In 2008, Winslow lost in the Eastern B field hockey final, after two overtimes and 15 rounds of penalty corners. It took the Black Raiders five years to get back to the regional final, and last fall, they lost 1-0 to Foxcroft in the game that decided the Eastern C championship.

“Especially after last year, I thought, ‘Maybe it’s just not meant to happen,'” Winslow coach Mary-Beth Bourgoin said. “But I had to believe that with the crew I had coming back — they literally let it burn in them from last year to this year — they were pretty focused.”

With the memory of that loss motivating them all season, Bourgoin and the Black Raiders finished 17-0-1, and defeated Lisbon for the school’s first state field hockey title since 2002. That makes Bourgoin the choice as the Morning Sentinel Field Hockey Coach of the Year. Skowhegan’s Paula Doughty and Lawrence’s Shawna Robinson were also considered.

“She’s a really awesome coach,” Winslow senior Brooke Haskell said. “She always pushes us to do our best. Sometimes she might get hard on us, but she’s always looking ahead, and sees what’s in front of us and what we can do.”

Bourgoin often referred to that Foxcroft game, but Haskell said the coach struck the right balance between revenge and focusing on what they needed to do to win.

“She brought it up, not a lot, but to fuel our fire: ‘You remember that feeling last year. You don’t want that to happen again,'” Haskell said. “She said it quite a few times, but not enough to overwhelm us — just the right amount to put it in our heads that we need to go farther than we did last year.”

Winslow started this season 4-0, outscoring its opponents, 18-2. The fifth game was at home against Spruce Mountain, and ended up going into overtime.

“The turning point was the Spruce Mountain game,” Bourgoin said. “There are things I don’t allow on the field. They need to be good to each other. I don’t like the chippiness, and it got really bad. I took a timeout, and I said, ‘Girls, we’re not doing this. We’ve got to work through these changes.’ At that point on, they were a different team, and they said, ‘Yup. She’s right. We have to do this.'”

Bourgoin also told her players to have fun, and to find the joy in the game — especially because for some of them, this would be their last season playing competitive field hockey.

“Before that game, we were still trying to figure out who we were as a team,” Haskell said. “We pushed through the problems on our team, and after that game, we looked ahead to the big picture, and what we needed to do.”

Winslow won that game, 2-1, and two days later, tied Leavitt 0-0 in double overtime. The Black Raiders then won the rest of their games in the regular season, but it was far from easy. Winslow squeaked by Gardiner, and needed overtime to beat Mount View on the road.

“It was challenging, because we never knew what was going to happen in what game,” Bourgoin said. “So our focus became, ‘You can’t worry about what’s coming at you. You can’t control who the ref is. You can only control the way you play.’ I knew they had the potential.”

After defeating Mattanawcook in the quarterfinals, Winslow faced Mount View again in the semis. This was where Winslow’s run came closest to ending. Mount View stopped a penalty stroke in the second half, but Winslow ended up taking a 2-1 win in overtime on a goal by Jess Greeley.

“It was our toughest game in the playoffs, and I knew it was going to be,” Bourgoin said. “Our girls love playing each other. After that game, I was like, ‘Oh, that could have gone either way,’ and whoever was going to win that game was going to be the one to go.”

Winslow then beat Dexter and Lisbon to win the state title. By design, those two weren’t Winslow’s toughest opponents this fall. Winslow annually scrimmages Skowhegan and Messalonskee — two of the top teams in Class A — and in preseason this year played eventual Class B state champion York. The Black Raiders actually played Skowhegan in four different scrimmages or exhibition games, and at some point, they played all the teams in every state final except Scarborough.

The fact that Skowhegan and Messalonskee would want to scrimmage the Black Raiders each fall says a lot about Bourgoin and the Winslow program. That kind of program is a tradition she intends to continue.

“I don’t see myself stopping any year or any time soon,” Bourgoin said. “I’ve got some wonderful young players. I love working with my rec kids on Sundays. It’s fun. And I’ve learned to enjoy the happiness of coaching during the season. I’ve had so much fun the last two or three years, just being in the moment, enjoying every part of it. It’s just the day-to-day thing, being happy doing what I’m doing.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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