HAMPDEN — Typical of a team with 17 state championships to its name, the Skowhegan field hockey team seized control early with a state final trip at stake. And typical of a team with those 17 titles, the Indians never let it go.

No. 1 Skowhegan opened with a flourish and closed with a bang, earning a 3-1 victory over No. 2 Messalonskee in the Class A North championship game at Hampden Academy on Friday night, and a rematch of last year’s regional final.

The Indians jumped on the Eagles from the beginning, stifling Messalonskee with pressure in the offensive end and accumulating three corners in the first 4:15. Skowhegan broke through on the third try, with Alexis Michonski receiving the pass behind the Eagles defense and blasting a shot into the cage for a 1-0 lead with 25:39 to go in the first half.

The Eagles eventually got their bearings and began to match the Indians’ pace, but wouldn’t be able to catch up on the scoreboard. Skowhegan doubled its lead with 23:08 to play in the second half, on a play starting with a long pass in from Hannah McKenney. Standing in front of the goaltender with her back to the cage, Julia Steeves was still able to redirect the ball into the goal, putting the Indians ahead 2-0.

Its pursuit of regional and state championships in serious jeopardy, Messalonskee called timeout with 21:37 to go. The tactic began to pay off less than a minute later, with Autumn Littlefield taking the ball around the Skowhegan defense and chipping in a shot from roughly 10 yards out that sailed into the cage, cutting the gap to 2-1 and restored the chances for an Eagles comeback — one that nearly was completed when Littlefield’s shot off a corner with just over 17 minutes to play sailed just wide of the net.

The Indians weren’t about to let the game get away, however. Skowhegan got its ninth corner with 10:19 to play and crippled Messalonskee in nearly the same way it pinned it, with Maliea Kelso blasting in a shot off the send-in from Olivia Hatch to bring the score to its eventual 3-1 final.

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