The names on the jerseys are the same as last year, but both coaches agree that’s about the only similarity from a year ago.
For the second straight year and fourth time in six seasons, Scarborough will meet Skowhegan in the Class A field hockey championship game, beginning at noon at Yarmouth High.
Both teams underwent massive rebuilding in the starting lineup since Skowhegan’s 3-0 win last year at the University of Maine. In the process, they have created their own identities, the coaches said.
Scarborough graduated 10 seniors from a squad that was unscored upon before the state final.
“The major difference with this team is that they’re fiercer, they’re tougher, the team that we have this year. That’s the special quality that they have this year, and it could be the difference,” Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello said.
Skowhegan graduated a truckload of talent, including current Division I players Sarah Finnemore (Harvard) and Adriana Martineau (Maine) and 42-goal scorer Makaela Michonski. But the Indians (17-0) are again unbeaten and a heavy favorite.
“Determined. That’s what this team is,” Skowhegan Coach Paula Doughty said. “It was very clear to them in the offseason and the preseason the magnitude of the loss of graduating eight top-notch players. We laid it out for this year’s team: If you want this, like every team before you has, then you have to work harder than any of them.”
There is one thing that remains unchanged.
Skowhegan has won 11 of the last 12 Class A titles and has a state record 75-game winning streak.
“I just know they’re darn good, and they’re darn good every year. You just got to play the best possible game you can play and hope for the best,” Mariello said.
After beating Massabesic 6-3 in a wild but far from perfect Western Maine final, Scarborough’s players and coaches celebrated zealously and genuinely.
“We’re excited. We just wanted that opportunity again to play Skowhegan. This is our second chance here and we know what we did the last time we had that second opportunity, and hopefully we can do that again this year,” Mariello said.
Mariello was referring to the 2009 state final, also played at Yarmouth. The previous year Skowhegan had beaten the Red Storm. In the rematch, Scarborough upset Skowhegan, 2-1.
The Indians haven’t lost since.
Mariello isn’t shy about connecting the dots.
“That’s right. We have that little special thing that we’ve talked about, the last time we were at Yarmouth we pulled that win off, so hopefully that’s something that comes back to us. Who knows.”
Doughty was downright dismissive of the idea that Yarmouth High could possess any sort of negative energy for her team.
“That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard,” Doughty said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re playing, and none of these girls were in that game.”
Scarborough has shown the ability to move the ball quickly into transition, led by midfielder Maddy Dobecki (12 goals) and tenacious forward Abby Walker (seven goals). Around the cage, junior Kristen Murray (21 goals) and senior Maggie Carbin (14 goals) have led the offense. The defense hasn’t been as strong as in the past, but senior Mikaela Coombs is a poised sweeper.
“At first glance, definitely we don’t look super fierce,” said Coombs. “But once we’re on the field, that is how I would describe us. We never give up. We get a goal scored on us, we come back even harder.”
First-year junior left back Kaitlin Prince is tall, strong and athletic and could prove a key to slowing down the Skowhegan attack.
Allison Landry in the midfield and Mikayla Toth on defense are Skowhegan’s only returning starters. Sophomore Brooke Michonski and juniors Renee Wright and Rylie Blanchet have led an offense that has scored 124 goals.
“If we go in fierce and wanting it we can really, really give them their all and win,” Scarborough’s Walker said.
Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at: