FARMINGTON, Maine -- No. 3 University of Maine at Farmington is slated to host No. 6 New England College in the North Atlantic Conference Men's Soccer Quarterfinals Sunday at 2 p.m.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Jon Evan, the Beavers (8-7) finished 6-3 in the NAC, while conference newcomer New England College (7-8-3) went 3-3-3 in NAC play.
"I think the boys are confident and, most importantly at this time of the year, we're playing on both sides of the ball," said Evan. "We've got a healthy group.
The Beavers are led offensively by Jordan Hale with nine goals and five assists followed by Jake Constantine (Woodland, N.J.) with three goals and two assists, Mike Kelly (Norton, Mass.) and Luiz Ristow (Joinville, Brazil) with three goals and an assist apiece and Sean Raph (Waterville, Maine) with three goals.
Tennessee Peters (Scarborough, Maine) and Derek Reilly (Hollis, N.H.) have been sharing netminding duties for the Beavers. Peters has eight starts under his belt with a 1.37 goals-against average, while Reilly has made seven starts with 1.27 GAA. Nick Grim (Ipswich, Mass.) and Dan Horne (Bay Shore, N.Y.) have spearheaded the UMF defense.
"Our defense is playing well with some senior leadership out of Dan Horne," said Evan. "Sean Raph, senior playing on the left side, has really done a great job. He doesn't want to be done playing. He wants to keep his career going. We're getting great effort from the seniors and young guys contributing. That's kind of the magic ingredient right now."
Hale scored twice as the Beavers notched a 2-0 NAC win over New England College on Oct. 2 in Henniker, N.H. Peters made 10 saves in the win. Robert Millard stopped eight shots for the Pilgrims, who held a 17-16 edge in shots.
"It's a tough opponent," said Evan of NEC. "They play a very committed attacking style. They get numbers forward. They've got a terrific goalkeeper that made life tough for us on the other side of the ball. They're going to be a challenge; no question about that."
Aaron Kolb paces the Pilgrims with eight goals and three helpers, while Sean Walsh has supplied five goals and Zak Harris two goals and a team-best four assists.
Millard has posted a 1.22 GAA in 14 games in goal for NEC.
"They're a well-coached team, well-organized," said Evan. "Dave's (Dave DeCew) a good coach and they've got a terrific goalkeeper. We have to be sharp with our finishing and keep them from committing the numbers forward."