November 2, 2013

Field hockey: ‘Fierce’ Scarborough vs. ‘determined’ Skowhegan a Class A rematch

The Red Storm hope to avenge a loss in last year’s state final.

By Steve Craig scraig@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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.

Field hockey: Championships at a glance

CLASS A

WHO: Skowhegan (17-0) vs. Scarborough (16-0-1)

WHEN: Noon Saturday

WHERE: Yarmouth High

THE SKINNY: As Scarborough should remember from last year’s 3-0 title game loss, the Indians are incredibly precise on penalty corners – “deadly,” as Lawrence Coach Lisa Larrabee put it earlier this season. Skowhegan has won a state record 75 consecutive games and 11 of the last 12 Class A titles. The last loss was against Scarborough at Yarmouth in the 2009 state final. Senior midfielder Allison Lancaster, junior forward Rylie Blanchet and sophomore Brooke Michonski are Skowhegan’s top scorers, with senior Mikayla Toth leading the defense. Skowhegan has outscored its opponents 124-2. … A year after entering the state final not having allowed a goal, Scarborough’s defense has proven penetrable, but the offense is more diversified, with Kristen Murray, Abby Walker and Maddie Dobecki the top threats and strong support from seniors Maggie Carbin and Rachael Wallace. Senior sweeper Mikaela Coombs must keep the rest of the defense poised under what is sure to be the most pressure the team has seen.

CLASS B

WHO: Nokomis (17-0) vs. York (17-0)

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Yarmouth High

THE SKINNY: In a meeting of top-seeded teams, Nokomis seeks its second state championship in four seasons, while York goes for its first state title since 2008. Nokomis midfielders Kayla Braley and Kirsten Costedio will need to control the creative play-making of York freshman Lily Posternak. ... Nokomis edged Old Town 1-0 to win the East, with senior Drew Graves scoring and senior Kendra Underhill making four saves. ... York has allowed just two goals this season, in large part because even good opponents rarely get shots on goalie Liv Golini. In the Wildcats’ 6-0 win against previously unbeaten Spruce Mountain in the West final, Golini made one save in each half. .York is making its eighth state final appearance in 10 seasons and is 1-6 in state finals – 1-1 against Nokomis. ... York senior Taylor Simpson is one of the top scorers in the state and is getting plenty of help from players like Sarah Panteleos, Alie Jones, Devin Datsis and, on penalty corners, senior defensive leader Kathleen Cronin.

CLASS C

WHO: Foxcroft Academy (16-0-1) vs. North Yarmouth Academy (14-2-1)

WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Yarmouth High

THE SKINNY: After two seasons in Class B, Foxcroft returned to Class C and has allowed just one goal (none in the regular season) while scoring 65. The Ponies beat Winslow 1-0 in the East final – goalie Brianna Skolfield’s 16th shutout. Madison Fadley scored. Julia Annis had 19 goals and 11 assists in the regular season. Emily Higgins, Fadley, Fern Morrison and Amber Anderson each had five or more goals. … NYA had to go to the third round of penalty corners and got 21 saves from Elizabeth Coughlin to beat defending state champ Lisbon 2-1 in the West final. This is NYA’s fifth state final in six years. The Panthers won in 2008, 2010, and 2011. They hope to have senior captain and midfielder Kayla Rose, who took a blow to the head against Lisbon and was too dizzy and nauseous to return. Senior Olivia Madore and sophomore Juju Tardiff each have more that 10 goals, with Marina Poole, Rose and Charlotte Eisenberg adding to the offense.

– Steve Craig

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:

scraig@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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