The Elm City Cup isn’t highest on the radar when it comes to college soccer in the state, but Tuesday night’s edition of the annual game between the Colby College and Thomas College men might have a hint of added urgency.

Both teams head into the 7 p.m. kickoff at Thomas’ Smith Field with identical 0-1-1 records. Thomas — the preseason favorite to win the North Atlantic Conference championship for a second consecutive season — a win would jumpstart its season ahead of the start of NAC play. For Colby, under the direction of third-year coach Ewan Seabrook, it’s a chance for a number of players to step into the limelight.

“It’s really going to be a big test for us. That’s always a great game,” said Thomas head coach Chris Parsons, whose team has had seven days off. “If we’re able to score some early goals, that will mean we’re having a good day. I think watching our team, we’re very entertaining. Colby is always very good, too, so we really expect an exciting game. Like I said, it’s always a good test for us.”

The engine in the middle of the Thomas lineup is junior Willie Clemons. Parson’s called him “our special player,” and the midfielder played for the Bermuda senior national team in Caribbean Cup qualifying over the summer. He was named the NAC Player of the Week after registering a goal and an assist against 20th-ranked UMass-Boston on Sept. 5, the first and only two goals the Beacons have allowed through five games this season.

“The team really runs around him,” Parsons said. “He’s exciting.”

The Mules finished just 3-8-4 a year ago with the youngest team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference yet still have a squad featuring just two seniors.

Colby has gone 3-1-1 in its last five meetings against Thomas, losing 3-2 in overtime to the Terriers last season at home.

Prior to a 2-2 draw in 2014, Colby had won three straight meetings in the Elm City Cup.

TOP PICK: Thomas will look to get some momentum going in the Elm City Cup matchup in what is expected to be a very good season for the Terriers.

Thomas received seven of 10 first-place votes and enters the season as the NAC favorite to win the conference title and make a repeat appearance in the NCAA Division II national tournament.

“This is the strongest group we’ve had since I’ve been at Thomas,” said Parsons, who is now in his sixth season. “It’s the most depth we’ve had. We really expect to play 16 players, and there’s not a lot of difference in our level of play. In the NCAA Tournament the last couple of years, that’s been the biggest thing is that we just haven’t had the depth that some of the other teams have.”

Thomas won the NAC championship last season after going 8-1-0 in conference play.

HOMETOWN HERO: Winthrop’s Emily Spahr recorded her first career hat trick and was subsequently named the North Atlantic Conference’s field hockey Player of the Week this week.

Spahr, a junior at UMaine-Farmington, has eight goals through three games and ranks second in the category in the NAC.

Spahr’s hat trick came in a 6-0 win over Becker College on Saturday.

FIRST TIMERS: The Colby women’s soccer team will play the first home night game in program history on Wednesday, when the Mules host Thomas at Alfond Stadium at 8 p.m.

It should be a celebratory night, too, as Colby heads into the game with momentum after beating Husson 1-0 on Sunday for first-year coach Kristin Shaw’s first victory at the helm of the Mules.

Colby (1-1-0) hasn’t allowed a goal yet this season in the run of play. The only goal the team has surrendered came on a penalty kick in a 1-0 loss to Tufts University in the team’s season opener.


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