Cheverus senior Norah Slattery holds up Class A field hockey state championship trophy after they defeated Skowhegan 4-1 in the Class A field hockey state championship game Saturday on Cony High School’s Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — The Cheverus field hockey team was dominant all season. In Saturday’s Class A final, against the program that has come to define dominance in the sport, that didn’t change.

Olivia McCartney scored two goals and added an assist, and the Stags defeated Skowhegan 4-1 at Cony High School to win their first state championship.

Cheverus, which also got goals from Taylor Tory and Lily Johnson, finished 18-0-0. Skowhegan, which was seeking its 20th state championship, got a goal from Layla Conway en route to finishing 17-1-0. 

“They have won so many titles, we just needed to come in not cocky and just confident in our play,” Tory said. “And we did exactly that.”

The Stags overwhelmed their competition all fall, taking a 95-8 advantage in goals scored into the final, but there was one team that could rival them for the title of best team in the state: Skowhegan, which won the Class A title in 2019 — there was no postseason in 2020, due to the pandemic — and which was in the championship game for the 20th straight time.

Saturday, however, ended any debate.

“It’s a special group of girls,” Cheverus coach Theresa Hendrix said. “Between their commitment, hard work and positivity, they’re great players, but they play so well as a team. I think that’s what made them so successful.”

Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said her team couldn’t match up with the speed the Stags brought, particularly in the midfield.

“The teams that we played this year didn’t even compare to this team,” she said. “You can’t take it away from Cheverus. They just played a marvelous game today, they really did.”

Skowhegan has rarely, if ever, been younger during its 20-year run. The River Hawks had no seniors and seven freshmen and sophomores in the starting lineup.

Cheverus’ Lily Johnson, left, and Skowhegan’s Jayla Gentry battle for ball control during the Class A field hockey state championship game Saturday on Cony High School’s Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We got here, and just the thought that we got here this year with this young crew, I think is pretty amazing,” Doughty said. “For this youth to make it here today, I’m satisfied. I’m disappointed we didn’t win, but am I broken-hearted? No.”

It was clear early that running with the Stags was going to be tough. They jumped in front quickly, when Lily Johnson had a shot that snuck through Skowhegan goalie Lanie Vanedistine’s pads and McCartney was alone in position to knock the loose ball home with 8:30 left in the first quarter. Cheverus made it a 2-0 advantage with 10:30 left in the second quarter when Lucy Johnson had a shot from just left of the top of the circle that went toward the right post, and McCartney was waiting to redirect it home.

“I just try to be as close to the ball as possible,” said McCartney, a junior. “It just happened to be there.”

“I’m so proud of her,” Hendrix said. “Olivia’s just worked so hard, she’s super coachable and she was in those spots, ready when she needed to be, and she got there through hustle.”

Skowhegan fought back, generating three corners in the last five minutes of the half, and eventually getting the goal it needed when Conway scored on the rebound of a Cheverus save with 43.9 seconds to go. The momentum was short-lived, however; Cheverus took over the flow of the game again in the third, and got a big goal with 3:44 left in the quarter when Tory scored off of an assist from McCartney.

The Stags got an insurance goal with 11:46 left in the game when Lily Johnson scored on her own rebound to make it 4-1.

“We just knew that we can’t let down,” Tory said. “Just like we did in the Scarborough game. Just because they got a goal, that doesn’t mean we play any less. We’ve actually got to bring it up.”

Once they did, the River Hawks were in trouble.

“Our youth really showed today,” Doughty said. “Cheverus’s passing was just amazing. You could really tell that we’ve had a real lack of that the last two years.”

It added up to not having enough on Saturday, but Doughty had a smile after the game for a reason.

“We’ll be back,” she said. “I was pleased. I think for their age, they did a great job. I’m just super proud that they made it this year.”

Comments are not available on this story.