SKOWHEGAN — It was the news every field hockey contender in Class A has been hoping to hear since 2009: Some tangible evidence that on the right day, Skowhegan is beatable.

In a wild game, Emily Hogan scored three goals and Nathalie St. Pierre sent one in 1:40 into the second overtime as Messalonskee earned a 5-4 victory Tuesday afternoon.

“In the past, we always thought of this as this huge, big game, and we were always really frazzled by it,” Hogan said. “I think this time, we came in more thinking, ‘It’s just another game. We have to come at it and go hard every second of every minute of the game.’ So we kind of just went all out.”

Skowhegan had won 78 straight games since falling to Scarborough in the 2009 state championship game. The Indians’ last regular-season loss was Oct. 7, 2008, also to Messalonskee.

There was plenty of drama before the game. Skowhegan’s starting goalie Leah Kruse was sidelined with appendicitis and is expected to be out at least two weeks. Another goalie is academically ineligible, so Coach Paula Doughty turned to senior Emily Trial, a midfielder who had never even tried on goalie pads before Monday’s practice.

“We had no idea until maybe halfway through, Paula told me,” Messalonskee Coach Katie McLaughlin said. “I didn’t mention it to anybody anyway. We don’t need more distractions.”

The game was scheduled to be played at Thomas College, but less than 90 minutes before game time, it was moved to Skowhegan because the Indians didn’t have a bus to take them.

Skowhegan dominated the opening minutes, and led 1-0 at 2:42 when Renee Wright gathered a rebound and fed Brooke Michonski. Hogan retaliated with two goals in a span of 44 seconds before Wright slashed home a rebound to make it 2-2 at halftime.

“I’ve never been so proud of my kids,” Doughty said. “They went out there today knowing that we didn’t really have a goalie. They played their hearts out, and they played double overtime. I don’t know how much more I could ask for.”

Less than two minutes into the second half, Riley Field gave a pass to Hogan, who sent home a rocket to make it 3-2. Back came Skowhegan, this time with Wright feeding Julia Steeves for a nice chip shot with 18:31 left.

“Our mentality was, every time they tied it, we were starting the game all over, so we had to work harder than them, dig deeper, and really play smart,” McLaughlin said.

Haley Carter kept it tied with a defensive save for Skowhegan, but with 5:39 to go, after a long flurry in front of the cage, Messalonskee’s Saige Knight set up fellow sophomore Ally Corbett to put the Eagles ahead again.

Skowhegan tied it with 3:42 to go when Lauren LeBlanc drilled one home off a penalty corner pass from Wright.

“We played a nice, short passing game, and they really worked as a whole unit,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t think it was any one person that won it. They kept running strong that whole time. They never gave up on anything.”

After Messalonskee withstood three Skowhegan shots and two penalty corners in the first overtime, the Eagles got their chance. Early in the second extra period, Trial played a long drive off her pads. St. Pierre hustled in, controlled the ball and fired a high shot just inside the right post for the win.

“I saw it coming down,” St. Pierre said. “I knew that it was coming to me, and this was probably my one chance, and I had to get it either now or never.”

St. Pierre sprinted toward midfield, screaming, with her arms raised high. The Indians quietly left the field a little later. It was a scene that hadn’t been seen in almost five years.

“To me, it’s a relief,” Doughty said. “I didn’t even know it existed until some guy called me in the middle of the night last year. It’s wonderful. I think it’s a credit to Skowhegan field hockey to go five years without losing a game. We knew it had to come to an end. I just think we played incredible today.”


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