Last season, the Polar Bears won the NESCAC championship and posted a 19-1 record; the lone loss accrued during the NCAA Final Four against NESCAC foe Middlebury.
After beating Middlebury once in the regular season and again in the NESCAC championship, the 3-0 season–ending defeat was shocking.
“After the last game of the season that is all you think about and it takes you awhile to step back and reflect on the season as a whole,” Head Coach Nicky Pearson said. “I really hope the players did that and realized it was a fantastic season.”
The Polar Bears graduated five seniors last year who alone scored 34 of the teams’ 61 goals.
“Our immediate concern is replacing that offense,” said Pearson.
Among possible new offensive contributors are the six first years who will join the roster this year.
Though Pearson has not yet determined the starting lineup, she believes each first year is capable of playing an important role on the team.
Because of the Polar Bears’ 19-1 record last year, it is hard to hold this year’s team to that same standard. Despite this pressure, Pearson plans to focus on the future.
“We are a team that tends to not look too far ahead and we only work on things we have control over,” she said
Rather than dwell on last season’s accomplishments, Pearson hopes to build this new team around the Polar Bears’ speed and athleticism.
“Our goal is to value each possession and take advantage of opportunities we create,” she added.
Last weekend, the Polar Bears traveled to Lewiston to scrimmage in-state rivals Bates and Colby.
“Our spacing was good, we moved the ball well, and we created some good opportunities,” said Pearson.
With another week of practices before the season opener against Wesleyan, Pearson hopes to make defensive improvements.
“We are going to focus on keeping constant pressure on our opponents, our one-on-one defense, keeping our defensive shape and converting some of those offensive opportunities we create,” Pearson said.
Although the Polar Bears defeated the Cardinals 1-0 last year, Pearson insists her team must treat every opponent as a serious competitor in order to be the most successful.
“Every NESCAC game is worth one point… we try to maintain consistent expectation and effort irrespective of who we play,” she said.