Setting the Table: Last season the Owl women's soccer team finished play with a record of 12-4 overall, 8-2 in the now defunct Sunrise Conference. That record was good enough for a 2nd place finish in both the Sunrise Conference regular season and post-season tournament. Brooke Long (Fr./Mannheim, Germany) was named the Sunrise Conference "Rookie of the year" as well as making it on the All-Conference Team. Three of her teammates also made All-Conference: Chelsea Boudreau (Sr./Wallace, NS),Desiree Smith (Jr./Rockland, ME), and goalkeeperTaylor Ussery (So./La Verne, CA).
In case you missed it: "Team Streak" has had its share of ups and downs this season. The Owls began the year with three straight wins, outscoring opponents 14-1 in that span. The start earned UMPI a ranking as high as #3 in the weekly USCAA Coaches' Poll. A 1-0 loss to UMaine Farmington on Sept. 11th however began a four game slide for the Owls where they were outscored 13-1. The ship was finally righted this past weekend when the squad took a pair of contests at SUNY-Canton, 5-1 and 2-1.
Coach Dan Williams on his team's progress thus far: "The season has gone well. We had a tough few weeks in there. We certainly played some very good teams. With that being said though, I'm proud of my girls and how they've played and how they've gone about their business. There's a lot of stuff to be positive about."
Impact players: Goal Keeper Taylor Ussery has been very solid between the pipes. The California native's best performance may have actually come in a loss to UMaine-Fort Kent when she had several spectacular saves while facing a barrage of shots from the USCAA #1 ranked Bengals. Lainey Herring (Jr./Houlton, ME), leads the team in goals with 8, whileDesiree Smith (Sr./Thomaston, ME) has contributed 6 goals and 4 assists thus far this season.
Coach Williams on who has stepped up this season: "I've been happy with how the team has gelled together. It's hard to pick out individuals. Yeah, Desiree (Smith) and Lainey (Herring) may score all the goals and get all the credit but Elizabeth (Keagan, Fr./Amherst, NS), Kellie (Peers, Jr./Caswell, ME), Kallie (Pelletier, Fr./Madawaska, ME) and Taylor (Ussery) are working just as hard too. We do have individual players that have played very, very well in certain games. But I can probably pick different individuals for each game we've played and say 'yeah she's been the star performer' but it's not always the same kid. It's been a whole collective effort."
On the horizon: This weekend (October 8th and 9th) the Owls will play their final home games of the 2011 season. On Saturday the team will face Fisher College (MA) at 11am. That will be followed by a Sunday game against SUNY-Canton, also at 11am. Sunday will be Senior Day for the Owls.
Coach Williams on looking ahead: "I'm really looking forward to the NEXT half of the season. That's where I'm going to judge our season. Now we're in the 'business end'. My realistic goal from here to the end of the season is to win every game from here on out. In my opinion they are all winnable games. If we do then I think we make it into the (USCAA) playoffs, which is where we want to be."