Saturday, March 8, 2014
By Steve Craig email@example.com
ORONO – As Skowhegan junior Allison Lancaster dribbled through Scarborough defenders in the final seconds of Saturday's Class A field hockey championship game, one had to wonder: Can any Western Maine team knock off Skowhegan?
The four finalists for the Miss Maine Field Hockey award, given to the top senior in the state, were announced Monday.
The finalists are Kristy Bernatchez of Messalonskee, Sarah Finnemore of Skowhegan, Elise Tilton of John Bapst and Julia Ward of Belfast.
The winner will be announced at the Maine Field Hockey Association Banquet at the Augusta Civic Center on Dec. 1.
With Saturday's dominating 3-0 win, the Indians won their 11th state title in 12 years. Coach Paula Doughty, undoubtedly her team's toughest critic, said her team's best game was its 2-1 win against Messalonskee in the Eastern Maine final.
"That night our passing was precision. Tonight it was OK.… We played well enough to win," Doughty said.
OK? Scarborough was 17-0 with a 67-0 goal advantage. It was the unquestioned best team in the West, known for its overall team speed and skill. And yet the Red Storm were overwhelmed.
Skowhegan's relentless speed, its ability to spread the field, and the one-on-one skills of players like midfielders Sarah Finnemore and Allison Lancaster and back Mikayla Bolduc were primary reasons why Scarborough had zero shots, zero penalty corners and, after halftime, nearly zero possessions past midfield.
Skowhegan's three second-half goals came on penalty corners that "would have scored on D-I (college) goalies, that's how beautifully executed those were," Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello said.
What will it take to stop Skowhegan? For starters, opponents can hope that Skowhegan's talent pool runs dry. The Indians will lose three Division I-caliber players in Finnemore (Harvard), defender Adriana Martineau (Maine), and forward Makaela Michonski. The latter was recruited by Maine but will attend Husson because it offers a physical therapy major, Doughty said.
Skowhegan will also lose Bolduc (who intends to play at Connecticut College) and seldom-tested goalie Anne-Marie Provencal.
"We're not going to be as strong next year, for sure," Doughty said.
Western teams also need to continue to believe they can compete, and work toward that goal, Mariello said.
Scarborough did beat Skow-hegan in 2009, when the Red Storm had 13 seniors and a potent enough offense to pressure Skowhegan's defense.
"We've done it before so we know it is a doable thing. You've got to be executing everywhere, all over the place," Mariello said, "and knowing how to position yourself defensively, and we struggled a little bit there, causing some penalties and when you allow corners, they're going to make things happen."
Scarborough had eight senior starters, many who had been building toward Saturday's game for three seasons.
It is quite possible it will be a different program's turn to take the Skowhegan challenge in 2013.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: