Hollis’ Sweeney among local athletes standing out at school

Heading into his junior year, Nashua’s Dan Auger was expecting big things from his University of New England men’s lacrosse team. With the conference schedule just getting underway, fulfillment of his expectations may be just around the corner.

Despite a 7-6 loss to Wheaton College in their season opener, the Nor’easters started the season strong – following up with a pair of wins over New England College, 16-7, and Plymouth State University, 9-5.

Auger finished the three-game stretch with three goals and four assists.

"I’m pretty excited about what this season offers," the 5-foot-7, 150-pound captain said. "This team is made up of the most talent in a long while. We have all the tools to earn a tournament berth."

Auger added three goals and three assists in the next three-game span. Unfortunately, the Nor’easters were 0-3 in that stretch, falling 19-4 to nationally-ranked Bates College, 17-9 at Colby College and 18-13 to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They bounced right back with a pair of wins last week, including an 11-2 victory over Ferrum College in Philadelphia on March 19. Auger scored one goal and assisted on three more in that win, while helping on four goals in UNE’s 10-3 nonconference win over Saint Joseph’s College of Portland, Maine.

With those wins, the Nor’easters returned to the .500 mark at 4-4 heading into the second half of the regular season, leading off with Saturday’s home game against Southern Maine (4-0) at noon in Biddeford, Maine.

"We just have to play up to the level that we’re capable of, and not to the level of our opponents," said the 2013 Nashua South graduate, who is a Dean’s List student majoring in medical biology (pre-med) and interning at Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute. "We can do that if we hold each other responsible. I may be a captain, but we’re all leaders on this team. We take the field together and will only succeed in our goals if we’re all on the same page."

Those goals? Finishing in the top three of the Commonwealth Coast Conference heading into the conference tourney on April 30, with a final goal of qualifying for the NCAA tournament.

The Nor’easters currently sit in sixth out of nine schools with the CCC schedule just getting underway.

"We’ve always looked up to teams like Endicott and Western New England," Auger said. "We’re hoping to reach their level. I think we can if we put everything together."

UNE’s last nine games will determine that, and Auger will play a key role in the outcome.

MUSCO EARNS NAC HONOR

Colby-Sawyer junior Jackson Musco of Litchfield is the North Atlantic Conference Baseball Player of the Week.

Musco led the Chargers with 11 hits in 22 at-bats for a .500 batting average in a 3-3 week. The junior hit safely in five of the team’s six games and recorded three hits in two separate games.

Musco knocked in a team-best six RBIs, scored a team-high seven runs and went 7-for-7 in stolen bases. He slugged .636 and led the team with 14 total bases.

He began the week with a 3-for-4 effort with three RBIs in a 14-8 loss to Indiana-South Bend and followed with a 3-for-5 performance with two RBIs, two doubles and two runs in an 11-6 win over Gallaudet. He went on to steal at least one base in the team’s next four games, including four in a doubleheader with MCLA and three in a twin bill with Springfield.

The Chargers are slated to resume action this Saturday at noon with a doubleheader at Lasell in Auburndale, Mass.

SWEENEY COMES UP BIG

Stonehill College, ranked ninth in the March 14 Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Division II poll, used a seven-point performance from Caitlin Sweeney to claim a 14-7 victory over Franklin Pierce University in Northeast-10 Conference women’s lacrosse over the weekend.

The senior from Hollis scored five goals and recorded two assists, while also contributing two caused turnovers, in her first game of the season.

Stonehill (2-1, 1-0 NE-10) is back in action at 7 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts top-ranked Adelphi University for an NE-10 contest at W.B. Mason Stadium.

The College Journal is a regular feature in The Telegraph. If you know of a college athlete from Greater Nashua that should be recognized, email sports@nashuatelegraph.com.