January 21, 2020
Sports Column

Breton has given spark to UMaine

She is the Energizer bunny but opposing defenders probably don’t find her amusing.

Hannah Breton’s job is to come off the bench, harass them into mistakes and give her University of Maine women’s soccer team a lift.

She is absolutely fearless.

Defenders trying to clear the ball often kick it off her body.

Undaunted, she keeps attacking.

The fact the sophomore striker is playing at Maine is a credit to her determination, resiliency and athleticism.

Breton was a star athlete at Greenville High School, a Class D school with approximately 100 students. She was the Class D Player of the Year in 2005.

It is a huge jump from Class D to NCAA Division I.

She finished her career at Greenville with 110 goals. She was also a Class C track state champion in the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and a state runner-up in the long jump and pole vault.

In addition, she ran cross country, played basketball and softball and was an Alpine skier at various times in her career.

She said she didn’t give college athletics much thought entering high school until her soccer coach, Dan Menard, opened her eyes to it.

“He told me I have the mindset and athleticism [to play in college],” said Breton.

So Breton began attending the University of Maine’s summer soccer clinics, where she became acquainted with head coach Scott Atherley and assistant Jackie Gebhart.

“That gave them a chance to see me. It was the best move I’ve made,” said Breton.

It didn’t take long for Atherley and Gebhart to notice her.

“First of all, she is a tremendous athlete,” said Atherley. “She has ability you can’t teach. She’s exceptionally quick and explosive. She’s bright and she has a tremendous work rate.”

Atherley and Gebhart opened her eyes to the technical aspects of soccer.

“They’re amazing people, Their knowledge of the game is fantastic. I learned a lot there,” said Breton.

She also attended other soccer camps and she joined Black Bear United’s Under-17 club team for the prestigious Region One tournament.

“I got introduced to a completely different level of soccer. It was so helpful,” said Breton.

She never expected to play a year ago, saying “I just thought I’d use the year to get better.”

But injuries gave her an opportunity and she saw duty in nine games. She helped set up a goal against Boston University and scored her first career goal in a 2-0 win over Binghamton.

“I tried to make the best of it and I’m reaping the benefits now,” said Breton.

Atherley was thoroughly impressed by her tireless pursuit of improvement and her attitude despite the fact she wasn’t guaranteed playing time.

She has played in all 11 games this fall and has been a valuable role player.

“With some players, you’re never sure if they’re going to make a positive or negative impact on the game,” said Atherley. “With Hannah, you know she’s always going to make a positive impact. And she’ll do it with a smile on her face.

“How could you not want a Hannah Breton on your team?” posed Atherley.

Breton has yet to score this season and would love to put the ball in the back of the net.

“I just want to improve every day and learn more about the game. I’m going to work hard for the team and try to help us go as far as we can,” said Breton, who feels she is more useful coming off the bench than starting.

“I feel I can add a spark and put fear in [defenders] by going hard [at them],” said Breton.

Just like an annoying bunny.



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