate goalie experience as a standout on the UMF field hockey team. The Beavers are scheduled to have their first home game March 25 against the University of Southern Maine.


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