FORT KENT, Me (WAGM) - The USCAA National Soccer Tournament begins this week in Virginia Beach. The University of Maine Fort Kent men's and women's soccer teams are both looking to pick up national titles again. Rene Cloukey has more.
The University of Maine Fort Kent soccer teams wrapped up undefeated seasons and are now focused on the big prize. The men are looking to claim their second straight title.
(Bill Ashby)::Right from the final game last year this group was focused on getting back to the National Championship and defending the title. All through the winter and spring and this summer they trained; We came into the fall just where we picked up last year. This team is very determined and they put in a lot of work and effort and we are looking forward to defending the title."
Ashby returned the majority of the team from last years team. He says that the team has a nice mix of veterans and younger players and several have made major contributions.
Ashby: "We had different goal scorers in different games. We won pretty and we won ugly. We had come from behind wins and it has been a group that got it done this year."
The UMFK women's team is looking for a fourth straight National title. The Bengal also head into the playoffs as the top seed and are undefeated.
Coach Lucas Levesque says the team is ready to defend.
(Lucas Levesque):"Right now things are good. Our confidence level is up and we are healthy. We battled some bumps and bruises, but I think right now we are as healthy as we have every been and we are just excited."
The Bengals lost over half their starting lineup to gradaution, but they still are a force to be reckoned with.
Levesque:"We had some new faces that contributed this year. We graduated six starters last year,but we have seven seniors starters on this years squad. A big veteran presence and they know what they need to do."
This year there has been a format change from single elimination to pool play.
Ashby:"We get two games in our poool and the winner moves onto the final four. We are looking forward to that format also. We will play our first two matches back to back hopefully win our pool get a day off and then advance hopefully into the finals. "
The Bengals will begin pool play on Thursday. Reporting from Virginia Beach Virginia I'm Rene Cloukey NewsSource Sports