SKOWHEGAN — This is a little bit different of a Skowhegan field hockey team this year.

Beating Oxford Hills 5-0 on Thursday? Well, OK, that’s very Skowhegan-like. But one reason the Indians have won 12 state championships in the last 13 years is that their star players have stayed healthy. Since Zara Saydjari missed the 2006 season with a knee injury, Skowhegan has not had a superstar miss extended time.

On Thursday, standout goalie Leah Kruse was still recovering from appendicitis, and center midfielder Rylie Blanchet was out with a concussion. The Indians outshot Oxford Hills 26-2, senior forward Renee Wright scored four goals, and Brooke Michonski and Cassidy Clement combined for five assists.

“We have a lot of new players on the team, some in new positions,” Wright said. “You gotta talk so you know where they are. Yeah, we’re used to having those people there, but we have others, and they’re coming out strong. They’re doing a really good job filling in.”

For much of the first half, Skowhegan (8-1) was thwarted by Oxford Hills goalie Shannon Fillebrown, who made several spectacular stops and had 18 saves overall. Although the Vikings (5-4) crowded the defensive circle, Skowhegan had numerous high-quality shots, only to have Fillebrown boot, bat, or otherwise shoo them away. The Indians led only 2-0 at the half on goals by Wright and Lauren LeBlanc.

“Coach (Paula) Doughty talked to us, and she said that we’ve been shooting at the goalie — and we knew that,” Wright said. “So it really was just us looking at our other options that we had.”


Wright scored all three Skowhegan goals in the second half. She bounced one inside the right post with 17:43 left, dribbled around Fillebrown for another goal at 14:44, and finally drilled home a high bullet with 6:10 to go.

Skowhegan’s goalie on Thursday was freshman Shynya Boston, who made two saves. Boston is moving with her family to New Jersey on Friday, which means sophomore Kelsey Thaller is Skowhegan’s only goalie who is experienced, healthy, and living in Maine.

“She’s our JV goalie,” Doughty said. “She just started this year, but she’s been working hard. It really depends on Leah’s situation. If I have to try to find another kid to back her up, I will. We’re going to do what we have to do.”

Doughty said she hopes Blanchet can return by early next week. As Doughty pointed out, the Indians were like a machine in recent years, but this year it’s taking a little more elbow grease from Doughty and assistant Tammie Veinotte to keep the machine rolling.

“I’m really, really proud of these kids,” Doughty said. “As young as they are, anything Tammie and I have asked them to do, they’ve just tried to do it. I put them in all these strange places they haven’t played before, and they’ve really stepped it up. All I can say is I hope it works for us.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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