Coaches Paula Doughty and Allen Holmes admit that they are superstitious.
So their respective field hockey teams won’t do anything differently as they prepare for Saturday’s state championship field hockey games at the University of Maine’s Alfond Stadium.
Holmes’ Eastern Maine Class B champion Belfast High School Lions, 14-1-2, will take on 14-3 Leavitt of Turner at 4 p.m., while Doughty’s EM Class A champion Skowhegan Indians will face Scarborough in a battle of 17-0 teams at 6 p.m.
The Class C championship game between Eastern winner Winthrop, 15-1-1, and Western champ Lisbon, 16-0-1, will begin the three-game day at 2 p.m.
Skowhegan will be gunning for its 11th state title in 12 years, while Belfast will be looking to defend its crown.
“We’re very ritualistic and very superstitious,” said Doughty. “We do things the same way every year. We don’t change.”
Holmes also said they will stick to a routine that has earned him seven state championships and 13 EM titles.
There will be a different twist this year for the 64-year-old Holmes, who is in his 40th year at Belfast.
The Lions will be facing somebody they played during the regular season, having beaten Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference rival Leavitt 2-0 on Oct. 2.
Belfast has an advantage in that Leavitt hasn’t been to a state-title game since 1997 while the Lions had a half-dozen girls get playing time in last year’s state-final win over York.
“We’d like to score first. They might be a little in awe and have some butterflies,” said Holmes. “By scoring first, it wouldn’t let them generate any momentum.”
Belfast’s strength is up the middle, an emphasis that Holmes credited former Belfast baseball and basketball assistant coach Don Vachon with teaching him.
The Lions have been led by central midfielder and captain Katrina Lapham, goalkeeper Julia Ward and forward Maddy Cummings, who is in the 20-goal range, Holmes said.
Leavitt features Meagan Dow, Emily Shaw, Sadie Royer, Bri DeGone and goalkeeper Sierra Santomango.
The Skowhegan-Scarborough matchup is intriguing.
Skowhegan has won 52 straight games since losing to Scarborough, 2-1, in the 2009 state final.
The Indians have scored 144 goals this season, while Scarborough hasn’t allowed a goal.
“I imagine it will be a good game,” said Doughty. “They’re undefeated and haven’t allowed a goal. That’s pretty good.”
Skowhegan has allowed just two goals, both to Messalonskee of Oakland, including one in the 2-1 EM title-game triumph.
Doughty said her team “will play the same way we do all the time. We don’t change it up for anybody. It has worked for us over the years.”
Her Indians are aggressive, highly-skilled, attack-oriented and give opponents very little time or space with the ball.
Senior forward Makela Michonski has scored nine playoff goals and more than 30 on the year for Skowhegan, and the Indians, according to Doughty, have “seven or eight kids who have scored 10 or more goals.”
Midfielder Sarah Finnemore and defenders A.J. Martineau and Mikayla Toth are among other standouts, along with goalie Anne-Marie Provencal. Sophomore Renee Wright and freshman Brooke Michonski, Makaela’s sister, scored against Messalonskee.
Scarborough features Katie Granzier, Grace Whalen, Emily Bunting, Abby and Ellen Walker, Rachael Wallace and goalie Shannon Hicks.
In the Class C game, Winthrop will be looking for its first state championship since 1989, while Lisbon has never won a title.
Winthrop lost to North Yarmouth Academy 1-0 in last year’s final.