Skowhegan High School field hockey is one of the best athletic programs in the state, in any sport.
The Indians are the defending state champions in Class A and they are poised to make a run at another.
Paula Doughty has guided Skowhegan to 10 state championships in the last 11 years and 11 in the last 14 seasons. She is beginning her 31st year with the program.
Skowhegan will look to build on its 36-game winning streak when it opens the season at Mount Ararat of Topsham on Aug. 30.
“I think we’re going to have a good year,” said Doughty. “We have a mix of experience and youth. We’ve got a lot of good athletes and they all have pretty good skills. We’re strong and deep in every position.”
“The outlook is good,” agreed senior midfielder Sarah Finnemore. “We all work pretty well together. We lost some players but we’ve added some new ones this year and everyone is fitting in.”
Senior forward Makaela Michonski said there is a lot of pressure on the team with the 36-game winning streak, but they won’t dwell on it.
“As long as we have fun, that’s all that matters,” said Michonski. “We’ve come a long way so far. It’s gone pretty well. We’re working hard.”
Michonski and Finnemore are two of the reasons Skowhegan has to be considered a favorite to win its fourth state title in five years. However, the Indians graduated Miss Maine Field Hockey winner Nicole Sevey, who had 11 goals and 19 assists as an attacking midfielder, and Miss Maine Field Hockey finalist Jessie Skillings, a forward who had 27 & 17. Both are playing at the University of Maine.
Michonski is coming off a season in which she scored 33 goals and added seven assists.
Finnemore had 22 goals and 16 assists as the Indians scored 113 goals in 18 games.
Michonski and Finnemore are two of the seven seniors who will figure prominently for the Indians.
The Indians allowed only 10 goals last fall and their back line could be even better than last year with seniors Mikayla Bolduc, Erica Blake and Adrianna Martineau returning along with Gabrielle Tenan and goalkeeper Ann Marie Provencal.
Tenan will also see some duty in the midfield.
Juniors Heather Lupo and Mikayla Toth provide quality in the back and speedy Holly Lupo, Heather’s twin, can either play in the back or the midfield. Junior Hanna Landry, sophomore Tori Mullen and freshman Mattea Powers are other viable options on defense.
Finnemore and junior Allison Lancaster (5 & 9) headline a potent midfield along with Tenan, Holly Lupo and juniors Logan LeBlanc and Alana Wacomb.
Michonski will have an exceptional and deep supporting cast with her up front led by Renee Wright (6 & 9 as a freshman in 2011). Junior Zoey Gleason, sophomore Rylie Blanchett and freshmen Brooke Machonski, Lauren LeBlanc and Cassidy Clement are the other forwards looking to make an impact.
Freshman Leah Kruse will back up Provencal in the cage.
Makaela Michonski said she is excited to be playing with her sister and would like to improve on last year’s production.
“This is my last year in high school and I want to do my best,” said Michonski.
Doughty said she loves coaching this team.
“They’re great kids. They never complain and they’re a very hardworking team,” said Doughty. “They’re very determined and focused in a quiet way.”
Michonski and Finnemore said the school’s field hockey success has a lot to do with Doughty.
“She’s a great coach. She helps you off the field as well as on the field,” said Finnemore. “She always makes sure we’re having fun.”
“We all love her,” said Michonski.