From Hilltoppers to Huskies: 50 Years of Women in Sport at University of Southern Maine

From Hilltoppers to Huskies: 50 Years of Women in Sport at University of Southern Maine

With a longstanding tradition of women’s athletics, some of the earliest incarnations of the University of Southern Maine supported women in sport. Starting with interclass basketball in 1918 and culminating with the official creation of women’s intercollegiate athletics in 1967, for 50 years, USM, and its predecessor schools, have supported women’s participation in athletics.

 In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics, the Huskies’ Department of Athletics will highlight some of its top student-athletes, coaches and administrators, past and present.  In addition to the varied profiles, the USM Department of Athletics hosted a celebration of its 50 Years of Women’s Intercollegiate Athletics on Saturday, February 4 to coincide with the women’s basketball and ice hockey games at the Costello Sports Complex.  During both the women’s ice hockey and basketball games, special presentations were made at intermission featuring prominent alumnae student-athletes including basketball All-American and all-time leading scorer Maureen Burchill; four-time women’s ice hockey captain and recent Husky Hall of Fame inductee Breanne Fortiguerra Sanderson; Dr. Paula Hodgdon, the matriarch of USM women’s athletics, USM President Dr. Glenn Cummings and many more.  

Following the games, USM hosted a special event at Spire 29 in Gorham for current student-athletes, coaches, former coaches and alumnae. 

USM Athletics will be hosting a second event this spring to commemorate the opening of its newly designed softball stadium on April 29.  Events around the grand opening of the state of the art field are being planned and more information will be forthcoming.  USM softball alumnae will be invited to partake in the day's events. 

Presenting sponsor: University Credit Union

Articles Written by Christina Cracolici, Assistant Director of Athletic Media Relations 

Release One: From Hilltoppers to Huskies - The Creation of Women's Athletics at USM

Release Two: From Hilltoppers to Huskies - Paula Hodgdon, The Matriach of Huskies' women's athletics and key figures in field hockey and women's soccer

Release Three: From Hilltoppers to Huskies - Competition, Championships and Service to the Community: women's tennis, women's cross country, and volleyball

Release Four: From Hilltoppers to Huskies - Doc Costello, Gary Fifield and USM Women's Basketball

Release Five: From Hilltoppers to Huskies - USM Women's Track and Field Teams' Sustained Success

50 Years of Women's Athletics YouTube Video Featuring Paula Hodgdon & Al Bean

From Hilltoppers to Huskies: 50 Years of Women’s Athletics at Southern Maine

Schedule of Events | February 4, 2017 | Costello Sports Complex | Gorham, Maine

12:00 p.m.

Gates Open For Spectators

  • Get your Husky Throwback T-Shirt & Other USM Athletics Gear 

12:55 p.m.

National Anthem performed by Gracie Gillen:

  • Daughter of USM women’s basketball alumna Trudi Nelson Gillen 

1:00 p.m.

Huskies’ Men’s Basketball vs. Keene State College


1:30 p.m.

Husky Half-Court Heave

  • Sign Up at the Entrance for a Chance at Great Prizes

2:30 p.m.

Stop by the University Credit Union Table

  • University Credit Union (UCU) is the Presenting Sponsor of USM’s 50th Anniversary of Women’s Sports

2:30 – 5:00 p.m.

50 Years of Women’s Sports Gathering:  Alumni Reception Center

Food by Sodexo | Cash bar available | Memorabilia and photo display


2:55 p.m.

National Anthem by USM Alumnae Ginger Leigh Smith


3:00 p.m.

Huskies’ Women’s Basketball vs. Keene State College


3:30 p.m.

On-The-Court Presentation | Fifield Court



  • President Glenn Cummings
  • Maureen Burchill Cooper, USM women’s basketball alumnae, WBCA All-American and the all-time leading scorer in school history
  • Student-Speaker: Mary Caron, Softball, Biology Major, Masters of Public Health




3:55 p.m.

National Anthem by Katie Oberholtzer, USM School of Music


4:00 p.m.

Huskies’ Women’s Ice Hockey vs. Franklin Pierce


4:15 p.m.

Alumni Reception Center Speakers


  • University Credit Union – Stephanie Beck, Marketing Manager
  • Paula Hodgdon, Hall of Fame Coach, Administrator
  • Gary Fifield, Retired USM women’s basketball coach
  • Peyton Dostie, Husky alumnae: NCAA Track & Field National Champion; Two-Time LEC Field Hockey Player of the Year




5:15 p.m.

On-The-Ice Presentation | USM Ice Arena


  • President Glenn Cummings
  • Breanne Fortiguerra Sanderson, Four-time USM Women’s Ice Hockey Captain, Husky Hall of Fame Inductee
  • Student-Speaker: Leanne Reichert, Field Hockey, Biology Major




6:00 p.m.

Spire 29 Celebration

(USM Alumnae & Athletics Representatives Invitation Only)



Enjoy food from local Gorham restaurants, music by USM’s School of Music Jazz Combo, and a cash bar




6:45 p.m.

50 Years of Women’s Athletics Program and Celebration


  • USM Director of Athletics Al Bean
  • Nancy Griffin: USM Vice President for Enrollment Management & Campus Life | Former Husky student-athlete
  • Dr. Paula Hodgdon, USM Hall of Fame Coach & Administrator
  • Donna McGibney, alumna & former field hockey, basketball, lacrosse and volleyball player for Dr. Paula Hodgdon 1969-1972
  • Student Speaker, Lauren Lessard, Lacrosse, Exercise Science major
  • Student Speaker, Mo Raymond, Volleyball, Nursing major











Thank You to All of Our Sponsors:

UCU,  Gorham House of Pizza, Moody’s Collision Centers, Yankee Ford, Sodexo, Maine Credit Union League, Coastal Women’s Healthcare, Hussey Seating, Saco Bay Physical Therapy


University Credit Union is the presenting sponsor for USM's 50th Anniversary of Women's Athletics