By Jack Holland, Staff Writer
The University Of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Men’s Lacrosse team is looking forward to proving a point by having its best season yet. In only its fifth season as a varsity sport, the men’s lacrosse team has high hopes for their season, which kicked off recently at St. Joseph’s College.
Last season, the team finished in the middle of their conference, the North Atlantic Conference (NAC). Having graduated their only senior from last year, Geoff Ballou, the Beavers will field seven seniors this season. Ballou was the first player to graduate having played four seasons for Beaver lacrosse. Amongst the seven seniors the team will field this year, a majority of those players have been with the program for four years now. “This group has been together and is ready to prove a point,” said Sean Bearce, a senior attackman on the team.
Aside from finishing in the middle of the pack last season, the team feels sour about how their conference officials think they will rank this season. “Last year we beat Thomas, and this year they are ranked higher than us in the pre-season, again it leaves us with something to prove,” said Bearce.
According to senior captain Brandon Melville, the Thomas game this year is one of the big highlights of their season. “Every year they are our rival and it is a really good game, so we are looking forward to hosting them,” said Melville. The game will be played at 4:00 PM, on April 9th, at UMF on the Prescott Fields.
While the team remains optimistic, there are still obstacles to be faced. “The biggest challenge will be the early season transition from indoor to outdoor, getting outside is always a challenge with the Maine weather, but once we can it will be great,” said Melville.
One challenge the team is hoping to use to their advantage is the fact that their schedule is front-loaded. Games against conference powerhouses like New England College and Castleton State are two that they will be glad to be done with early on. “Getting the difficult games out of the way early will be nice, that way we can finish our season strong heading into playoffs,” said Melville.
Hosting a playoff game this year is one of the team’s biggest goals. To do so, the team will have to finish in the top four in their conference. If they can beat either Maine Maritime Academy (MMA), and or Husson College, the goal will be very achievable. “Beating both MMA and Husson are reachable goals, and it would be a first in five years as a program,” said Melville.
Last season both times UMF played MMA, they were very close games, and big losses. Winning against either MMA or Husson would be a big step for the program. “ Losing to MMA twice in close games leaves us to want to beat them even more,” said Bearce.
Returning to the team after not being able to play last season for personal reasons is junior midfielder, Nate Chase. “His return will bring a big boost to our midfield,” said Melville. Aside from the return of Chase, the team will use the same three captains as last year; seniors Brandon Melville, David Granger, and Michael Foley.
At 12:00 pm on March 29th, UMF will host its first home game of the season at Castleton State. The location will be tentative due to field conditions.