GORHAM, Maine – Freshmen Olivia Brown (Palmyra, Maine/Nokomis), Julia Nicol (August, Maine/Cony) and Hayden Spencer (Sabattus, Maine/Oak Hill), sophomore Maggie Redman (Alfred, Maine/Massabesic), and seniors Lindsay Jackson (Readfield, Maine/Maranacook) and Tayla Smedberg (Oxford, Maine/Oxford Hills) of the University of Southern Maine Huskies' field hockey team have earned a spot on the 2017 ZAG Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches' Association (NFHCA) Division III National Academic Squad.
The NFHCA's National Academic Squad recognized student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative grade point average 3.30 or higher through the first semester of the 2017-2018 academic year. As freshman Brown, Nicol and Spencer are first year recipients, while Redman is earning the distinction for the second time in as many eligible seasons. Demonstrating above-average academic excellence throughout their time as Southern Maine student-athletes, both Smedberg and Jackson are four-year recipients of the accolade.
"I am proud of the academic accomplishments of each of these six student-athletes, but I am exceptionally proud of Lindsay and Tayla's sustained level of academic achievement" said veteran head coach Bonny Brown-Denico. "Lindsay and Tayla have been exemplary student-athletes in all senses of the word. As nursing majors, they take their academics very seriously and have balanced the rigors of the major and the time commitments of intercollegiate athletics very well – perhaps using their time on the field as a way to release stress. Their ability to balance both aspects, including the lengthy study sessions, clinical work, and early morning practices and road trips, has paid off for both of them. They both have bright futures ahead of them and they should take great pride in their achievements."
Brown, Nicol and Spencer were each regular contributors to the Huskies' lineup in their first season in Gorham. Brown played in all 19 of USM's games registering three goals, while Spencer logged action in 17 games. Nicol quickly earned a spot in the Huskies' starting lineup at defense playing and starting all 19 contests. Brown and Nicol are both Health Science majors, while Spencer has not yet declared an academic major.
A 2016-2017 William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete and a 2017 Little East Conference Fall All-Academic team selection, Redman has had two successful seasons as one of the Huskies' midfielders. This fall, Redman started in each of the 16 games she appeared in, notching a pair of game-winning goals against Little East Conference opponents. Redman delivered the deciding goal in the Huskies' 1-0 win over Eastern Connecticut (Sept. 16) and 2-1 win over UMass Dartmouth (Sept. 30). For her career, Redman has played in 37 contests making 37 starts. She has two goals and one assist for five points, and one defensive save. She has not declared an academic major.
A three-time William B. Wise Scholar Athlete (2014-2015, 2015-2016, 2016-2017) William B. Wise Scholar-Athlete, Jackson is earning her fourth NFHCA All-Academic Squad honor. In 2015, Jackson was one of a select few student-athletes to the NFHCA Athlete of Distinction titles after earning a 4.0 GPA in the first semester of the 2015-2016 academic year. Starting in 18 of 19 games in her final season, Jackson scored three game-winning goals this season in wins over Manhattanville (Sept. 10), Salem State (Sept. 19) and Framingham State (Oct. 14). In four seasons at Southern Maine, Jackson played in 80 games, starting 22. She has 13 goals and one assist for 27 points, including six game-winning goals.
A 2016 All-Little East Conference third team selection, Smedberg, one of the Huskies' co-captains, is a three-time William B. Wise Scholar Athlete and All-LEC Academic team honoree. Playing in 83 games and starting in 65 over four seasons, Smedberg has 21 goals and eight assists in her career for 50 points, including six game-winning goals.