Auburn, ME - For the ten year anniversary of the Women's Soccer program at Central Maine, the Mustangs once again made some big strides forward as they continued their quest to become a top contender in the Yankee Small College Conference. On September 7th they played the first women's soccer game on the brand new Mustang Turf Athletic Complex, a conference matchup against Vermont Technical College that saw the Mustangs post a 4-0 victory before a large home crowd.
An expanded coaching staff to assist Mustangs Head Coach Rob Rodriguez included second year assistant Scott Leighton, former YSCC All-Conference selection, Megan Duval, and goal keeper coach Butch Dow. For the second year in a row, the Mustangs returned 10 players to a 19 player roster. Third year players included goalkeeper Ali Sult (Lisbon, ME), midfielder Tabie Tlumac (Readfield, ME) and defender Stephanie Jones (Westport Island, ME). They were joined by returning 2018 YSCC All-Conference selection Samantha Belardo (Russell, MA), goalkeeper Skyler Henry (Waterford, CT), forward Rachel Dunn (Marshfield, MA), forward Deliah Schreiber (Lisbon, ME), midfielders Katelynn Greene (Poland, ME) and Aimee Horne (Brunswick, ME), and defender Thea Quick (Buckfield, ME).
The Mustangs added nine freshmen to their lineup, most of whom were versatile enough to play a variety of positions including, Cassi Smeltzer (Waldoboro, ME), Taylor Henry (Rumford, ME), Leya Harvey (Poland, ME), Jade Sturtevant (Litchfield, ME) Bradie Reynolds (Farmington, ME), Olivia Vachon (Poland, ME), Lauren Clough (Mt Vernon, ME), Samantha Moody (Winthrop, ME) and Sadie Bourget (Augusta, ME).
Their 13-game regular season schedule was an increase over 2018 and they added a preseason exhibition game against NCAA Div III North Atlantic Conference finalist Thomas College and a mid-season exhibition against the UMaine Orono Women's Club team. The non-conference portion of their schedule was intentionally much more difficult than in previous years with the addition of a second game against NJCAA Div I CCRI, HVIAC Champion Albany College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and the #1 USCAA Division I team in the nation, Bryant & Stratton-Syracuse.
The Mustangs conference record of 2 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie was good enough for a fourth place finish in the Yankee Small College Conference, the second year in a row finishing in 4th place (out of 7 teams). The expanded playoff format for 2019 saw the first ever home playoff game for women's soccer, a 6-1 preliminary round victory over Vermont Tech that sent the Mustangs to the YSCC semi-final for the second year in a row against undefeated top seed NHTI.
Central Maine was well-prepared for the Lynx attack and they shocked the conference with a 1-0 win over NHTI putting them in the YSCC Championship game for the first time in program history. The matchup in the YSCC Final against rival Southern Maine Community College was a good one and although the Mustangs lost 1-0, they just barely fell short of sending the game into overtime in the final minutes.
A 6-9-1 overall record and a spot in the conference championship gave the Mustangs a season to remember and a solid foundation to build on for 2020. During the Final Four weekend, Samantha Belardo once again earned a spot on the All-Conference team and freshman defender Jade Sturtevant was named Defensive Player of the Tournament following the championship game. Two weeks later, both Belardo and Sturtevant became the first Mustangs women's soccer players in the history of the program to earn USCAA All-American honors.
The players and coaching staff would like to thank all of the CM teams for their support at home games throughout the year and for the large contingent of parents who followed the team to their away games.