SMCC primed for special fall season
The fall sports season is well underway at Southern Maine Community College and the Seawolves are looking good.
Baseball won two of its first three games, bouncing back from a 6-3 loss to Bridgton Academy with a doubleheader sweep of rival Central Maine CC (10-1 and 15-0).
Second-year coach Jared Lemieux is relying on top returning pitchers Dan French and Corey Mongiat, shortstop Ethan Bilderback, centerfielder Alex Brown and catcher Jon Daniszewski.
Then there's a bevy of newcomers, including South Portland's Brendan Horton (an outfielder) and pitchers Tim Andersen, Dylan Morrow and Deion Stewart. Pitchers Nathan Boyle, Anthony Campagnoli, Ian MacFawn and Ryan Riordan will do double duty, also playing the field. Catcher Pat Emanuelson and first baseman Rob Hamilton are others to watch.
Lemieux expects Bridgton, Eastern Maine CC and New Hampshire Technical Institute to be the Seawolves' top competition, but he expects his squad to be in the mix.
"Our goal is to win our conference tournament again, make it to nationals and to win there," Lemieux said.
Softball (which won the conference title a year ago, finishing 9-15 overall and 9-6 in the YSCC) was scheduled to open last weekend versus CMCC, but the games were postponed. SMCC will begin Saturday with a round robin versus NHTI and the University of New Hampshire's club team.
Second-year coach Emily Leverone feels this year's team will be led by four key returners. First, there's sophomore pitcher/third baseman Lindsey Howell, who played at Bonny Eagle. She hit .500 a year ago and went 7-9 on the hill. Sophomore Charlotte Lewis will also pitch and play shortstop. She was the winning pitcher in last year's conference title game. Junior co-captain Kathryn Gilio is a top fielder at first base and can hit as well (.362 a year ago). Sophomore co-captain Roberta Trafton, a catcher and outfielder, hit .424 last season and had a .981 fielding percentage.
Three newcomers, Amber Jones, Zoey Proctor and Lindsey St. Claire, add depth, power and fielding acumen.
SMCC will have to fight its way past CMCC, EMCC and NHTI, but can't be ruled out when the games matter most.
"We hope to improve each and every day and win a conference championship," Leverone said.
The men's soccer team had four games under its belt at press time, beating Dean College for the first time in nine years (2-1, in overtime) and EMCC (4-2) and losing to Bridgton Academy (4-2) and Hampshire College (3-2).
Ninth-year coach Brian Dougher has a nice mix of veterans and newcomers this fall. Sophomore captain Michael Curtis returns at center back. He barely took a minute off as a freshman. He'll held anchor the defense, along with captain Jacob Smith, who will also see time at midfield. Captain Zach Napsey is at outside back and Kyle Stiefken will help pace the offense.
Three newcomers, Colin Lush, a center-mid, Nickarter Nugent, who can play anywhere on the field but will largely be used on defense, and Nicholas Oram, a forward, help the cause. Then, there's freshman goalkeeper Josh McDuffie of South Portland, who merely earned Goalie of the Week honors to start the year.
CMCC, Dean College and U. Maine-Machias stand in the way, but SMCC expects to give the opposition fits.
"This will be another unique season," said Dougher. "We only return six players, so it will be a fresh look. It's always our goal to be a dominating program in the conference and compete for a championship. I'm sure we'll have success in the regular season and look forward to extending well into November."
On the women's side, SMCC lost its opener to Dean College, 1-0, in overtime, then settled for a 1-1 draw versus Hampshire College.
Third-year coach Adam Perron has some pieces to put into place as the Seawolves don't have a lot of returners. One of note who is back is Michela Desjardins, the team's leading scorer a season ago. Desjardins was named a USCAA All-American honorable mention, was second in the conference in goals and points and was in the top 10 in the USCAA in goals and points even after missing three games to injury. Also back are Ali Waterman, an all-conference sweeper, and Shannon Blanchard, a defender.
Newcomers include Emma Bonneville (midfield), Courtney Bonsant (defense), Zyrah Giustra (midfield) and Sydney Proctor (a transfer from U. Maine-Fort Kent's championship program).
Unity and U. Maine-Machias are top foes. SMCC is looking for big things in the weeks to come.
"We've had success against the smaller colleges in our conference, but my personal goal is to beat the four-year schools like Machias and Unity," said Perron. "We know we can compete. Competing is one thing, but the next step is getting a 'W.' I look forward to this challenge."
The golf season is also underway. The squad is led by a first-year coach, Dennis Leaver, who inherits a lot of talent.
Sean Doran and Chris Pierce are top returners. Freshmen Reid Allen, Samantha Futch, Matt Kimball and Thomas White are also in the mix.
The Seawolves have their sights set on a strong performance at the YSCC championship match Oct. 12.
"We should be a contender this year," Leaver said. "The mission is for the team to be competitive on the course and build individual character that can be seen off the course. It's important to recognize that golf has the ability to teach life's lessons on and off the course."