BANGOR, Maine — At this time last year, Alex Laniewski was trying to make her mark at the University of Vermont.
The former All-State soccer star at Scarborough High School was vying for playing time as a freshman and wound up appearing in 16 games.
But Laniewski didn’t feel comfortable there and her playing time was limited. And it wasn’t cheap.
Tuition, along with room and board for an out-of-state resident at UVM, is in excess of $30,000 per year.
So she transferred to Husson University where she is flourishing.
Husson’s tuition, room and board are in the $20,000 range.
Laniewski leads the Eagles in goals with eight and in game-winners with two and she shares the team lead in points with Shelby Bradford. They each have 19 points as Laniewski has three assists to go with her eight goals while Bradford has seven goals and five assists.
“It has been a good change for me,” said Laniewski. “I’m more comfortable here. This has definitely been a better setting for soccer than last year [at UVM]. The girls here all get along really well. It’s more of a team than last year. There were definitely some cliques at Vermont. They had a first-year coach [Kwame Lloyd] and he was still getting used to everything.
“Everybody here has been very welcoming,” added Laniewski, who didn’t register a point at UVM.
“She fits right in with the team. Everyone loves her. She has been a great addition to the team,” said Bradford, who transferred to Husson from the University of Maine where she spent her freshman season on the soccer team.
Laniewski, who had 52 goals and 49 assists during her four-year career at Scarborough, was offered a scholarship package by Lloyd after the season but after conferring with her parents (Jeff and Nadine) they decided “it wasn’t enough for me to stay there.
“So I decided to get in contact with coach [Keith Bosley],” said Laniewski, who had been recruited by him in high school.
She was studying physical therapy at UVM and said she knew Husson had a “great [physical therapy] program as well.”
Laniewski said the transition from Division I soccer to Division III has been smooth.
“It’s been great. We do the same kinds of fitness things here that we did at Vermont. We do more running in-season here because of the game schedule [and travel] we had at Vermont last year,” said Laniewski.
Bosley said Laniewski has introduced “a new level of speed” to his program.
“We were fast but now we’re really, really fast,” said Bosley. “When kids transfer in from DI schools like Shelby and [fellow UMaine transfer] Kylan Smith, they come with a work rate and a work ethic that is required at that level. That carries over to our whole team. We practice at a higher level and higher pace.”
Laniewski said she has been happy with her start. She began the season as a midfielder before being moved to a wing.
“Last year was a bit frustrating. I got to play in a lot of games but it was usually just at the end of the first half,” said Laniewski. “My confidence was getting lower.
“But I’m more confident now and that’s a good feeling. Soccer was fun last year but I have regained my love of the game here,” said Laniewski.
Bradford said Laniewski has given them a huge lift with her speed, athleticism and skills.
“She has been a huge addition,” said Bradford, who likes having another prolific scorer on the team.
“It’s always better to have more than one [scoring] threat so if one of us isn’t having a [good] game, the other can pick us up. If they mark one of us, the other person will be open,” said Bradford.
The Husson women, off to a 6-2 start, play Sunday afternoon at Wheaton College (7-1), ranked 13th in the nation in the latest NCAA Division III poll.