This year’s high school field hockey state championships could be all about redemption for three of the participants.

Skowhegan (Class A), York (Class B) and North Yarmouth Academy (Class C) are all back after losing in the championship game a year ago.

But to hear their coaches talk, none of those teams is so engrossed in the past that it is neglecting the present.

“We never put our sights on anyone or anything,” said Paula Doughty of Skowhegan, which lost to Scarborough a year ago. “Every day, we practice to be the best we can be. We never think about anything else. We want to play the best we can.”

And for Skowhegan, that’s saying a lot. The Indians (17-0) are playing in their 10th consecutive state final and 12th in 13 years. Their opponent, Cheverus, is playing in its first.

“It’s absolutely amazing to go 10 in row,” said Amy McMullin, coach of the Stags (13-4). “That’s unheard of in sports. You have to tip your hat to them. At the same time, we want so much more to be the team to beat them.”

The Class A championship game will be played at 2 p.m. today at the University of Maine, the middle game of the Maine Principals’ Association’s championship tripleheader.

North Yarmouth Academy (16-1) will play Foxcroft Academy (11-5-1) at noon in the Class C final. NYA lost to Dexter a year ago. The Ponies last won in 2007.

The Class B game, between York (16-1) and Nokomis (14-2), will be at 4 p.m. It is a rematch of the 2008 final, won by York, 1-0. The Wildcats are making their third consecutive appearance in the title game and sixth in seven years.

Both York and NYA are coming off disappointing losses in last year’s championship games. Both were favored but could not overcome mistakes.

Both coaches said their teams are better, having experienced those losses.

“We felt that we had it last year and went in maybe a little more cocky than usual. We did lose, and the girls shouldn’t have won, we didn’t have the attitude to win,” said NYA Coach Julia Sterling. “We learned a lesson and we’re not going to let that go. We know we have to have heads on and our spirit.”

The Panthers have come together at the right time. Their only loss this season has been to York (2-1). Once again they have a strong offense, led by Katherine Millett (38 goals, seven assists), Megan Fortier (24 goals, eight assists), and Kylie Dalbec (eight goals, seven assists). Junior goalie Mariah Farrell leads a strong defense.

For York, Coach Barb Marois knew the Wildcats had potential, but they had to prove it over a season.

“You never know how things are going to unfold,” she said. “We had ups and downs throughout the season, we had struggles with our consistency. But once we got through the first game of the playoffs (a tense 2-1 win over Falmouth), the girls have put it together and played as a unit.”

The Wildcats are balanced, with four players — Catie Keenan, Chelsea Morley, Becca Sarson and Cari Posternak — with at least six goals. Center midfielder Hannah Keating is the leader on defense.

They’ll have to contend with a strong Nokomis team. Jordin McGinnis, a senior, has 23 goals, and Leah Edmondson, a junior, has 17.

Both coaches are pleased with the later start. For York, it will allow the Wildcats a leisurely drive. For the Warriors?

“Maybe we’ll get more fans with the 4:00 start,” said Coach Katie Thompson. “It is the first day of hunting season.”

Cheverus ended the regular season in a funk but regrouped in the playoffs, knocking off Scarborough in the semifinals. Emily Sawchuck had four goals in the regional final, giving her 18 on the season. Most of her goals came on hard drives off penalty corners.

“We need to get corners,” said McMullin. “If we can, and test their defense, we’ll be OK.”

Skowhegan has given up only three goals all season. And while the Indians are relatively young, with six freshmen, Doughty said they are used to winning.

“It’s tradition,” she said. “Ever since they’ve been little girls. This is the 10th (straight) time we’ve been to the states. They’ve been seeing this their whole lives.”

 

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]