SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine— Five student-athletes of the Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) class of 2016-17 have found new homes in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III athletics. Hannah Fields (Shapleigh, Maine), Vanese Barnes (Jay, Maine), Hannah Heald (Union, Maine), Chase Soares (Falmouth, Mass.), and John Morgan (Sanford, Maine) will continue their playing careers and pursue bachelor degrees at the next level beginning this fall.
Hannah Fields, Colby-Sawyer College
For Fields, 2016 was a season of milestones and accolades as part of the women’s soccer team at SMCC. The center-midfielder recorded 12 goals, six assists, and a Yankee Small College Conference (YSCC) fifth-best 30 points in her sophomore campaign. Fields achieved Second Team United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) All-American status and was named to the USCAA National All-Academic Team. Fields leaves SMCC as a conference champion (2015) and as the program’s all-time record holder in goals (24) and points (57). Fields has transferred to Colby-Sawyer College to continue her education in Business Administration. The Colby-Sawyer women’s soccer team captured its fourth consecutive North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship in 2016 finishing 10-9-1 overall.
“We are excited to have Hannah joining us in the fall. I believe her experience at SMCC has added to her skill set and has set her up to be a great addition to our program.”
-- Meghan Medbery, Head Women’s Soccer Coach, Colby-Sawyer College
Vanese Barnes, St. Joseph’s College (Maine)
Barnes and the SMCC women’s basketball team achieved a program-best 24 wins last season as the sophomore co-captain made her second consecutive USCAA National Tournament appearance defeating Penn State Hazleton in the quarter-final round in March. The 5’8’’ guard played in all 29 contests for the SeaWolves leading the team in minutes and averaging 5.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Also named to the USCAA National All-Academic Team, Barnes will attend St. Joseph’s College in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree in Education. With two years of eligibility remaining, Barnes is welcomed by the Monks who were also 24-game winners and crowned Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) champions a season ago.
"We are excited to have Vanese joining our program. Her athleticism and ability to guard multiple positions will be a welcomed addition to our team. In addition, she has proven to be an outstanding student in the classroom at SMCC and will fit in nicely with our commitment to academics."
-- Mike McDevitt, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, St. Joseph’s College
Hannah Heald, University of New England
Also a co-captain in her sophomore season, Heald averaged 6.1 points and 5.3 boards spanning 17.1 minutes of work as a member of the SMCC women’s basketball team last year. The six-foot forward made back-to-back national tournament appearances in her time as a SeaWolf and will look to make an impact for the University of New England women’s basketball program that made its sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance in 2017. Coach Ewing and the Nor’easters have conquered the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) having won six championships in the last eight seasons. Heald will transfer to UNE as a Medical Biology major.
“We are very excited about Hannah joining our program at UNE. I have been aware of Hannah since her days at Medomak Valley and we are looking forward to Hannah bringing energy and experience to our team. Hannah has a very positive way about her, and her team-first attitude will be welcomed with open arms!”
-- Anthony Ewing, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, University of New England
Chase Soares, Plymouth State University
In his second stint as a member of the SMCC men’s basketball team, Soares commanded the SeaWolves’ backcourt notching 2.4 assists and 2.4 steals per game over the course of the 2016-17 season. The crafty guard helped the SeaWolves capture their first YSCC championship in eight years by earning the tournament’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player Award—recording 55 points, 13 assists, and eight steals spanning three games in three days. The sophomore earned a YSCC Second Team All-Conference selection and made a USCAA national tournament appearance in which he set a new single-game tournament record notching 14 assists against Villa Maria College. Soares will join a Plymouth State University squad that achieved a 6-8 mark in the Little East Conference (LEC) last season. With two years of eligibility to play with, Soares will pursue his bachelor’s degree in Psychology beginning in the fall.
“We are really excited to welcome Chase into our Plymouth State community this fall. He is a very talented student-athlete that is capable of changing the game at both ends of the floor. His experience playing for Coach Matt Richards and a historically strong SMCC men’s basketball program that went to the national tournament again last season means we are getting a player that has been well coached and will be well prepared to excel in our Little East Conference.”
-- Andrew Novick, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Plymouth State University
John Morgan, Thomas College
“We are very excited to have John Morgan join our Thomas College basketball team for the 2017-18 season. John is an exceptional student-athlete in the classroom and on the basketball court. John embodies the work ethic and high character we are looking for when we add new players to our team. With all the success John has earned while playing at Southern Maine Community College under Head Coach Matt Richards, John will be able to transfer in and have an immediate, positive impact on our basketball program. We graduate three seniors from our championship runner-up team (including two former SMCC players), and given John’s background and talent, he will have the opportunity to come in right away and help us win from the start.”
-- Geoff Hensley, Head Men’s Basketball Coach, Thomas College.