ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine field hockey team got off to a fast start in its mutual season-opener against former UMaine assistant Diane Madl’s Providence College Friars on a sultry Friday afternoon.
Coach Josette Babineau’s Black Bears, ranked 21st in the country in the National Field Hockey Coaches’ Association’s preseason poll, scored four times in the first 13:31 en route to an impressive 7-1 victory over the Friars.
Junior Maddy Cummings, sophomore Libby Riedl and freshman Brianna Ricker each scored a pair of goals, and Riedl and Ricker also had an assist for the Black Bears. Samantha Wagg scored the other goal.
Casey Crowley and Danielle Aviani had two assists apiece, and Ella Mosky had one.
UMaine’s Emma Cochran allowed one goal in the first half and didn’t have to make a save, and Emily Corbett had two stops in the second half.
The Black Bears outshot Providence 31-7.
Kali Kilmer scored for the Friars, and Megan Guilbert made eight saves.
“Maine has a fantastic team,” said Madl. “They play such a good attacking style. They’re solid all-around. I have the utmost respect for them and the job Josette is doing with them.”
“They’re a really good team. They’re really fast,” said Providence senior forward Kilmer. “They have really good ball speed — passing, cutting. They got behind us a lot.”
Cummings opened the scoring just 1:56 into the game when she flipped home her own rebound after Guilbert had made a nice save on her initial shot.
“We wanted to come out strong and get on the board as soon as possible and we did,” said Belfast’s Cummings, who added that the team focused on playing at a “high tempo.”
Riedl, an All-America East Rookie team pick a year ago, scored her two goals off reverse hits 57 seconds apart to make it 3-0 with Aviani passes setting up both.
She first rocketed a shot into the far corner from the right side of the circle and then sliced right to left through the circle before firing the ball past Guilbert.
“We played real well,” said Riedl. “We had good connections with everyone.”
Wagg, who was strong in the back and broke up a number of Providence attacks, made it 4-0 with a blast off a penalty corner from the top of the circle.
After Kilmer squeezed the ball through Cochran, Ricker closed out the half by deflecting Crowley’s shot past Guilbert.
“I kind of put my stick there, and it went in,” said Ricker, who just returned to the team earlier this week after practicing with the Canadian National Team.
Cummings and Ricker added second-half goals.
Ricker called her debut “pretty exciting.”
Babineau was pleased with her team’s performance.
“We talked about our decision-making inside the circle because you’re only going to get so many of those chances,” said Babineau. “Goal scoring isn’t just about putting your head down and striking the ball as hard as you can. It’s about where you are in the circle, what is around you and having the composure to be able to look at all that. That was pretty good today.”
UMaine hosts Sacred Heart (Connecticut) at 1 p.m. Sunday.