Just like that, 2018 is in the books. It was a year to write home about for the majority of New England sports fans. I personally was hoping for a lot more from the Cubs, but there is always next year, right.
Obviously, the Red Sox winning the World Series has to be one of the top highlights, but there were also many highlights at the University of Maine.
In chronological order, what a thrill it was to watch the University of Maine women’s basketball team win the America East Championship in a game played at the Cross Center. Coach Amy Vachon did an amazing job with a fairly young team. The experience that they got playing on the national stage against #2 Texas in the NCAA tournament was invaluable.
I totally agree with the hiring of Richard Barron to lead the men’s basketball program. Despite the rough start to the season, I am still looking forward to the future of the program. I think that Kevin Reed was an excellent hire as an assistant coach.
Don’t forget about the women’s ice hockey team. The team defeated Boston University in the Hockey East quarterfinals and earned a spot in the Hockey East semifinals, where they lost to eventual champion Northeastern. It was the first time in history that the Black Bears had won a quarterfinal series.
The field hockey team started the season 8-0 with wins over #19 Boston University and #24 The Ohio State University. The Black Bears were nationally ranked the majority of the season, before falling to Albany in the America East title game.
The exciting fall continued as football took us all on a ride that we won’t soon forget. Anyone who follows the program knew that the season was off to a special start with a 35-7 win over seventh-ranked and arch-rival New Hampshire. The Brice-Cowell Musket currently resides in Orono and that was just the first of several trophies that the Black Bears earned during the season.
After winning the CAA title, Maine earned a first-round bye in the NCAA’s. It then beat Jacksonville State at home by a resounding score of 55-27. Maine then headed to #3 Weber State where it won 23-18, to earn another west coast trip. The season ended in a semifinal loss to #4 Eastern Washington, but what an amazing run for the team.
In the midst, most Maine fans realized that the team was being coached by one of the best young coaches in the country in Joe Harasymiak. Shortly after the season ended, it came as no surprise to anyone when Harasymiak took his talents elsewhere and joined the Minnesota staff. I’m excited about the direction of the program and think that Nick Charlton is a great hire. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the program.
There have certainly been some great moments in 2018. Here’s to hoping that there are many more in 2019.