Oxford Hills teammates Abby Hanson, right, and Ally Slicer watch as Slicer’s shot goes into the goal for the Vikings’ second score against Brewer in a recent playoff game in South Paris. Brewster Burns photo

The third-seeded Oxford Hills Vikings are heading to Topsham on Wednesday, knowing they will confront Skowhegan — a top-ranked, undefeated field hockey team with a storied history of prosperity — in a Class A North final at 7 p.m.

Skowhegan has won 16 of the past 19 Class A state championships, and played in every state championship game since 2001.

Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard said the pressure is on the River Hawks (16-0) because of their success.

“The tradition is pretty darn amazing, in any sport you see in the state of Maine and probably all of New England,” she said. “I guess you just have to take every game as a new game.

“Probably there is more pressure on them because they have to maintain being so good. I think for us — anything can happen. We’ve been lucky and fortunate to get to this point. (The players) worked hard and hard work paid off.”

The last time Oxford Hills (11-5) competed in a regional final was back in 2007. But Goddard’s confidence was high after seeing where the Vikings stood when the tournament brackets were released.

“You know, when I first (planned) out the season, I thought we were going to be one of the top four teams,” Goddard said. “Our goal was to at least host a playoff game at home. As the season went along, the league was definitely challenging this year, which was great. It kind of got us ready.

“I guess once we looked at how all the (tournament) brackets finished out, I think we thought we would have a good shot.”

One of the things that makes the Vikings strong contenders is goalie Gabrielle Wright.

“Gabby Wright is a great goalie,” Goddard said. “Defensively, I think we shut out our opponents eight or nine times this season and so that really helps.”

Goddard is also impressed with the Vikings’ zest for playing field hockey — and that enthusiasm for the sport is just another reason for Oxford Hills’ successful season.

“We have our postseason and we have junior varsity kids that are still coming to play because they love to play,” Goddard said. “I think it is all about the chemistry. If you get kids that like playing with each other, like being around each other, it sure makes things a lot easier.”

Goddard said the Vikings don’t have to rely on one key player on offense.

“I mean we have some really good players — don’t get me wrong,” she said. “Allison Slicer has really come on in the playoffs. She scored all our playoff points, but she has great support around her. We have depth and we are not just playing 11 people. We have a lot of subs we can put in and out.”

But this season has offered some surprises for the longtime coach.

“We have two kids (Tristin Derenburger and Allegra Meagher) who were injured and did not play all regular season games,” she said. “They kept coming to practice every day and they can actually play (now). They have been striving to get to play a game this year, and because they went to the postseason, they are finally able to play in a game.”

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