University of Maine-Fort Kent junior striker Andre Anderson is a marked man.
The problem is nobody can mark him.
The three-time Sunrise Conference Offensive Player of the Year has racked up 68 goals and 39 assists in 60 games and he hopes to keep adding to that total beginning Saturday when the Bengals host the Indiana Institute of Technology at 11 a.m. in the first round of the NAIA Tournament.
The winner will go to Fresno, Calif.
Despite being slowed by a hip flexor injury, Anderson has still scored 15 goals and assisted on five others in 16 games for the 19-0-1 Bengals.
“It has been a good season. I had a very bad injury but I’m back to full fitness now,” said dynamic speedster Anderson.
He led the nation in scoring as a freshman with 27 goals and 15 assists and was an honorable mention All-American. He had 26 & 19 last season and was a second team All-American, becoming the first UMFK athlete to be named a first- or second- team NAIA All-American.
UMFK coach Bill Ashby said the 5-foot-5 Anderson spent a lot of time lifting weights and that has improved his game.
“He has gained five or six pounds and he’s solid. Guys bounce off him now. He’s able to hold the ball [longer] and bounce off people and keep going. He’s also smarter,” Ashby said.
“It has helped me keep the ball and support my teammates even better. I’m quicker [in addition to being stronger],” said Anderson. “Ten of us came back to school mid-summer and worked out and it has given us more confidence.”
He is used to having a defender assigned to mark him but it doesn’t bother him.
“I like tough games. It brings out the best in you,” said Anderson.
Anderson’s likes his team’s chances to go further than a year ago when the Bengals won a pair of games in the NAIA Tournament only to be ousted by Rio Grande College (Ohio) 4-0 in the Elite Eight.
He said Ashby’s decision to experiment with players in different positions in order to develop depth and versatility was a smart one.
“If someone gets injured, there won’t be a problem replacing them,” said Anderson. “I think we’ve got a really good chance to get to the finals and win it.”
Anderson is one of three Bengals with 15 goals. Keith Williams II and Jermaine West are the others. Luka Odak is second in the nation with 15 assists. He also has four goals. Emlyn Jacoby has 4 & 12.
Goalkeeper Giovanni Sinclair’s 0.28 goals-against average is second best in the country.
The Bengals lead the nation in a variety of team categories including goals (89), shots per game (29.2) and shutouts (14) but they will be challenged by an 11-6-3 Indiana Tech team that has allowed just one goal in its last five games while going 3-0-2.
Mike Lewis (8 & 7), Joel Putek (7 & 3) and Nick Abdoo (5 & 0) lead the Warriors in scoring. Josh Verhulst has a 1.32 goals-against average and a .726 save percentage.