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Chicks with sticks

November 1, 2017
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Chicks with sticks (Photo courtesy of Black Bear Sports)

A look at UMaine’s field hockey team 

ORONO – Do not let the skirts fool you. The University of Maine field hockey team is more than just chicks with sticks. In fact, the Black Bears finished the 2017 regular season with a 12-5 record (6-2 in America East). The team is now gearing up to enter the postseason as the second seed in America East’s East Division.

The UMaine field hockey team was founded in 1865. The Black Bears play at a Division I level.

This year, the team is being coached by Josette Babineau. This is Babineau’s 11th season as the head coach of the Black Bears. While coaching, Babineau has guided the team to eight straight America East Tournament appearances. She has also coached and mentored five All-American selections and 34 All-Conference players.

How does Babineau accomplish this success? She attributes it to her coaching philosophy.

“Field hockey is a very technical game, so it’s important to me that our players have great technical skills,” she said. “On top of that, I do not over coach and I encourage my players to be creative. We’re a very disciplined and hardworking team and that attributes to our success.”

The 19 field hockey players on the UMaine rooster follow Babineau’s coaching technique to the letter.

“I have a very good team,” said Babineau. “The players are self-motivated and always looking to do extra. Also, if you look at our statistics, the goal scoring is shared evenly among our team. We have a lot of players contributing to the success of each game.”

The players have showed their hustle and hit with their regular season record. The 2016 regular season ended similarly, with a Black Bears finish of 13-6 on the year and 6-2 in America East play. That kind of consistency is a goal that the Black Bears particularly strive for.

“One of our goals is for our team to have some consistency from season to season,” Babineau said. “Last year we had a younger team. This year we have a large junior class, which has been fun to watch because they have been learning and adapting to the central roles on the field. It’s great to see them in these central roles creating consistency and having the success that they’re having.”

In their last regular season game, the UMaine field hockey team fell to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats by a score of 2-1 on Sunday at the UMaine Field Hockey Complex. While the Black Bears lost, they still share the regular season championship of the East Division of the America East with Albany.

Albany earns the number one seed in the East Divison due to the second tiebreaker: winning percentage in conference games versus the other conference opponent in descending rank order, and since Albany went 2-0 against No. 3 seed New Hampshire this season, they take it.

If you would like to cheer on the UMaine field hockey team, the No. 25 Black Bears will face the No. 23 Pacific Tigers on Friday, Nov. 3 at 2:30 p.m. at Cushing Field at UMass Lowell in the quarterfinals. The winner will play the victor of No. 17 Stanford and UMass Lowell in the semifinal round.

For more information about the UMaine field hockey team, visit goblackbears.com.

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