University of Maine midfielder Bhreagh Kennedy goes after the ball during a March 12 game against the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Massachusetts. Kennedy, a former Skowhegan standout, is in the middle of her freshman season with the Black Bears. Photo provided by UMass Athletics/Thom Kendall

University of Maine freshman Bhreagh Kennedy is getting to work.

The Skowhegan graduate has played in four games for the UMaine field hockey team, including one start.

Kennedy, a midfielder, said she’s happy the team is having a spring season after UMaine postponed fall sports because of the coronavirus pandemic. In October, the America East Conference endorsed a plan for a spring season.

“It’s super exciting,” said Kennedy, who won the 2019 Miss Maine Field Hockey award. “I think we’re all just feeling really fortunate that we can play every week. Every practice we know that anything can happen the next day, so we’re just putting in our best effort while we can. It’s been really exciting that we’ve had the opportunity.”

The Black Bears have won four straight since starting 0-2, with victories over UMass-Lowell, the University of California, Vermont and New Hampshire. Maine out-scored its opposition 10-4 during the stretch.

Kennedy said she needed to acclimate to the speed of the college game, including playing on the artificial surface at the UMaine Field Hockey Complex.

“I think on turf, it’s so much quicker,” Kennedy said. “Your skills just have to be so much quicker. Your decision making has to be quicker as well. I think playing in club sort of prepared me for (playing on) turf, but just having to practice on the surface every single day is definitely an adjustment. It’s a good challenge, I like it.

University of Maine freshman Bhreagh Kennedy goes through a drill during a practice in Orono. Photo provided by University of Maine Athletics

“It’s definitely been a process. I’m just taking it as a process and doing the best I can each day. I know my teammates have my back. Coach (Josette) Babineau has done a great job helping me adjust playing on turf every day, rather than grass. I think my skills and my speed have gotten so much better at this level, it’s been great so far.”

The Black Bears have four games left, including at Monmouth University (West Long Branch, New Jersey) and home against Albany this weekend. Kennedy said she’ll be happy to play wherever she’s needed.

“I’m honestly up to playing any position that coach (Josette) Babineau needs me,” Kennedy said. “I’m soaking up as much experience as I can in my first year, especially with it being a spring season, I’m really fortunate that we got those games in so I can get that experience.”

 

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New University of Maine at Farmington men’s basketball coach Sam Leal hailed an abbreviated three-game season a success.

Leal, who came aboard after hall of fame coach Dick Meader retired after 27 seasons, guided the Beavers through fall practice. Although the North Atlantic Conference canceled conference basketball games, the Beavers (2-1) were able to play three games against local competition.UMF defeated Maine Maritime Academy (81-56) and the University of Southern Maine (90-64).

“I’m just so proud of our team’s sacrifices to keep us healthy and able to compete for the whole season,” Leal said. “We had zero hiccups along the way. I’m just incredibly proud of their sacrifices on that end. Secondly, the piece that gives me so much optimism for the future is how well we stayed connected and committed to each other throughout the whole season. Every day at practice was our best opportunity to get better throughout the season, because games were so limited.”

Junior center Jack Kane was one of several players who played well, averaging 17.3 points and 11 rebounds a game.

University of Maine at Farmington center Jack Kane throws down a dunk at practice at the Dearborn Gymnasium in Farmington. In three games this season, Kane averaged 17.3 points and 11 rebounds per game.

“He was tremendous,” Leal said. “Usually, 6-9 guys don’t show up to practice an hour early, but he does. It’s crazy. It’s just not what 6-9 guys typically do. He’s special on that front, because of his consistency in practice and his focus. But in terms of what he does on the court.”

Junior guard Terion Moss — the 2019-2020 NAC Player of the Year — averaged 16.7 points and nine rebounds. Leal said he was also happy with the play of junior forward Kyle Donlin, who led the team in scoring, averaging 17.7 points per game.

“I knew he was good and did all the little things, is super tough,” Leal said. “But his talent to not only score the ball, but to also create for teammates was really special. He definitely put us in a good position to win games because of how good he was.”

UMF has just one senior, Messalonskee graduate Nathan Violette. Because the NCAA granted another year of eligibility because of the pandemic, it’s possible Kane, Moss and Donlin could play two more years at UMF. The Beavers also have a talented freshmen class that includes Winslow’s Colby Pomeroy and Bonny Eagle standout Zach Maturo.

 

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Skowhegan graduate Sydney Ames is enjoying a strong start on the Husson University softball team.

Ames, a sophomore pitcher and outfielder, earned North Atlantic Conference Player of the Week honors after hitting .500 in eight games, collecting 15 hits, 5 RBIs, 8 runs scored and 3 stolen bases.

Ames also excelled in the circle, with 12 strikeouts in 26 innings. She also closed out a 5-4 victory over Saint Joseph’s College on Sunday.

She is hitting a team-best .500 and is 3-1 with a 2.96 ERA in the circle.

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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