YARMOUTH — The defending three-time state champion Skowhegan High School field hockey team found itself uncharacteristically under siege in the first five minutes of Saturday’s state Class A championship game against Scarborough.
But junior right back Tori Mullin prevented the Indians from facing their first deficit of the year 30 seconds into the game by clearing a Kristen Murray shot just before it crossed the goal line and the Indians eventually took control of the game en route to a hard-fought 4-1 victory.
It was Skowhegan’s 12th state title in 13 years. The Indians have won 75 straight games since losing to Scarborough in the 2009 state title final.
Skowhegan finished 18-0 while Scarborough concluded a 16-1-1 season.
First-half goals by Miss Maine Field Hockey finalist Allison Lancaster and junior Rylie Blanchet and second-half goals by Renee Wright and Logan LeBlanc supplied the Indians with a 4-0 lead before Murray scored a well-deserved goal late in the game.
Murray said Mullin’s defensive save could well have been a game-changer.
“It could have been a different outcome because they don’t know what it’s like to be behind,” said Murray.
“That (save) was beyond huge,” said Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty. “Tori had the best game of her life today.”
“You just have to react (in that situation),” said Mullin.
Lancaster opened the scoring off a penalty corner with 12:35 left in the half.
Brooke Michonski inserted the ball to the top of the circle where Lancaster corralled it, maneuvered around a defender and took a shot that bounced between the pads of Scarborough goalie Alyssa Souza.
“I was just trying to get the shot off. I pushed it off the tip of my stick,” said Lancaster who acknowledged that she didn’t get a lot of zip on the shot.
Another penalty corner resulted in Blanchet’s goal.
Michonski inserted the ball to LeBlanc whose initial shot was blocked by a Scarborough stick.
The ball came back to LeBlanc and she fired it across the far post where the unattended Blanchet converted with 1:55 remaining in the half.
“I saw it coming and just tipped it in,” said Blanchet. “That goal set us up for the rest of the game.”
Blanchet went from scorer to provider 7:41 into the second half when she set up Michonski six yards from the cage.
Michonski had three whacks only to be denied each time by Souza. The alert Michonski regained the ball after Souza’s third save and fed a short pass to Wright, who deposited it into the exposed net.
Blanchet set up the fourth goal with another goalmouth pass that bounced over the stick of Lauren LeBlanc to her sister Logan, who tucked it in the short side.
Murray broke the shutout bid when she took a pass from Ashley Levesque and swept the ball past Leah Kruse on the right side of the circle.
Kruse, who was rarely tested this season, finished with seven saves on 18 shots in a strong performance with Mullin and Holly Lupo contributing defensive saves.
Souza wound up with 16 saves on 32 shots.
“That was the most misunderstood loss I’ve ever had. We were right in it. It could have gone either way,” said Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello.
Abby Walker was a constant threat for the Red Storm.