Monday, December 9, 2013
By Matt DiFilippo email@example.com
It’s been a typical season for Skowhegan field hockey. The Indians are undefeated through 12 games and have outscored their opponents, 99-1. Yet coach Paula Doughty insists her team has come a long, long way since April.
WEEKLY HONOR ROLL
• Emily Hogan had four goals as Messalonskee defeated Cony.
• Erskine’s Audrey Jordan scored three times in a win over Maranacook.
• Kayla Braley of Nokomis scored in overtime as the Warriors defeated Winslow in a matchup of unbeaten teams.
• Maine Central Institute’s Katie Hughes made a defensive save in a 1-0 win over Camden Hills.
• Renee Wright scored five goals for Skowhegan in a pair of wins against Lawrence and Mt. Blue.
“I think people think we’re pulling their leg, but last spring, we just weren’t putting it together,” Doughty said. “These kids have probably worked harder than any team I’ve had in a long time. The coaches have, too. We haven’t peaked yet. I think we’re still getting better.”
Part of the reason Skowhegan has remained on top of Eastern A is the play of junior Tori Mullin and seniors Alanna Wacome and Heather and Holly Lupo. None got much varsity playing time last year, and all have been primarily JV players in the past.
“A lot of kids will play JVs a year and quit, but they hung in there,” Doughty said. “I’m just so proud of them, especially those three seniors. I think it’s a really positive thing for all young athletes to see.”
Skowhegan’s two most recent games were against Lawrence and Mt. Blue. The two remaining opponents are Cony and Messalonskee. Then comes the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship or runner-up game. That means Skowhegan’s final five games before the playoffs are all against playoff-quality teams, and Doughty is thrilled with that.
“In fact, we talked about it in practice the other day, what a good thing it was,” she said. “The KVAC, we’ll play Winslow or Nokomis, and that in itself will be terrific. They’re both competitive teams, and we haven’t seen them. Cony’s going to be a good game (Thursday). I’m really happy about the end of the season.”
• • •
The KVAC championship and runner-up games are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17 at Thomas College, with a rain date of Oct. 18. The champions and runners-up will be determined by final Heal points.
The games will follow the format introduced last year, in which the top teams in KVAC A and KVAC B will play each other at 6:30 p.m., and the second-place teams for KVAC A and B will face off at 5.
Although Winslow is in Eastern C for playoff purposes, the Black Raiders play a KVAC B schedule and are thus still eligible for next Thursday’s games. Winslow is second to Nokomis for Heal points among KVAC B teams, while Skowhegan and Messalonskee are 1-2 in KVAC A.
• • •
When Mt. View held off Belfast 1-0 on Tuesday, Reanna Boulay scored the game-winning goal and Dinah Bilodeau had a shutout in the cage. Boulay and Bilodeau are both stories themselves this season.
Mt. View coach Gloria Hewett is in her seventh season with the Mustangs, and said she has never coached a player who has scored more than 13 goals in one season. Boulay, a freshman, is at 12 goals through 12 games this season.
Bilodeau, meanwhile, is in her first season as a goalie, and has held the starting job this fall. Mt. View needed another goalie, which is how Bilodeau took up that position.
“She volunteered,” Hewett recalled, “but it wasn’t like, ‘Oh boy! I can’t wait to be goalie!’ It was, ‘OK ... I’ll do it if no one else will.’ Now she owns the position.”
Bilodeau and her defense have given up a total of seven goals over the last 10 games, and Mt. View is now 8-4-0.
The Mustangs have started slowly in a couple of their losses, most notably against Gardiner and Winslow. Hewett said she has changed the Mustangs’ warm-up procedures in hopes of getting the team pumped up right at game time.
Still, 8-4-0 is far from shabby, especially for a team that returned only four starters and is playing a brand-new goalie, with a freshman as its leading scorer. One thing that sticks out to Hewett is that even when things aren’t going well on the field, there’s none of the snapping at each other that you see on some other teams.
“I think one thing we’re doing better and better is we’re playing more as a team,” Hewett said. “I lost seven starters last year, so it takes time for players to trust each other.”