Bates’ Meghan Lapar slams the ball down the field as Univeristy of Maine at Farmington’s Nickyia Lovely comes into the play from the right last season. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

University of Maine at Farmington coach Cynthia Pratt knows the Beavers’ field hockey team faces uncertainty with the move to the New England Collegiate Conference this season.

Pratt will be pacing the sidelines for her 16th season. The Beavers turned in a 2-12 record last season.

“We will be playing in the NECC conference, so a lot of unknowns” Pratt said. “We hope to be competitive in all conference games and and be playing our best when the postseason rolls around.

“We have a young athletic team with a lot of potential. They are eager to work hard and will continue to improve throughout the season.”

Pratt pointed out that the Beavers’ strengths are speed on the forward line and positive energy and enthusiasm to work together. UMF has several veterans who will keep the Beavers pointed in the right direction.

“Kasey Talarico, a forward (with) speed, tenacity and work ethic,” Pratt said. “Gracie Foss plays with poise and confidence and gained valuable experience as a freshman.

“Grace DiMarco, a goalkeeper, played every game as a freshman grew and improved through the season. Lydia Wasina, a defender, is a leader on the field and has a great feel for the game.”

Every coach faces each season with inexperienced athletes at the collegiate level, but three newcomers have caught Pratt’s eye.

“Olivia Kunesh is athletic and has a great feel for the game and outstanding field vision,” Pratt said. “Abby Pomerleau played at a high level at Thornton Academy and has outstanding stick skills and passing ability. Alex Bessey is an outstanding athlete and has natural ability to score.”

But Pratt has a good idea what teams will tough customers in the NECC.

“Thomas and Husson have outstanding teams, but we feel we will be right in the mix,” she said. “The top six teams make the postseason. That is our goal and anything can happen from there.”

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