ORONO — It was a great day to be clad in orange and black on a chilly fall afternoon which even saw a brief snow flurry at Morse Field.
Both the Skowhegan Indians and North Yarmouth Academy Panthers were making successive appearances in Saturday’s state championship field hockey games and both left the field on the winning end of the final scores.
Skowhegan looked every bit like a team making its 10th straight state-final appearance as it defeated Cheverus of Portland 3-0 for its ninth Class A title since 2000, and NYA won its second Class C crown in three years with a 2-1 victory over Foxcroft Academy that lasted through regulation, two overtimes, and one set of penalty corners.
In Class A, after watching players from an opposing team celebrate a win for the first time in nine years in last year’s state championship game, motivation was not a problem for the Indians this season.
That was plain Saturday as the Indians hit the University of Maine’s artificial turf sprinting and never let up en route to their 15th shutout of the season.
The 18-0 Indians were led by junior forward Jessica Skillings, who scored the first two goals.
“I think we were more mentally prepared for this year,” said Skillings, who remembered the shock she felt after her team lost to Scarborough last year.
Despite a very young squad with two freshman starters, the Indians played composed and aggressively.
“Every single team is different and this team, this is the youngest team I’ve ever had,” said Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty. “It’s funny. The younger ones still don’t get it. I mentioned if we lost, we were done and a few of them were like ‘We are? Really?'”
The Indians gave up just three goals all season.
“They’ve surprised us right from the beginning,” said assistant coach Tammie Veinotte.
The Indians executed their game plan to perfection.
“We kept the ball wide, to the right or the left, not using the middle,” Skillings said. “Defensively we wanted to push them out wide and not let them use the middle much.”
Haley Holt scored the other goal and Anne-Marie Provencal notched the shutout with three saves on three shots. Sarah Finnemore and Nicole Sevey each had an assist for the Indians.
Cynthia Clark had five saves on nine shots for the 13-5 Cheverus Stags.