October 27, 2012

CLASS A FIELD HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP: High-scoring Skowhegan faces Scarborough team that hasn't allowed a goal

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

It’s a matchup made for anticipation: The team that set a state record with 144 goals against a team that hasn’t allowed a goal all season.

click image to enlarge

THE BIG GAME: Sarah Finnemore, 18, and the rest of the Skowhegan field hockey team take on Scarborough today in the Class A title game.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

If that isn’t enough, Skowhegan has won 53 consecutive games and its last loss was in 2009 to Scarborough — the same team it will play at 6 tonight for the Class A state title at the University of Maine.

Skowhegan has outscored its opponents, 144-2, while the Red Storm have a 69-0 edge on their opponents. Both teams are undefeated through 17 games. Skowhegan easily surpassed the former state record of 116 goals, set by Dexter in 2003.

“They’re definitely a dynasty,” Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello said of Skowhegan, which has won 10 of the last 11 Class A state titles. “They definitely have a whole-package type of team. It’s going to be quite a challenge.”

Asked if Scarborough was also a whole-package type team, Mariello said, “Yes. Definitely.”

The Indians have six players with at least 10 goals, led by Makaela Michonski with 42. Sarah Finnemore has 29 goals and 22 assists, and coach Paula Doughty was thrilled with her play in the regional final against Messalonskee.

“I thought the Eastern Maine final, she played the best game I’ve ever seen her play,” Doughty said. “She was such a leader on the field. She’s in a really good place right now.”

Mariello alternated goalies Shannon Hicks and Carly McLellan for most of the season, but Hicks has gotten the nod lately and will start today. Mariello didn’t know how many shots the Storm have allowed — she said the only reason she knows the team hasn’t allowed a goal is because people keep reminding her — but said the play has been even in some games.

“With our league, this particular year in general has been very well-balanced,” Mariello said. “There’s more and more girls getting involved. We have had lots of challenges and I hope that helps us.”

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the only high school team in the country to go through an entire season and not allow a goal was Winslow in 1998.

Skowhegan, meanwhile, has been tested only four times — three games against Messalonskee, and a 5-0 win over Lawrence that was 1-0 at the half. Doughty believes it’s counter-productive to change plans around just for one opponent.

“I don’t know a thing about them,” she said. “People can tell us how they play, but until you play them, you don’t know. What people have said to me is they’re fast, they’re aggressive and they play good defense.”

Forward Grace Whelan, midfielder Karli-An Gilbert and sweeper Mikaela Gove are three veteran standouts for Scarborough, and forward Emily Bunting, who has a penchant for big goals, is known by her teammates as The Storm Starter.

Still, the natural question is, how will the Storm react if and when they give up their first goal of the season?

“If they score on us, I told them, ‘Be prepared for people to go completely crazy,’ ” Mariello said. “They’re prepared for that. It’s just a matter of turning that into positive energy in our direction.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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