Foxcroft Academy field hockey coach Stephanie Smith is enjoying her first state championship as a player or a coach.
The former three-sports star at Foxcroft Academy played in one Eastern Maine final only to lose to Stephanie Carter’s Schenck High School team in the 1987 basketball final.
“We had beaten them twice during the regular season,” said Smith.
Smith felt her team played much better in the 1-0 win in the state C final Saturday than it did in the 1-0 win over Winslow in the regional final.
“Saturday was more reflective of how our season was than the Eastern Maine final,” she said.
The good news for Smith and bad news for her opponents is eight starters return next season, although she is quick to point out that seniors Emily Higgins, Mackenzie Coiley and Amber Anderson will be hard to replace. Coiley and Anderson were midfielders while Higgins was a forward.
“They were senior captains who have been great leaders. The other girls looked up to them and they set the tempo in practice and games. They’re going to be a big loss,” said Smith.
But three of the team’s offensive catalysts, Julia Annis, Madison Fadley and Fern Morrison, will be seniors as will midfielders Aliviah King and Jenny Boyer, defenders Avery Carroll and Abby Simmons and goalie Brianna Skolfield.
Skolfield, who played field hockey in Dover-Foxcroft until transferring to Central of Corinth for two years, had a huge impact in her return to Foxcroft.
“We felt very comfortable with her in the goal cage. She was a positive role model in the defensive half of the field,” said Smith.
Skolfield allowed one goal all year and made two great saves, including one on a clean breakaway, in the state title game.
Smith also said she was pleased for former coach Gene Philpot, who built the program before leaving two years ago. Philpot attended nearly all the games, said Smith.
Nokomis balance was key
Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said her state Class B championship team, which beat York 1-0 in Saturday’s final, was much different than her 2010 state title team.
“We had some star players in 2010,” said Thompson, referring to Marissa Shaw, Leah Edmondson and Jordan McInnis. “This team was more balanced. It was well-rounded around the field. We had six seniors who were strong players and strong leaders and they were spread out on the whole field.”
Drew Graves and Lindsay Whitney were two key offensive components; Kayla Braley was important in the midfield; Taylor Shaw and Kelsey Kerstetter anchored the back line and Kendra Underhill was a three-year starter in goal.
Libby Dunivan and Kamryn Foss will return in the back; Mikayla Pelkey will be a returning starting forward and Kirsten Costedio and Mikayla Charters will headline the midfield.