The University of Maine women’s soccer team (2-2-1) brought home back-to-back triumphs in the last week, beating Bryant University 4-2 and Harvard University 1-0.
After traveling on Sunday, Sept. 2 to Smithfield, Rhode Island, the Black Bears leapt into the lead within the first 30 seconds of the game. Julia Mahoney, a first-year student from Quebec, and Emilie Andersen, a junior from Oppegaard, Norway,worked together to rocket the ball past the Bryant defense at the 19-second mark of the game. Andersen scored the goal. So far, this has been the fastest goal of the 2018 season.
The second goal was placed by Birte Speck, a first-year student from Germany, at the 29-minute mark.
Mahoney, who was named the America East Rookie of the Week, brought her own goal in at 32:41, taking the Black Bears to a 3-1 lead into the half.
Beate Naglestad, also a third-year student from Oppergaard, brought in UMaine’s final goal through a corner kick, leading the Black Bears to their first victory of the season.
Kora Kukk, a forward on the UMaine team, and a second-year student from Connecticut, is hopeful about the team’s outlook for the season.
In response to being asked if she thought that the Black Bears had a chance at being a contender this coming season, she said, “I think we’re definitely a contender, absolutely. We know how each other work, and our chemistry improves with each and every practice and game.”
This outlook has so far proven itself, as the Black Bears brought home another victory on Wednesday, Sept 5.
Another away game, this time in Cambridge, Massachusetts against Harvard, didn’t have the high points or fast pace that Sunday’s game did, but was a triumph nevertheless. Emma Donovan, a freshman from Quebec, brought in the only point late during the first half at 33:35. The goal initially was saved by the Harvard keeper, Kat Hess, but was scored by corralling the rebound.
The Harvard Crimson had a very good chance at a comeback with four consecutive corner kicks during the first half, but the Black Bears’ teamwork paid off and they were able to maintain their 1-0 lead.
The Harvard team gained control of the field during most of the second half, but UMaine’s defense held strong. Annalena Kriebisch, a sophomore from Germany, made three saves in goal, and held off the Harvard Crimson.
Elaborating on the life of a student athlete who is constantly traveling, second year forward Kora Kukk had the following to say in an interview.
“Being a student athlete is completely different from being a normal student…we’re busy or tired,” Kukk said. “We’re always out in the community helping out, doing volunteer work during the offseason. The team comes out in force at events on campus whenever possible.”
With the strain of student life and a dedication to the team, the women work double-duty most of their waking hours. However, the commitment to student community helps to strengthen the athlete’s relationships in the classroom and serves them well.
“Missing class is stressful, and it’s a huge adjustment. It’s incredibly helpful when there are people in the class, especially other athletes, as we help each other out with notes and homework,” Kukk said about how she manages her academic life as well as her athletic life.
The Maine team will be competing in their first home game on Sept. 9, defending home turf against Siena College, in hopes of maintaining their undefeated record.