Lizzy Gruber is a freshman on the Saint Joseph’s University women’s basketball team this season. Gruber has appeared in four games for the Hawks. Photo by Ryan Samson/Saint Joseph’s University

Lizzy Gruber is trying to be a sponge, on and off the court.

“I’m trying to soak everything in,” she said. “Being a Division I athlete, it’s a big change. It’s just so much different than what I’m used to.”

The 6-foot-4 Gruber, a 2023 Gardiner Area High School graduate, is a freshman on the Saint Joseph’s University (Philadelphia) women’s basketball team. The Hawks (6-0) compete in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Gruber, who has appeared in four games, scored her first collegiate basket in a 71-46 win over Bucknell on Tuesday.

“Lizzy has been a great addition to the team,” Hawks coach Cindy Griffin said. “She brings a lot of energy to practice every day. You can see in every practice she’s getting better and better, and understanding what we’re trying to do. This is a big jump for her, from high school to college.”

“It’s been a smooth transition,” added Gruber prior to the game against Bucknell. “It couldn’t be going any smoother. I’m playing against girls in practice every day who have so much more experience than me, which makes it easy to learn. Every role on the team is important, and right now I’m definitely a freshman. I’m just showing up every day and doing what I need to do.”


Power forward Talya Brugler (a 6-1 junior) averages a team-high 16.2 points a game while 6-2 sophomore Laura Ziegler averages 14.3. Ziegler, a Denmark native, is also averaging 11.8 rebounds a game.

“I’m playing behind two post players who have tons of experience,” Gruber said. “I’m learning as much as I can from them. Right now, I’m just working on everything as it’s important to be ready when your name is called.”

Griffin said the transition from high school to collegiate athletics presents an array of challenges. 

“There’s a big physicality piece,” she said. “Lizzy just turned 19 and she’s playing against 23- and 24-year-old players because of the COVID year. That’s a challenge.”

So, too, is defending the 3-point shot, something Gruber didn’t have to do much of in high school. 

“She will have to defend the three at this level,” Griffin said. “She can do it, but that’s an adjustment. She hasn’t had to do it so that’s a change. … We are six games in and she hasn’t gotten a whole lot of time, based on who is ahead of her. There is a place for Lizzy, She’s earning more minutes every day and the plan for her is to develop. When her number is called, she needs to be ready. She approaches that as a challenge.”


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Four games into the season and the Colby men’s hockey team (2-1-1) is still trying to sort out its lines and special teams groups.

“We are still in the forming stage,” said coach Blaise MacDonald. “Last year we had a lot of veterans returning so we we were up and running really early. This year we have an influx of new players, so it’s going to take a little time to find how they are best integrated.”

Colby forward Jayden Grier has two goals in his first four games with the Mules. Grier is the son of San Jose Sharks General Manager Mike Grier. Photo by Jamie Fiedorek/Colby Athletics.

A few newcomers have started strong, including 6-3 forward Jayden Grier and fellow forward Bobby Landry. Grier’s father, Mike, played 14 seasons in the National Hockey League and is now the general manager of the San Jose Sharks.

Jayden Grier, of Needham, Massachusetts, has two goals in the early going.


“He has played very, very well,” MacDonald said. “He has had a ton of opportunities and is a top plus-minus guy.”

Colby will entertain rival Bowdoin (3-1-0) at 7 p.m., Saturday. Tickets were still available for the showdown as of Wednesday.

“It’s such a big game, with a great crowd, and an over 200-year legacy,” MacDonald said. “It’s special to be a part of it every year. Both teams are very good, very competitive. I am expecting a really entertaining game.”


• • •



The Thomas College women’s basketball team wrapped up a tough nonconference slate with a 66-58 setback to Lasell University (Auburndale, Massachusetts) on Monday night.

The Terriers (2-5) have dropped four straight games, including three by 10 or fewer points.

