Taylor Boucher has been the victim of athletic misfortune on a couple of occasions.
She tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one knee during her junior season of basketball at Fort Kent High School, recovered for her senior year of soccer and basketball only to suffer a similar injury in the other knee while playing softball for the Warriors last spring.
But Boucher once again showed her mental and physical toughness and bounced back, and will be rewarded by playing in her first college basketball game for the University of Maine-Fort Kent this weekend when the Bengals host UMaine-Augusta.
UMFK coach Lucas Levesque is hoping Boucher’s presence provides a spark for his Bengals, who have already lost guard Morgan Chasse of Veazie for the season with a torn hip labrum.
“Taylor’s a little more vocal on the court and I think with that energy it’s going to be contagious,” he said. “For a freshman, I think she’s not a kid that’s going to be shy.”
Timidness isn’t something that is associated with Boucher’s personality, and even though the road back was going to be a tough one — as the college game is much different than that of high school — Boucher accepted the challenge.
“I thought it was going to be easier but it wasn’t, I had to work harder,” she said. “(It’s a) whole new level of the game, it’s not the same at all, so I had to work 10 times harder.”
Boucher injured her right ACL while rounding second base playing softball for Fort Kent last spring, and while she did intend on playing college soccer, Boucher had plenty of time to rehab for basketball.
“The second one (was) going into the summer so I didn’t have any sports to play,” said Boucher, who underwent surgery in Portland last spring.
Like Boucher did when she injured her left ACL as a junior, she went to County Physical Therapy in Fort Kent and endured six months of rehabilitation under the direction of Matt Michaud and Mark Rossignol, a brother of Van Buren girls basketball coach Matt Rossignol.
Boucher’s playing time will be somewhat limited as she works her way back into game shape.
“This weekend she’s not going to play any more than three minutes at a time,” said Levesque.
Listed at 5-foot-7, Boucher can play both guard and forward, and has been working on her outside shooting.
“My rebounding, my post game that came easy to me in high school, it wont come easy to me now,” she said. “In high school I didn’t really need to shoot the outside shot.”
Boucher admits she has some catching up to do in practice.
“I just started practicing with the team so I’m behind, even though I was present for every practice,” said Boucher.
Since Boucher recovered from a similar injury and led Fort Kent’s girls soccer team to the Eastern Maine Class C championship game and the basketball team to another tournament appearance as a senior, her desire and competitiveness never waned.
“I think that’s a key piece for all athletes and a great trait to have,” said Levesque. “I think that desire to get herself back to 100 percent or as close to it as possible and to be able to get back out there and compete is the driving force for her.”
Levesque also believes Boucher can be an impact player for the Bengals if she stays healthy.
“She brings a different (type of) energy about her. Sometimes off the court she’s a jokester, a great teammate, then on the court she’s going to bring us a little bit of that competitiveness,” he said.
Levesque compared Boucher to Rachele Burns, the former Gorham High standout who endured knee problems later in her high school career but is now playing at the University of Maine after three surgeries.
MMA’s Bower named All-American
Jim Bower of Maine Maritime Academy in Castine was among the most dominating running backs in the country during 2010.
His accomplishments have been recognized with his inclusion on the American Football Coaches Association Division III Coaches’ All-America Team. Bower earned the honor for the second straight season.
Bower joins Kirk Mathieu of Fairfield as MMA’s only two-time football All-Americans.
The senior from South Paris was again the focal point of the Mariners’ triple-option offense. The 5-foot-9, 225-pound fullback led NCAA Division III running backs while averaging 174.2 yards per game this fall.
Bower ranked No. 3 in the country in scoring, averaging 12 points per game, while helping spearhead coach Chris McKenney’s MMA squad to its third straight New England Football Conference Bogan Division championship.
The Mariners finished as the NEFC runners-up and advanced to the ECAC North Central Bowl Championship, where they lost 66-41 to Western New England.
Bower netted 7.8 yards per carry and piled up 20 touchdowns on his way to 1,916 yards this season. That established an MMA single-season record and his 77 career touchdowns also are a school career standard.
Bower’s other honors this season include being named the NEFC Bogan Division Offensive Player of the Year and a New England Football Writers Division II-III all-star.
UMFK soccer teams honored by NSCAA
The men’s and women’s soccer teams at UMFK have been recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for their academic performance.
UMFK was among 133 schools to have both programs honored for academic excellence.
Senior Andre Anderson was named an NSCAA and NAIA All-American, while senior Luka Odak and junior Keith Williams were named NSCAA-NAIA All-East Region choices.
On the women’s team, senior Shanae Armstrong, junior Whitney Sinclair and sophomore Theresa Biggs garnered NSCAA-NAIA All-East Region honors.
Men’s coach Bill Ashby and women’s coach Lucas Levesque were named the NSCAA-NAIA East Regional Coaches of the Year.