October 28, 2012

CLASS A FIELD HOCKEY STATE CHAMPIONSHIP: Skowhegan shines

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

ORONO -- Skowhegan was so good, the Indians kept the game from living up to its hype.

click image to enlarge

STATE CHAMP: The Skowhegan Area High School field hockey team poses for pictures after winning the Class A state championship with a 3-0 win over Scarborough on Saturday in Orono.

Photo by Michael C. York

click image to enlarge

Skowhegan High School field hockey player Brooke Michonski (8) fires a shot over Scarborough goalie Shannon Hicks in the firts period of their State Class A Championship game in Orono, Maine, Saturday, Oct.27, 2012.

The Indians, who have a state-record 147 goals this fall, faced Scarborough, a team that hadn't allowed a goal all season. Skowhegan completely dominated after the first 15 minutes. Sarah Finnemore scored two goals, Makaela Michonski had one and the Indians took home a 3-0 victory in the Class A field hockey state title game at Morse Field at Alfond Stadium on Saturday evening.

Skowhegan (18-0-0) has now won 54 games and three state titles in a row. The Indians' last loss was to Scarborough in the 2009 state final. Skowhegan outscored its opponents, 147-2 this season.

"I think it was very pleasing for Sarah and Michonski," Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said. "Sarah and Michonski were the only two kids on the team that lost to Scarborough.

"The other kids, they knew about it, but they didn't feel the pain. Sarah and Michonski really felt the pain, and I think they really motivated and willed their teammates through this game."

Skowhegan finished the game with 25 shots and 13 penalty corners. Scarborough did not have a shot or a corner in the game.

"They're strong," Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello said. "They're definitely the powerhouse that they claim. They have some real talented players and the really solid ones definitely stepped up in this game."

Scarborough (17-1-0) was attempting to become the second team in United States high school field hockey history to go through a season without allowing a goal (The first and only was Winslow, in 1998). That didn't seem to bother the Indians.

"We really just figured that as long as we kept shooting on cage, that eventually we'd get one in," Finnemore said. "I wouldn't say we were overly confident, but we just figured we'd play our game and not really worry too much about the stats, and focus on the game that we play."

But in the first 30 minutes, Skowhegan had chance after chance yet no goals. The Indians had five penalty corners in the final six minutes of the half and went into halftime with advantages of 12-0 in shots and 7-0 in corners, but a 0-0 tie on the scoreboard.

"My kids were frustrated at halftime," Doughty said. "They just wanted to come out strong the second half."

About three minutes into the second half, the Indians earned a penalty corner. The passes went from Michonski to Allison Lancaster to Mikayla Toth to Finnemore, who cashed in an open shot from the left side to make it 1-0 with 26:43 left.

"After the first goal, you could tell it was a change in the game," Michonski said. "They must have been disappointed. We were disappointed when we had our first goal scored against us."

Less than two minutes later, Skowhegan scored again on a corner. This time, Michonski inserted the ball to Lancaster, who fed Finnemore for another open shot on the left side. This one went off Scarborough goalie Shannon Hicks and into the cage to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

"In the Messalonskee game (in the Eastern A final) we had 11 corners and we didn't score on any," Doughty said. "What we worked on all week was changing up some of our corners to get some shots off. We used Mikayla Toth, who we hadn't been using all year. That worked well for us."

"Thank God we had Sarah," Michonski said. "Sarah was a really good leader this year. She picked our team up and as soon as she started scoring, we all knew it was going to be OK and we were going to do this."

Skowhegan quickly got its third corner of the half and made it 3-for-3. Finnemore's shot was deflected in by Michonski on the left post and Skowhegan had three goals in 2 minutes, 31 seconds for a 3-0 lead.

"They were just beautiful goals," Mariello said. "They would have scored on D-I (college) goalies. That's how beautifully executed those were."

The Indians continued to command the game and Finnemore had a beautiful goal (off her own steal in the circle) waved off when the officials ruled the shot was too high.

As a capper to the season and the state title, Michonski's goal was the 110th of her career, which would break the previous state record of 109 set by Dexter's Megan Fogarty.

Michonski had five goals in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game. There is no consensus on whether those goals count in official state records, but Doughty was clear she felt Michonski should be recognized as the record-holder.

"I worked hard for it," Michonski said, "and it's kind of exciting to know that my hard work paid off."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243

mdifilippo@mainetoday.com

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