Each time the Skowhegan Area High School field hockey team wins a state championship, the players pose for a photo on one of the town’s fire trucks. Those photos are lined up on the firehouse wall and space is becoming an issue.
The Indians added a 15th Class A state championship Saturday when they defeated Scarborough 3-0. The title was the 11th in the last 12 years for Skowhegan and the third in a row. The team last lost a game in 2009 when Scarborough beat them in the state championship game.
The statistics for this year’s team were staggering. It scored a state record 147 goals while allowing just two. But you won’t hear any of those numbers when coach Paula Doughty and her staff host players in grades 7-12 for their annual field hockey banquet in two weeks.
“We don’t even talk about it,” Doughty said. “We talk about the fun we’ve had.”
You can be sure Doughty will know every player at the banquet. Sunday, a day after winning the state championship, she attended a youth field hockey tournament.
“My little sister was playing today and I saw her there,” Skowhegan senior Makaela Michonski said. “I first met her in fifth grade. She came to one of our games.”
Doughty credits her staff and many of the people who have supported the program over the years, but she’s been the one constant for the past 32 seasons.
“She helps us on and off the field,” senior Sarah Finnemore said. “She’s a nice and caring person. She’s just a great coach all around.”
Finnemore and Michonski were team captains along with AJ Martineau and all are involved in the program as leaders and coaches to many of the players coming up through the ranks.
“As high school players, we all coach the younger kids in the off-season,” Finnemore said. “They want to get involved.”
The team also attends camps and clinics, plays in a winter indoor league and is a fairly cohesive unit by the time the season starts.
“We work year-round,” Michonski said. “Our communication this year was better than ever.”
Doughty said every team she’s coached is ‘pretty unique,’ and called this year’s group a scoring machine. The fact that Scarborough had not allowed a goal all season was not a point of emphasis going into the game.
“We didn’t even talk about it,” Doughty said. “I knew they were going to score, there was no doubt in my mind.”
Finnemore scored two goals and Michonski one, all within a three-minute span in the second half. The Indians finished with 25 shots and 13 penalty corners but one goal would have been enough since they didn’t allow previously unbeaten Scarborough a shot on goal.
“This team is obviously a scoring machine, but we had a strong defense,” Doughty said. “I don’t think we allowed 20 shots all season.”
The Indians graduate seven seniors and Doughty is already saying next year could be a tough one. Don’t count on it. Assistant coach Fawn Haney planned on having her baby two weeks after the season was over, but it turned out she gave birth to a daughter, Claire, just a few hours after Skowhegan won the state title.
“We’ve got another field hockey Indian,” Doughty said.
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638