FARMINGTON — Skowhegan goalie Leah Savage got in the way of Mt. Blue’s playoff run in a Class A North field hockey semifinal game at Caldwell Field.

The No. 4 Indians were leading 1-0 when they were penalized when a Skowhegan player stopped the ball with her body that was going in the cage in the second half. This presented the perfect opportunity for the Cougars to tie the game.

Mt. Blue captain Hannah LeClair fired the penalty shot at the Skowhegan net, but Savage stopped it cold with her hand, allowing the Indians to escape with a 1-0 victory on a blustery and frigid Monday.

Savage is a junior in her first year playing field hockey, but she also has a great deal of confidence in herself.

“I was nervous, but I was really confident that I was able to stop it,” Savage said. “I am really happy. We definitely deserved to win. This is a really good team.

“I am really proud of my team. I though we did a really good job. Every one was great.”

The undefeated Cougars (13-1-1) swept the Indians during the regular season, but apparently that didn’t matter to Skowhegan (11-3-1), which will play No. 2 Messalonskee (14-2) in the regional final Wednesday at Hampden Academy.

The Indians were a tough act to beat on offense despite the Cougars’ stubborn defense. Skowhegan held the advantage in corners, 7-5.

Skowhegan finally broke through with the only goal of the game at 15:05 in the second half. Maliea Kelso took a feed from teammate Kealey Bowman and slipped it by Mt. Blue goalie Erika McArthur for the game-winner.

“Every single one of them gave everything they had,” Mt. Blue coach Jody Harmon said. “That’s really all you can ask for. There was no flat performance. It could have gone either way, and unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.

“It’s been a great season. They earned it together. I am very proud of this team.”

It was a back-and-forth affair in the scoreless first half. Cold drizzle began to fall and cold winds whipped across the field as the Indians forced the Cougars to go on the defensive.

“We are just a really, really young team. I play a lot, lot of kids,” Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said. “Half of them don’t know what they are doing, but you know, they get in there and they just try to do their job five or 10 minutes.

“We have three starting seniors. That’s it, and the little ones just went in and do the best they can.”

Doughty also had kudos for Savage for standing her ground on the penalty stroke

“Her nerves are amazing,” Doughty said. “Mt. Blue is a wonderful team. Don’t even think they are not. They are. My kids are used to playing in big games. I really had a feeling they would pull it off today.”


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