YARMOUTH, Maine — Stephanie Smith was a three-sport star at Foxcroft Academy and was inducted into the academy’s athletic Hall of Fame.
But Smith, who played field hockey, basketball and softball, never got the opportunity to play in a state championship game.
She will get a chance to coach in one for the first time on Saturday when her Eastern Maine champion Foxcroft Academy field hockey team, 16-0-1, takes on Western Maine titlist North Yarmouth Academy, 14-2-1, at 2 p.m. at Yarmouth High School.
That will be the middle of the three state finals as Skowhegan, 17-0, kicks off the day by playing Scarborough, 16-0-1, in Saturday’s Class A opener at noon. Skowhegan will be looking for its 12th state title in 13 years, and the only team to disrupt the dynasty was Scarborough in 2009.
Since that loss, Skowhegan has won 74 consecutive games and three state titles.
The Class B final will take place 4 p.m., with Nokomis of Newport taking on York in a battle of 17-0 teams. Nokomis and York met in the 2010 state game with Nokomis triumphing 2-0. It will be York’s eighth appearance in the state “B” game in 10 years, but it has won just once, 1-0 over Nokomis in 2008.
Foxcroft last played in a state final in 2010, losing to NYA 1-0. NYA will be making its fifth state appearance in six years, and it has captured the crown in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Smith said she isn’t nervous yet.
“I have a lot of confidence in our players. This is a great opportunity for them,” said Smith. “I’m looking forward to the competition.”
The Ponies have plenty of standouts such as leading scorer Julia Annis (21 goals), but in order for a team to reach a state game, there must also be some unsung heroes. Smith said two are sophomore left wing Madison Fadley and junior right back Abby Simmons.
Fadley played sporadically a year ago but has become a regular this season and scored the game-winner in the 1-0 victory over Winslow in the Eastern Maine final. Simmons had scored the game-winner following a coast-to-coast dash in the second overtime of their 2-1 semifinal win over Mount View of Thorndike.
“Madison had a tremendous game against Winslow. She came into this season really wanting to play more, and she has worked hard throughout the season. She has become a scorer for us, and she brings the ball up the field very well,” said Smith. “She is a real strong defender who has had countless [defensive] saves.”
Another unsung hero has been junior goalkeeper Brianna Skolfield, who transferred from Central High in Corinth and has allowed only one goal. She made 17 saves in their three playoff wins.
“She is a natural athlete who knows what it takes to win,” said Smith.
NYA features goalkeeper Elizabeth Coughlin, who made 21 saves in the 2-1 win over Lisbon in the Western final.
Coach Paula Doughty’s Skowhegan Indians have outscored their opponents 124-2. Allison Lancaster has scored in all three playoff games, while Renee Wright, Brooke Michonski and Rylie Blanchet have fueled the attack.
Abby Walker, Maggie Carbin and Rachel Wallace have been Scarborough’s catalysts.
Senior forward Drew Graves has been clutch for Katie Thompson’s Nokomis Warriors in the playoffs, scoring four goals, including a late game-tying goal and a game-winner. Back Taylor Shaw and midfielders Kayla Braley and Kirsten Costedio have been instrumental in the Warriors allowing just one postseason goal.
Taylor Simpson and Kathleen Cronin have combined for seven playoff goals for York.