Lucy Johnson, left, of Cheverus battles Skowhegan’s Layla Conway for the ball during the 2022 Class A field hockey state championship game. Their teams will meet again Saturday for the third straight year in the state title game. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

They meet again.

For the third straight season, the Class A field hockey title will come down to dominant Cheverus and Skowhegan teams, two squads that have been a match only for each other and have been on a collision course since the first practices began.

Each team has nipped the other at the finish line: Cheverus took down the perennially powerful River Hawks, 4-1, in 2021, while Skowhegan stopped the Stags’ dominant run last fall with a 3-2 win.

Saturday will be the rubber match in what’s become a rare North-South rivalry. Only once before, when Skowhegan and Scarborough played each other from 2012-14, have the same teams met in three straight Class A finals.

“We’re definitely ready for a third round,” said Skowhegan senior midfielder Laney LeBlanc, one of three Miss Maine Field Hockey finalists who will be playing in the game, along with teammate Layla Conway and Cheverus’ Lily Johnson. “I think we kind of all saw it coming into (the season). Us seniors, we wanted to play Cheverus. They’re our biggest competition, it’s always a great game.”

The Class A matchup, scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at Lewiston High, will headline a championship card filled with compelling storylines. In Class B at 11 a.m., Freeport is back in the final after falling short last year, while Cony is in its first championship game since 1995. In Class C at 3 p.m., Winthrop and Dexter meet for the first time in a title game, despite the programs having 11 championships between them.


Talk around the state, however, has centered on the River Hawks and Stags because of their dominance (Cheverus is 52-1 since 2021, Skowhegan is 51-2), their championship matchups, and the star power on both sides. In addition to Lily Johnson (12 goals), Cheverus features the state’s all-time leading scorer in sister Lucy Johnson (40 goals this season, 117 for her career), midfield ace Joey Pompeo, and forward threats Zoey Radford, Sydney Brunelle and Caroline Rousseau, who has four goals this postseason.

“I definitely think everyone that was a part of our team last year is going to want to have a comeback and revenge, almost like a revenge tour,” Lucy Johnson said. “It’s very exciting, and very exhilarating.”

The River Hawks are just as formidable as they were last year. Conway (24 goals, 10 assists) and LeBlanc (14 goals, 13 assists) may lead the way, but in Sydalia Savage (13 goals, 10 assists), Ellie Quinn (13 goals, 12 assists) and Sophie Noyes (nine goals), Skowhegan has enough threats to confound the Stags.

And yet, as hard as it is to prevent either team from scoring, it’s been just as hard to score on them. Cheverus (97 goals scored) has allowed two goals all season and didn’t surrender a shot on goal against Scarborough in the regional semifinals.

“Defense is going to win our games,” Stags Coach Theresa Arsenault said. “And that’s our defense from our forwards all the way out back, putting pressure throughout the entire field.”

Skowhegan (84 goals scored) has allowed four goals – just one over its last 12 games.


“We work as a unit,” LeBlanc said. “We’re not working as individuals. We’re working as a team.”

Freeport and Cony took different paths to the season’s final day. The Falcons were the preseason favorite, the defending Class B South champions with plenty of returning firepower.

It hasn’t always been easy. Freeport dropped its opener to Yarmouth and had a three-game winless stretch midway through the season, but the Falcons found a way to prevail down the stretch, and again be the best team in big spots.

“Everyone expected us to be a top contender, and we just came through,” said sophomore forward Emily Groves, Freeport’s leading scorer with 22 goals. “The last few games we’ve played have been our best games. We’ve just worked really, really well together.”

Liza Flower (15) also reached double digits in goals for the Falcons, who moments after beating Yarmouth in the South final had already turned their focus toward winning the state title that eluded them last year.

“I think last year we were like, ‘Wow, we’re here, we’re so excited,'” Coach Marcia Wood said. “Now we know what to expect.”


Cony is new to the championship stage, but the Rams have been knocking on the door for years, always denied in the regional quarters or semifinals by Skowhegan, Mt. Blue or Lawrence.

Finally, for the first time in 28 years, it’s their turn.

“That’s exactly how we feel,” Coach Holly Daigle said. “We’ve always just come close, or almost made it. … I’ve been wanting this for a long time, and this group from Day One has said this is their goal.”

Like the Falcons, the Rams have surged at the right time, punching their ticket with a 3-0 victory over an undefeated Belfast team.

“They’re students of the game,” said Daigle, who’s gotten four goals from Abby Morrill and three from Caroline Hendrickson this postseason. “They’ll watch film, they’ll go to other games and watch teams that we’re going to be playing. They’re just as invested in checking out the competition as the coaches are.”

In Class C, Winthrop and Dexter will be making their 11th and 10th appearance in a state final, respectively. The Ramblers are seeking their third straight championship and fourth in five seasons, and have potent scoring led by Izzy Folsom and Madeline Wagner along with a tough defense that snuffed out the South’s No. 1 seed Spruce Mountain, 2-0 in the regional final.

Kiera Bennett and Alexandra Vafiades scored in the North final for Dexter, which is seeking its first title since 2009.

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