It has certainly been a season of growing pains for the University of Maine at Farmington women’s basketball team.

After Saturday’s 61-42 loss to Thomas College, the Beavers are owners of a 4-9 record, and have one win in their previous eight games.

“I think we got off to a nice start, and were playing really well,” UMF head coach Jamie Beaudoin said. “Then our schedules changed a little bit, (playing) St. Joseph’s, Bowdoin and Maine Maritime on the road, some of those tougher opponents. But I thought we opened up our conference weekend (in early December) with Johnson (& Wales) and Lyndon pretty well. We got a win over Johnson at home and ended up losing in overtime in Lyndon, and they’ve really stepped up their game this season, they’re one of the top teams in our conference.”

To make matters worse, UMF lost freshman forward McKenna Brodeur — a Messalonskee graduate — to injury in the Lyndon game. Brodeur made an immediate impact through the first six games, averaging 13 points per game for the Beavers.

Beaudoin said Brodeur has been out with a “lower body” injury, and doctors are still trying to determine the extent of Brodeur’s injury.

“Trying to do some rehab, some physical therapy, but her body just isn’t making that (healthy) adjustment yet,” Beaudoin said.

Brodeur is a two-sport athlete at UMF. She was the offensive star for the women’s soccer team last fall, scoring 13 goals and adding seven assists for a team that finished with a 7-11 record (4-5 North Atlantic Conference). In basketball, she provides a solid presence in the paint for the Beavers. On top of her scoring, she was the team’s top rebounder, pulling down 7.8 boards per game.

“She was just so important for us, even though she played in a limited amount of games,” Beaudoin said. “We have to play much different without her. Now we’re lacking some size, so rebounding becomes an issue, as well as her ability to control the player she was guarding (during games). We’re having a hard time stopping people inside right now.”

UMF is a team full of young talent. The Beavers have just four seniors on the roster, and are carrying seven freshmen and sophomores. There have been bright spots along the way. Junior guard Morgan Crocker is averaging 13.5 points per season, the best on the squad. Junior forward Paige Carter is averaging nearly nine rebounds per game. And Beaudoin said he has seen improvement throughout the season.

“Every day in practice, we’re seeing improvements,” Beaudoin said. “We’re still working on individual play, whether it’s ball handling, catch-and-shoot situations or playing out of a screen…Despite some tough losses, I still think they’re at practice every day trying to get better and wanting to work.”

The Beavers will try to change their fortunes Tuesday night against Bates. Tip-off is 7 p.m. at the Dearborn Gym in Farmington.

• • •

Saturday will provide the rematch of an excellent early season contest between the Colby men’s basketball team against Bowdoin.

Back on Dec. 2, The Mules pulled off an 89-84 upset of the then-No. 22 ranked Polar Bears. In that game, Mules guard Ethan Schlager scored 19 points, while Matt Hanna and Wallace Tucker each added 15 points for Colby.

“We knew it was going to be a fight, and we feel good to get it done,” Colby head coach Damien Strahorn said after the game. “We’ve been excited about our ceiling and what we can become.”

Colby has enjoyed continued success during the season. The owners of a 10-5 record, Colby is led offensively by sophomore guard Sam Jefferson, who is averaging 16.4 points per game. Hanna — a sophomore guard — is averaging 12.1 points per game.

Though the loss stumbled Bowdoin, the Polar Bears are also experiencing a successful season, with a record of 10-4. Falmouth native Jack Simonds leads Bowdoin offensively, averaging 15.5 points per game. Sophomore guard David Reynolds is averaging 15.2 points per game.

Saturday’s game — scheduled for a 3 p.m. tip-off at the Morrell Gym in Brunswick — not only provides bragging rights between the two rivals, but also conference positioning. Both teams are in the middle of the pack in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. Both squads are chasing Hamilton, the top team in the NESCAC with a 14-0 record.

• • •

Thomas recently announced that golf will officially become an NCAA Division III varsity sport at the school, beginning this fall. Golf had been previously offered as a club sport since 2013.

As with all of its athletic teams, the Terriers will compete in the North Atlantic Conference. Leading the program will be Don Roberts, who is the head golf professional at Waterville Country Club. Along with his 25 years of experience, Roberts has also racked up several accolades in his career, including the 2007 Maine Professional Golf Association Teacher of the Year and the 2012 Maine PGA Golf Professional of the Year.

“I am very excited about the transition to varsity status for Thomas College and the student-athletes,” Roberts said in a press release. “Anytime we can provide more opportunities to participate in golf it’s a great thing. I am looking forward to growing the team and becoming a competitive team as soon as possible. We have a strong nucleus in place and hope to add to the team with this announcement.”

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity to our student-athletes and coaches,” Thomas director of athletics Shanda Ness said. “I am confident that under Coach Roberts’ leadership, Thomas golf will be a competitive member of the NAC.”

• • •

The University of Maine men’s and women’s ice hockey teams enjoyed a recent first.

For the first time in school history, both teams are nationally ranked. As of Sunday, the men were ranked 20th in the United State College Hockey Organization standings with a record of 11-9-2, though that may change after the Black Bears dropped back-to-back losses (both by a score of 5-3) over the weekend to No. 10 Northeastern. Sophomore forward Mitchell Fossier has been the offensive leader for UMaine, racking up 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) so far this season. Freshman Jeremy Swayman has received the bulk of the goaltending work. The Anchorage, Alaska, native owns an 8-5-1 record, with a 2.67 goals against average.

The UMaine women are enjoying great success, with a record of 15-6-3 and the No. 10 ranking in the nation. That should continue for the Black Bears after beating Merrimack 5-1 on Saturday. Sophomore forward Tereza Vanisova has racked up 37 points for the Black Bears (13 goals, 24 assists), while senior forward Brooke Stacey has added 23 points (nine goals, 14 assists). Sophomore Carly Jackson has started nearly every game at goalie, with a record of 13-5-3 and a 1.78 GAA.

• • •

Around the state: Thomas has stayed busy, hiring Rob Disch as the interim head coach for the men’s tennis team this spring. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Disch has been the head coach of the Waterville boys tennis team since 2015, and served in the same capacity at Gardiner for 17 years before moving on to Waterville. The Terriers are coming off a successful 2017 season, with a record of 11-6 and 5-1 record in NAC play. … After starting the season with an 0-6 record, the University of Southern Maine women’s basketball team has won seven of its last nine games. Freshman guard and Gorham native Kristen Curley is averaging 16.7 points per game for the Huskies. Senior forward and Mt. Blue graduate Miranda Nicely is averaging five points and five rebounds per game for USM. …The University of New England women’s basketball team is once again on a roll. The Nor’easters — who have won five consecutive Commonwealth Coast Conference championships and six in the last eight seasons — have a 10-3 record. Senior guard Sam McDonald is averaging 14.7 points per game for the Nor’easters, while senior center and Saco native Olivia Shaw is adding 13.6 points per game.

Staff writer Drew Bonifant contributed to this notebook.

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]com

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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