The Husson University football team’s three non-conference games will open their 2010 schedule and all three will be the Winkin Complex in Bangor.
Two of the three teams will be on their schedule for the first time: Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio and Salisbury University in Salisbury, Md.
Husson will open with Otterbein on Sept. 3 at 7 before hosting Springfield College (Mass.) on Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. and Salisbury University on Sept. 18 at noon.
The rest of the schedule is comprised of its seven Eastern Collegiate Football Conference games.
Otterbein has gone 17-4 over the last two seasons and two of those losses came at the hands of Mount Union College, which has won six NCAA Division III Tournament championships over the past 10 years. Mount Union was 14-1 last season and lost to Wisconsin-Whitewater 38-28 in the NCAA title game.
Otterbein, which went 8-2 last fall, and Mount Union are both in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Springfield College went 8-2, including a 39-14 win over Husson. The Pride beat Plymouth State 42-13 in the ECAC Northeast Championship game.
Husson beat Springfield 39-21 two years ago.
Salisbury was 5-6 but has made three NCAA Division III Tournament appearances over the last eight seasons.
“It’s a good schedule. It’s a tough schedule,” said Husson coach Niles Nelson, who will begin his second year at the helm in the fall. “All three have good football programs.
“But the only way to get better is by playing good teams,” said Nelson.
Two of Husson’s nonconference opponents in recent years have been Division II teams Merrimack (23-0 loss last fall) and American International (35-7 loss two years ago). Nelson said he anticipates Otterbein and Salisbury being better than Merrimack and AIC.
Husson’s ECFC home games will be against Gallaudet (Oct. 2), Castleton State (Oct. 23) and Mount Ida (Oct. 30). The Gallaudet contest will be their Homecoming game.
The Eagles’ ECFC road games will be at SUNY-Maritime (Sept. 25), Anna Maria (Oct. 9), Norwich (Oct. 16) and Becker (Nov. 6).
The Eagles went 4-5 last fall, 3-3 in the conference, and Nelson said next fall’s team will be “young in the offensive and defensive lines. But we’ve got some good players coming back [in other areas].”
Husson is in the midst of its spring football sessions and will conclude with a flag football game on May 8 at 10 a.m. That will be followed by a barbecue for the players, coaches and fans.
Nelson will be hiring three coaches as defensive coordinator Duncan Averill, running backs coach Walter Polky and linebackers coach Bruno Dorismond have left.
The remaining assistants are offensive line coach Shawn Demaray, receivers coach Tom Whitney and defensive line coach Greg Marter.
EM players shining at Bates
The Bates College baseball team is within one win of tying the school record for wins after sweeping the University of Maine-Presque Isle on Wednesday.
The Bobcats are now 16-8 with 12 games remaining.
The previous high was attained in 1986 when the Bobcats went 17-9.
Two Eastern Maine players are playing prominent roles in their success.
Junior catcher Gordy Webb, who starred at Bangor High, is hitting .382 with a homer and 18 RBIs while junior second baseman Noah Burke from Appleton and Camden Hills High School is hitting .364 with a homer and 17 RBIs. Webb has five doubles and two triples, and Burke has nine doubles.
Both have committed just one error.
“They have really turned it on for us,” said Bates coach Edwin Thompson. “As the weather has gotten warmer, they’ve gotten warmer. They have been catalysts for us.”
Webb got off to a slow start but has 16 hits and nine RBIs in his last 37 at-bats.
“It takes me time to get going,” said Webb. “I always start slow. I’m been getting my timing down finally and I’m coming through. And this isn’t a bad time for it to come. It’s the clutch time of the season.”
Burke said he has concentrated on using all fields instead of just pulling the ball.
“I’m doing a better job staying back on the ball. I’ve always been able to pull the ball real well but I’ve been trying to stay back and punch the ball into right field more. I’m not taking as big a swing and hitting the ball up the middle more.”
Both have been pleased with the team’s success.
“We’ve got a great team and a great group of guys. We’re all real close and that has really helped,” said Burke. “Our junior class is our solid class. We’ve all been here since we were freshmen. And everyone is hitting the ball.”
“We want to win 20 games. That’s our goal,” said Webb. “Eight out of nine starters are juniors and sophomores so we should be strong again next year. Last year was a building year. Now we all know what we need to do. We all feel comfortable.”
Landry is nation’s top scorer
The Husson University lacrosse program is gaining some national notice in terms of production this season.
Attacker Ben Landry, a sophomore from Lewiston, leads the nation among men’s NCAA Division III players in goals scored with 60 through Wednesday.
“We’re real proud of him, obviously. He’s our team leader and we feed off him,” said Husson men’s lacrosse coach Jeremy Mattoon. “He’s got a lacrosse body with powerful lower body, he’s a heck of a shooter, he goes very hard to the goal, and he’s a lefty.”
The next closest player on the goals list, Brad Levick of Elmira College, is 18 behind Landry.
The Husson men are currently 8-6 and will host a first round North Atlantic Conference playoff game.
“It’s a little bit unbelievable. We’re a second-year program with 28 freshmen and sophomores,” Mattoon said of the team’s success after going 4-9 last year. “We’re very proud, but we also know we’re very young and we need to keep working hard to build on the success we’re having.
“We’ve won four straight and feel pretty good, but we could still have our season over in nine days if we lay on egg.”
The Husson women’s team is also young but has improved by leaps and bounds this year. The latest evidence of that is its current status as the leader among NCAA Division III teams in scoring defense and ground balls per game with 5.9 goals allowed per game and 40.9 ground balls per game, respectively.
Junior Caitlyn Butterfield of Gorham is ranked No. 3 nationally with 64 ground balls for her top-seeded Eagles, who are 8-1-1 overall and hosting the NAC tournament Saturday and Sunday.