FALMOUTH — Another year, another Skowhegan field hockey state championship.
The Indians claimed their third consecutive title and 15th in 17 seasons by defeating the Westbrook Blue Blazes 2-1 in the Class A state championship game Saturday at Falmouth High School.
Most of Skowhegan’s players have been on the earth for about as long as the program’s dynasty has existed, but senior Julia Steeves isn’t ho-hum about winning another.
“We win a lot, so people would thing its not a big deal,” Steeves said, “but every year it’s such a big deal. Every year, we get so hype. We love it. And our community’s so supportive, and every team we play is so good.”
The Indians got on the board early when sophomore Olivia Hatch’s shot deflected off Kimberly Goddard’s leg and slowly rolled into the goal three minutes into the game.
“Hannah McKenney took a shot and it went wide, so I ran out and got it and tried to swing around and shoot it in, and it went through the goalies legs and in,” Hatch said.
Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty knew Hatch was capable of scoring that type of important goal.
“I told Olivia that I bet she’d get a goal in a big game, so that’s wonderful for her,” Doughty said.
Steeves added some cushion to the lead with 10:37 left in the first half.
“I’m taught to get the ball and shoot,” Steeves said. “It’s very simple. (Doughty) breaks it down for me.”
Rather than concede, Westbrook played even better after halftime.
“They’re a very good team,” Steeves said. “We came out here, we had to play very well to compete with them.
“I think they’re attitude changed (after halftime). They came out a little slow trying to feel us out, and we really took advantage of that, but the second half they were ready to go.”
With 22:22 left in the game, after an extended scrum in front of Skowhegan goalkeeper Leah Savage, Mary Keef scored for the Blue Blazes to decrease the deficit to 2-1.
“We had never seen them play before, we had just heard about them, got a few scouting reports,” Westbrook co-coach Theresa Hendrix said. “So we weren’t quite sure what we were in for. I think once we made those adjustments for how they played and what we saw, the girls were able to get a little bit of confidence and start playing our game.”
Westbrook’s best efforts kept getting turned away over the final 20 minutes, though, so 2-1 was as close as it could get.
“I think our defense held up well,” Doughty said. “We gave up a goal, but in a game like this, you sort of expect to give up a goal.”