Unity College’s Zachary Huber (18) kicks the ball while the University of Maine at Farmington’s Tristan Price (11) turns his head during a soccer game at Prescott Field in Farmington last season. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

Blake Hart was offered the new University of Maine at Farmington’s men’s head coaching job this season, but he already knew what to expect when he accepeted the job.

Hart was was an assistant coach for four years, so he is quite familiar with the Beavers.

“(We are) predicted to finish seventh in conference,” Hart said. “However, the coaching staff and players feel like we deserve more and have a chip on our shoulders. We just need to go out and prove ourselves and make some noise.” 

Under the direction of outgoing coach Nathan Kronewetter, the Beavers finished with a 5-12 record.

Hart wants to take the Beavers a step further and build on the past season’s successes.

“Every game (we played), we were competitive in, but towards the end of the game we would get away from what we were good at and conceded late goals,” Hart said. “In preseason, we have been focusing on being in better shape and being tired before we jump into drills.

“This way we can push through and still perform for a full 90 minutes. Consistency and attacking mindset is our focus this year.” 

There are a handful of veterans who should give the Beavers a competitive edge in the North Atlantic Conference. They include: center midfielders Andrew Longhurst (Hart said: “Technical, strong, in-shape, give us stability in the middle”) and Jake Heimlich (Hart: “Technical, quick, great leader on the field with a high soccer IQ”); winger Yusuf Mohamed (Hart: “Loves to attack, good finisher”) and center back Silas Mohlar (Hart: “Gives us an aerial threat going forward, and a ball winner in the back”). 

“Our strengths are both our veterans on the team as well as a couple guys coming in,” Hart said. “We have depth and a well-balanced team that offers some big bodies in the middle, as well as guys who can attack with some speed.” 

There are several newcomers who have shown promise in the preseason, and they are: Christian Beliveau (Hart: “Fast player with high confidence, can be dangerous going forward”), striker Richard Down (Hart: “Good on the ball and very aggressive going forward”), goalie Jacob Statires (Hart: “Great communication on the field, plays good with feet”) and center midfielder Aric Belanger (Hart: “Good with feet, has good stamina and works very hard”). 

“Our weaknesses as of right now would be the time to prepare for the new season with so many fresh faces,” Hart said. “We have had a week to prepare and haven’t been able to have any scrimmages. Our new guys are working very hard, but still trying to get up to speed with the pace and physicality of college soccer.

“We have a good squad this year, but just need to treat every practice and game the same through out the season. All teams in the conference will be competitive this year. With the addition of a new SUNY school, it should shape up for a battle every single game.”

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