The Maine Black Bears women’s soccer team’s season came to an end just one game too early this year. Maine fell to the Hartford Hawks on the road 1-0 in the America East semi-final game.
Though the Black Bears didn’t achieve their ultimate goal of winning the America East championship, they did improve greatly from last season and have built a new culture for the future of their program.
The Black Bears ended the season at 9-8-2 overall and 4-3-1 in the America East competition, finishing third in the conference standings. Head Coach Scott Atherley was pleased with the overall performance of his team this season, even with the disheartening end result.
“Our team was relatively consistent throughout the season. We didn’t concede many goals and we found a way to more than double our scoring output from a year ago. On most days, the quality of our possession was good and we were in position to win virtually every game,” Atherley said.
Maine can take plenty of positives with them from this winning season into next year. The seniors did a great job leading by example and guiding younger players to success. Their impact in terms of leadership and team chemistry will greatly benefit the program’s future.
“The seniors were instrumental in providing positive leadership for a relatively young team. Their ability to mentor and guide our new players helped us realize the best in our first-year players. The seniors’ ability to serve as positive role models will pay dividends for our team moving forward,” Atherley said.
Fourth-year star forward Charlene Achille had a phenomenal career as a Black Bear and left it all on the field in her final season. Achille ended her career on a great note, leading the Black Bears in scoring with seven goals and two assists.
“My favorite part about this season was the connection I had with my teammates. In my four years, this year was definitely the best. We just understood each other, fought for one another, and I’ll definitely miss being part of that family. Also, beating UNH in penalty kicks at home in the quarter-final was one of the best moments of the season,” Achille said.
Maine is returning several key components next season. Third-year goalie Claudia Dube-Trempe will be back for her senior season, looking to help the Black Bears go the distance in next year’s conference tournament. The Black Bears will also await the return of one of the team’s most talented all-around players from this season, first-year forward Vivien Beil.
Beil had a spectacular freshman year campaign, finishing second in scoring with three goals and five assists. Beil’s fellow first-year classmate, Mikayla Morin, will be back as well to help anchor the defense, as she did so well this season. Morin started every game as a first-year player and will look to be a key contributor next season with the loss of fourth-year defensive partner Noelle Leon-Palmer.
With the influx of talented returning players and potential contributions from incoming recruits, the future looks promising for the Black Bears. If they can take the next step offensively and come out on top in close contests, Maine will be a force to be reckoned with next season.