ORONO – Skowhegan’s field hockey team is back on top — and may stay there for a while again.

After their eight-year reign as Class A state champion ended last year, the Indians regained the crown with a convincing 3-0 victory over Cheverus at Morse Field at the University of Maine.

Jessie Skillings scored twice in the first half to help Skowhegan finish 18-0. Not bad for a team with just two seniors and five juniors, along with eight sophomores and six freshmen.

“I think that’s the most amazing thing,” said Coach Paula Doughty. “After we lost the state game last year there was so much hype about ‘next year, next year, next year.’ And I looked at these guys, and seeing two seniors and all these little kids, and I said, ‘I don’t know.’“

Now, the Indians seem set up for several more championship runs. And they credit last year’s loss with providing inspiration.

“Last year wasn’t a setback, just a bump in the road,” said senior back and captain Noelle Hancock. “I know we’ll win some more.”

Skillings, a junior forward, gave the Indians the lead in the first half. Skowhegan went on the attack quickly, and it resulted in a penalty stroke just 8:08 in, when Cheverus goalie Cindy Clark smothered the ball during a scramble.

Skillings set up, took a deep breath and beat Clark low to the stick side for a 1-0 lead.

“When I get a stroke, I’m thinking, ‘Where can I get the best angle, where can I aim that’s going to be hardest for the goalie,’” said Skillings. “And then I always have to take a second after they blow that whistle to decide which corner I’m going to go to. After watching the goalie, I realize which one is going to be best.”

“That stroke was beautiful, just beautiful,” said Doughty.

Cheverus (13-5) came back with a couple opportunities off penalty corners, but Emily Sawchuck was turned back twice by goalie Anne-Marie Provenchal. Then the Indians struck on their own corner.

Haley Holt inserted the ball from the left of the goal to Sarah Finnemore at the top of the circle. Her hard drive was stopped by Clark, but Skillings gathered the rebound and flicked in a reverse hit for a 2-0 lead with 8:08 left in the first half.

“I think we came out a little intimidated,” said Cheverus Coach Amy McMullin. “It just wasn’t our day.”

The play was more even in the second half, but Skowhegan got the only goal. That came with 23:22 remaining, when Holt tipped in another hard drive by Finnemore off another corner.

“We wanted to send a message,” said Skillings. “You know, we lost last year but it gave us more drive to come back and work harder as a team.”

 

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