“We challenged ourselves with a tough out-of-conference schedule,” said second-year coach Jason Coleman, whose team also has played Babson, Colby and New England College. “We lost three two-possession games, close games. I am happy with where we’re at. We’ve been down some players, too, and Monday night we dressed the majority of them, which was nice.”

Lizzy Gruber waits to check into a game for the Saint Joseph’s University women’s basketball team earlier this season. Photo by Brandon Cornelius/BCTV

Emily Parent, a Messalonskee graduate, is averaging a team-best 25.4 minutes a game. Parent, who graduated from Colby-Sawyer (New London, New Hamsphire), had a year of eligibility remaining because of a lost season during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s a different year for me,” she said. “I’m getting my master’s at Thomas, so it’s obviously a different experience. I definitely know a lot about the sport, how play will unfold and what to do. A lot of people on our team don’t have a lot of college experience.

“She wanted to come back home and use her last year of eligibility here,” Coleman added. “It’s worked out well. She’s started every game for us so far, and it’s nice to have her experience. She’s a very high IQ player who helps in a lot of ways that don’t show up on the stat sheet.”


The 22-year-old Parent, a shooting guard, is averaging 8 points and 2.3 rebounds a game.

The Terriers open North Atlantic Conference play on Dec. 5 at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

“We’re striving to be more consistent,” Parent said. “There’s a few teams in the NAC that are very good, and they’ll be a challenge for us. But we can play with good teams. We can compete with anyone in the conference.”


* * *

The UMaine-Augusta women’s basketball team (2-2) is looking to bounce back after consecutive losses.


After starting 2-0, the Moose dropped a 66-59 game to UMaine-Presque Isle on Nov. 21, and a tough 70-69 loss to rival Central Maine Community College on Tuesday night in Augusta.

“We’re (four) games in and still trying to figure things out a little bit as we go,” UMA head coach Heath Cowan said. “Including (Tuesday night’s) game, we’ve started with four of our toughest games right off the bat. I think we’ve passed a few tests, have done some things really well. We’ve done some things not really well. To have some good opponents right off the bat helps you take some stock in what you have and kind of go from there.”

Lizzy Gruber works through a drill during a Saint Joseph’s University women’s basketball practice this season. Photo by Brandon Cornelius/BCTV

UMA has seven freshmen, including three players (Alicen Higgens, Elizabeth Crommet and Brianna Poulin) who helped Lawrence win the Class A title last season.  The Moose also have former Cony High standout Sage Fortin and Monmouth Academy graduate Holly Hunt on the roster. Poulin has already made an impact, averaging 13 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“We have a lot of nice, young talent, and they’re all starting to fit in and kind of find their roles,” Cowan said. “Hopefully, it will only get better from here.”

The Moose will play Vermont State University Randolph on Saturday, followed up by a game against Paul Smith College on Sunday. Both games will be played at CMCC in Auburn.



• • •


Odds and ends: Sophomore Luke Briggs leads the Southern Maine Community College men’s basketball team in scoring, averaging 13.6 points. The Cony graduate has started all seven games for the Seawolves (5-2). SMCC freshman Adam Savage, a Skowhegan graduate, is averaging 9.1 points and 8.7 rebounds a game. … The Colby men’s basketball team will head to Waltham, Massachusetts, this weekend to compete in the UAA Challenge. The Mules (4-2) will play No. 19 Emory University (4-1) on Friday night at 7 and then Brandeis on Saturday at 1 p.m. … University of Maine-Farmington freshman Brock Flagg was named the NAC men’s basketball rookie of the week last week. Flagg, a Brewer High graduate, scored 18 points in an 82-74 loss to St. Joseph’s College of Standish. … The UMaine women’s basketball team will play No. 17 Indiana (5-1) at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland on Thursday night at 7. Skowhegan native Jaycie Christopher is averaging 2 points in 14.7 minutes a game for the Black Bears (4-3). Gorham native Mackenzie Holmes is averaging 17.8 points a game for the Hoosiers.


Staff writer Dave Dyer contributed to this report.

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