FARMINGTON — After a performance that left them somewhat dissatisfied, the Skowhegan field hockey team responded with the exact response it had hoped to deliver with a 6-0 win over Mt. Blue.

The River Hawks entered Thursday’s game against Mt. Blue two days removed from a 7-2 win over Brewer that, though convincing on the scoreboard, simply didn’t sit well. The following day, Skowhegan players met to discuss what they felt had gone wrong in that contest.

“The field was small, it was raining and miserable, and we just didn’t play all that well,” Skowhegan head coach Paula Doughty said following the  win. “The kids sat down yesterday, broke the game down and set some new goals for themselves for the rest of the year.”

Among those goals were communication and positioning, two things Skowhegan excelled at in the win over the Cougars. Better talking throughout the field led to a solid defensive performance and a fluid attack for the River Hawks, who got four goals from Layla Conway to earn a well-played Class A North win.

Skowhegan (6-0) got on the board six and a half minutes into the game as Conway pounced on a ball that had scooted past the Mt. Blue defense and scored the opening goal. The River Hawks then doubled their lead with 6:58 to go in the period as Conway scored again to make it 2-0.

The third goal from Skowhegan came as Laney LeBlanc scored while falling down with 11:27 left in the second quarter to give the River Hawks a 3-0 lead. From there, Mt. Blue (1-5) ramped up its defensive game and would keep the visitors from getting a fourth goal until Samantha Thebarge scored as time expired in the half.


“Mt. Blue did awesome defensively; they didn’t make it easy for us,” Conway said. “I think what worked for us was, as soon as we got into the 25, we put shots on the cage. We were communicating a lot better today, so we were able to do that well.”

Mt. Blue’s defense, though, kept Skowhegan from putting the game into running time in the third quarter as it staved off the River Hawks’ offensive threats. Skowhegan remained patient and got their fifth and sixth goals courtesy of Conway with 5:07 and 2:22 remaining, respectively.

Skowhegan played most of the game inside the attacking 25 and forced 15 saves out of Mt. Blue’s Ella Mayhew. The Cougars didn’t produce on target until the final seconds of the game, and the River Hawks’ Emmah Corson parried that attempt with ease to preserve the shutout.

Skowhegan’s Layla Conway, left, battles for the ball with Mt. Blue’s Alyssa Simoneau during a field hockey game Thursday in Farmington. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Much of Skowhegan’s success Thursday was the process of keen positioning and awareness around the cage. Quick reactions in the right places at the right times produced goals such as Conway’s opener in the first quarter and LeBlanc’s falling-down tally in the second.

“That’s definitely something I’ve been working on,” Conway said. “I think that’s something that we get better at when we start communicating. When we’re talking, we know where we need to be, and when you do that and play with a positive attitude, it makes a huge difference.”

The River Hawks, Doughty added, were much calmer than they had been against Brewer two days earlier. That was evident on the field, where Skowhegan displayed none of the visible or audible signs of frustration that their coach said had been present against the Witches.


“There were times in that game where we couldn’t pass and we couldn’t do anything, and we got frustrated and stopped talking,” Doughty said. “The communication wasn’t there, and the girls knew that when they looked back at the game. Today, it was much better.”

Skowhegan, the 20-time reigning champion in Class A North/East, has now outscored its opponents 41-2 this season. Prior to Tuesday, the River Hawks had posted four straight shoutouts to start the year in wins over Bangor (11-0), Mt. Ararat (3-0), Edward Little (7-0) and Brunswick (7-0).

Still, Skowhegan hasn’t maintained its impeccable success as a program through resting its laurels on regular season wins. Yet it takes more than one step to reach the championship games the River Hawks always expect to reach, and efforts like Thursday’s, Conway said, can bring them a long way toward getting there.

“We’ve got a lot we need to work on, but we’ve done a great job so far,” Conway said. “The improvement from the first game until now has been awesome to say, and I think this game today really showed that.”

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