November 1, 2013

HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY: These finalists are no surprise

Skowhegan, Nokomis among teams playing for state titles

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

There are no Cinderellas in today’s field hockey state finals at Yarmouth High School — only perennially sensational programs. Of the 18 state championships decided since 2007, the teams playing today have won 12 of them.

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Original: Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans Skowhegan Area High School's Lauren LeBlanc, 5, shoots on goal against Nokomis High School in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference field hockey championships at Thomas College on Thursday. Published: TAKETHESHOT:Skowhegan Area High School’s Lauren LeBlanc, left, takes a shot on goal against Nokomis in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference field hockey championships at Thomas College on Thursday. Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

State championships

Class A: Skowhegan vs. Scarborough, noon

Class C: Foxcroft Academy vs. North Yarmouth Academy, 2 p.m.

Class B: Nokomis vs. York, 4 p.m.

All games at Yarmouth High School

Skowhegan, of course, has won five Gold Balls in the last six years. The other year? It was Scarborough, the team the Indians are facing today. York has won eight regional titles over the last 10 years. North Yarmouth Academy has won three state titles over the past five seasons.

Skowhegan (17-0-0), winners of 75 straight games, takes on Scarborough (16-0-1) in the Class A state final at noon. The Class C game between Foxcroft (16-0-1) and North Yarmouth Academy (14-2-1) follows at 2 p.m., and the Class B game between Nokomis (17-0-0) and York (17-0-0) is scheduled for a 4 p.m.,start.

This is the fourth time since 2008 that Skowhegan and Scarborough are meeting for the Class A state title. The 2008 game, which Skowhegan won in overtime, was a classic. In 2009, the Red Storm returned the favor with a 2-1 overtime victory. Last year, Skowhegan came in with a state record for goals, and Scarborough came in not having allowed a goal all season. The Indians won that one, 3-0.

Despite all the history between the teams, Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said she doesn’t have a detailed scouting report on the Red Storm, and isn’t particularly longing to have one, either.

“I usually don’t spend a whole lot of time doing that,” Doughty said. “We play our game. I think that can be a real disadvantage when you try to figure out what people will do, because they don’t always do what you think they’re going to.”

In the Eastern A regional, center midfielder Allison Lancaster scored the winning goal on a penalty stroke as Skowhegan beat Messalonskee 1-0. The Indians had to shift things around in the second half of that game because midfielder Logan LeBlanc was ill, but Doughty said LeBlanc is feeling better now. The Indians have outscored their opponents, 124-2, this fall, with Lancaster, Rylie Blanchet, Renee Wright and Brooke Michonski doing much of the scoring.

Scarborough has outscored its opponents 88-7 this season, including a 6-3 victory over Massabesic in the Western A final. Like Skowhegan, the Red Storm had to prove their resilience a few times. Scarborough twice overcame 1-0 deficits to win 2-1, and their 4-0 win over Bonny Eagle was scoreless at the half. Abby Walker, Kristen Murray, Maggie Carbin and Maddy Dobecki are Scarborough’s top scorers.

York is playing in its eighth state championship game in 10 years. The Wildcats are 1-6 in state finals over that time frame. York has allowed only two goals this season, while the Wildcats have scored 78. Taylor Simpson, Sarah Panteleos and Lily Posternak lead the offense, while Kathleen Cronin and goalie Livy Golini are defensive standouts.

“We’ve got a good balance of youth and experience,” York coach Barb Marois said. “We’ve got a group of girls that really just love to play the game together.”

York has overpowered many of its opponents, most notably in a 6-0 victory over Spruce Mountain in the Western B final. York and Nokomis have both played Leavitt. The Wildcats defeated Leavitt 2-1 on penalty corners in the semifinals, while Nokomis pulled away late for a 4-1 victory over the Hornets in the regular season.

Nokomis defeated Camden Hills 2-1 in overtime in the quarterfinals before stopping Belfast, 4-0, and Old Town, 1-0.

“Through the playoffs, I feel like we’ve been playing really well,” Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said. “Our intensity has been up, our passing. I think our defense has been pretty outstanding the last few games.”

The turf at Yarmouth is the same style as the turf at Hampden — the site of the Eastern finals — and the Warriors have shown they can play well on the fake stuff. Nokomis has six seniors who lead the way, but younger players like Kirsten Costedio, Meaghan Lovley, Mikayla Charters, Kamryn Foss and Libby Dunivan all made contributions against Old Town.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243mdifilippo@centralmaine.comTwitter: @Matt_DiFilippo
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