OAKLAND — As her Skowhegan High field hockey players received their championship plaque, Coach Paula Doughty jumped and danced and smiled.

She doesn’t show such emotions often. But Saturday was different. Skowhegan returned to the top of Class A field hockey.

Skowhegan scored three goals in the second half to win the Class A championship at Messalonskee High, 3-0 over Biddeford – the team that defeated Skowhegan in the state game a year ago.

It was the 16th championship in the last 19 years for Skowhegan, which finished the season 18-0. Overall it was the program’s 19th state championship.

“Last year was hard on me because I felt I let a lot of people down,” said Doughty. “I made a lot of mistakes. So we sat down and figured out what we needed to do and we set a path.”

Biddeford, which won last year’s game 4-3, finished 17-1 and had a 35-game unbeaten streak snapped.

“They came to play,” said Biddeford Coach Caitlin Tremberth. “Those 10 seniors (on Skowhegan) were saying, ‘I’m not going to end with a loss.’ ”

After a scoreless first half, Skowhegan took control quickly in the final 30 minutes. With Biddeford down a player for a 5-yard free hit violation, Skowhegan scored just 33 seconds into the second half as Kayla Furbush tucked a loose ball inside the left post for a 1-0 lead. The goal came just seven seconds before Biddeford was going to regain its player.

The Tigers came close to tying it nine minutes later. On a penalty corner, Abby Allen let loose a reverse hit that popped into the air behind Skowhegan goalie Mackenzie McConnell. But junior defender Mariah Whittemore was behind her and batted the ball away before it crossed the goal line.

“It just happened to come through to me but it wasn’t just on me, my defense was there to help me,” said Whittemore. “I just had my stick there, eye to ball, and it was on my stick.”

Skowhegan then came down and scored off a penalty corner with 18:54 remaining to make it 2-0. Emily Reichenbach got the goal, batting a high rebound out of the air downward into the net.

“I don’t know where it came from,” said Reichenbach. “But it went up in the air and I had to get it into the back of the net. There’s no other choice.”

As it has all year, Biddeford kept fighting back. Allen had two more wicked reverse hits that McConnell stopped.

“We always think that anything can happen and nothing is every impossible if we all come together and play to our potential,” said Biddeford senior midfielder Megan Mourmouras. “You don’t go down unless you’re fighting.”

But Alexis Michonski scored on a penalty corner with 7:04 remaining to make it 3-0 and secure the latest Skowhegan championship.

Skowehegan’s second-half defense was impressive. “They’re fast and quick, and we just had to keep coming at them and pushing them to the outside,” said Doughty. “And we did it consistently. That was a key this whole tournament. We didn’t allow any goals. And I always tell the kids if they don’t score they’re not going to win. And sooner or later we’re going to score.”

It took a while, but Skowhegan finally broke through in this one to regain its championship swagger.

“It’s always special to win,” said Reichenbach. “But this was special special because it’s my last year. We have so many seniors and all worked together to make it happen. I can’t think of anything better than this.”


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