By: River Plouffe Vogel, Sports Editor
Fall is upon us, classes are in full swing and USM’s 2017 academic year is well underway. For many student athletes however, their year started almost a month ago in mid-August as they returned early for preseason training. Being a student athlete is a huge commitment and USM has a long history of competitive sports programs. Here are a few facts about the USM sports programs. First and foremost, our mascot is indeed a Husky and Husky pride runs deep here at USM. As a Division 3 (D3) school, USM mainly competes against other D3 programs, with a few exceptions. USM is part of the Little East Conference (LEC), but there is certainly nothing “little” about it. The two exceptions are the men’s golf program, which is part of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC). The other is the hockey program, which competes in the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC). The LEC is one of the most competitive conferences in the country for division 3 sports, and routinely send teams deep into tournament play.
This fall there are eight USM collegiate sports teams whose seasons have already started. Starting with the women’s teams, there are currently five fall sports programs: soccer, tennis, field hockey, volleyball and cross country. The women’s soccer team is currently 1-1 overall and 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Sept. 12 at Salem State University in Massachusetts. The women’s tennis team is 1-0 overall and 0-0 in conference play, their next match is Sept. 16, against Bridgewater State. The women’s volleyball team is 3-1 overall and 0-0 in conference play. Their next match will be Sept. 12 at Bates College. The women’s field hockey team is 0-2 overall and 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Sept. 12 versus the University of Maine Farmington at home in Gorham. And finally the women’s cross country team whose first meet is this Saturday the 9th in New York.
On the men’s side there are 3 fall programs that have begun their seasons golf, soccer and cross country. The golf team placed 1st out of 3 teams in the USM invitational and 3rd out of 8 teams at the John Queenan Memorial Tournament. Their next outing is Sept. 13 at the University of Maine Farmington Invitational. The men’s soccer team is currently 2-0 overall and 0-0 in conference play. Their next game is Sept. 16 at Western Connecticut State. And Finally the men’s cross country team will start it’s season off this Saturday the 9th, at the Husson Carrier Classic in Bangor Maine.
The sights, sounds and smells of fall are often all too familiar with the start of fall sports, which many USM students played in high school, and for a variety of reasons will no longer play while in college. So how best to deal with the residual feelings, or that itch to get out and there and just play? Even though the so called “glory days” might be in the past, there are ample opportunities to stay active, healthy and engaged while on campus and around the Portland and Gorham area. Both campuses have gyms with a multitude of free student activities, from yoga or spin class to Larping and pickle ball. Each week students and community members gather to play pick-up sports and soon USM Intramurals will also be kicking off. The best way to stay involved and informed is by contacting the Portland or Gorham facilities to ask about what opportunities are available. Online resources can provide information about many of the USM activities available. As the year continues, the writing staff here at the Free Press will keep an updated account on all athletic events, both traditional and non-traditional, happening on and around campus.