At the University of Maine, fall sports teams have been practicing for a few weeks. At most Division III schools, athletes are well into workouts for the upcoming season. But at schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, the fall season is still a week away.

At Colby, for example, football practices will begin Monday morning. Soccer, field hockey and cross country teams must wait until Aug. 29 to begin practices. For Colby’s soccer and field hockey teams, that makes the preseason a seven-day sprint to the season openers on Sept. 5. The Colby men’s and women’s soccer teams open the season that day against crosstown rival Thomas College, while the field hockey team hosts Husson.

“They’ll have a head start, having played a few games and had a few more practices,” Colby men’s soccer coach Ewan Seabrook said of Thomas. “That’s the way it is.”

Seabrook said when his players arrive Tuesday to move into the dorms, they’ll arrive in shape and ready to go. The Mules are allowed one assimilation practice Wednesday, before two-a-day practices in the days that follow.

The biggest challenge with a shorter preseason window, Seabrook said, is building on-the-field relationships, between the goalkeeper and the defenders and the defenders and the midfielders, for example. Getting newcomers and younger players up to speed in a short time also is a priority.

“It’s a fun challenge for a coach and older players,” Seabrook said.

Seabrook has nine first-year players from around the country entering his program. Newcomers’ hometowns include Houston; Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia; and Miami, Seabrook said.

“It’s really an eclectic group. I think every one of them will be physically ready to compete. That’s always the question with first years,” Seabrook said.

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Thomas fall teams are already preparing for the upcoming season on the practice field. The men’s soccer team opens the season Aug. 31 against Coast Guard in the University of Southern Maine’s Husky Challenge. The Terriers women’s soccer team will open the season the same day against Morrisville State in the Husky Challenge.

Thomas field hockey opens the season Aug. 31 at home against USM.

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Former Lawrence High School standout Spencer Carey joined the football coaching staff at Maine Maritime Academy. Carey completed a five-year career playing at the University of Maine last fall.

Carey will work with the Mariners’ outside linebackers.

Carey played safety and linebacker with the Black Bears, seeing action in nine games last season. He made eight tackles with one interception. After redshirting the 2013 season, Carey had 31 tackles over his career.

Maine Maritime opens the season Sept. 1 at home against SUNY-Maritime.

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Eastern Collegiate Football Conference coaches expect Husson to win the league for the third consecutive year. The Eagles received six of seven first place votes in the conference’s annual preseason coaches poll this week. SUNY-Maritime received the other first place vote.

Husson went 10-2 last season and reached the second round of the NCAA Division III playoffs. The Eagles have dominated the ECFC over the last four seasons, going 27-1 with three conference championships. Husson carries a 15-game conference win streak into the season.

This will be Husson’s final season in the ECFC. Next year, the Eagles will join the Commonwealth Coast Conference, which includes the University of New England, which begins its first varsity season next week when it plays at Coast Guard.

Husson opens the season on Sept. 1 at Union College.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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