Skowhegan senior captain Brooke Michonski returned to the field last Thursday after missing the first seven games of the season due to a concussion.

Michonski, who finished with 23 goals and 16 assists last season, played about half the game against Brunswick, according to Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty.

“She’s not in shape yet,” Doughty said. “She ran over the weekend and (Monday) she felt a lot better.”

Michonski was prohibited from training while recovering from a concussion sustained in a preseason game against Winslow. Doughty didn’t see the play that injured Michonski and was unaware she had a concussion until she complained of headaches a couple of days later.

“With Brooke it was a fluke,” Doughty said. “They did an aerial (pass) and it bounced right off the top of her head as she was running downfield.”

Three of Skowhegan’s players sustained some form of concussion last season. Doughty isn’t sure if this is due more to awareness of concussion these days or unusual circumstances. It wasn’t much of a factor when she began coaching 35 years ago.

“If they did (have a concussion) I don’t think we knew it,” she said.

The Indians went 6-1 n Michonski’s absence, losing just to unbeaten Messalonskee. They play the Eagles again at the end of the season in Skowhegan.

“The younger kids had to step up,” Doughty said. “We got through it all right.”

Having Michonski back, though, is invaluable. Not only is she an excellent playmaker but she’s a team leader.

“Brooke leads by example,” Doughty added. “We’re really, really young. Everybody looks up to her.”

• • •

The Cony/Gardiner field hockey healthy rivalry remains alive thanks to the annual Drive Out Cancer game, which was played Saturday in Augusta.

The teams now play in different classes and their only meeting comes at the annual game that raises money for the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.

This was the seventh meeting between the teams for the annual cause and it ended in a scoreless, double-overtime tie.

“They do get so pumped up for this game,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “It was really an intense, hard-fought game, one of the more intense we’ve had.”

Although the final tally won’t come until the end of the week, Daigle said the goal was to raise about $3,500, some of which was raised by players from both teams through raffles and other means.

Cony sophomore Jackie Carlton was in goal for the Rams and is gaining confidence, Daigle said. Carlton took over for sophomore starter Jessica Lee after Lee was injured in pregame warmup 10 days ago. Lee’s injury, to her kneecap, may be a little more serious than first suspected. She’s due for an MRI this week.

“I’m afraid we might be looking at a few weeks,” Daigle said.

• • •

Gardiner senior Bri Brochu is the sort of athlete any coach would welcome on her team. Brochu, a star on the softball field, took up field hockey just last year and spent a year on the junior varsity team learning how to play the game.

“It was something to do in the fall season to keep in shape,” Brochu said. “I love it. It was hard to pick up at first.”

Brochu is now a starting forward on an unbeaten team and gives the Tigers a strong, athletic option in the front line.

“She’s got great speed and good eye-hand coordination,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said. “Her family from Cony had been trying to get her to play for years, She has made huge strides. We’re pretty pleased with her.”

• • •

After an opening day loss to Mountain Valley, Oak Hill reeled off seven straight victories, including Monday’s 2-1 comeback win against St. Dominic. The Raiders were one of the surprise teams in the Mountain Valley Conference last season, finishing at 15-1-1, but only returned four starters.

Had some big shoes to fill,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said.”It’s a young team, they didn’t get a lot of time last year.”

Gilbert added, though, that this is the strongest, most mentally focused team she’s ever coached.

Defense is the team’s strength and not surprisingly, three of the four returning starters — goalie Abby Fuller, Brooke Surette and Lexi Fuller — play defense, along with Makayla Nadeau.

“Two of our defenders have actually scored (not on penalty corner) this year,” Gilbert said.

The Raiders face a big test Friday when they play at once-beaten Dirigo. The teams are ranked first and second, respectively, in Class C South. They also played a double overtime game earlier this fall, with Oak Hill squeaking out the win.

“We’re both very equally matched,” Gilbert said.

• • •

Kents Hill opens its season today at home against Hebron Academy and coach Katie Petrillo is excited about her team’s prospects. The Huskies, who finished runner-up for the MAISAD championship last season, return 10 players, including five seniors.

“We’re really excited about this year,” said Petrillo, who is joined by co-coach Laura Friedman. “We have a lot of experience and we have a bench which is nice.”

The Huskies have 24 players, including four from Germany and two from South Africa. The five returning seniors — Sophie Boulet, Paige and Cameron Frawley, Sarah Dube and Amy Dehaas — are all day students at the private school from central Maine. Boulet is starting her fourth year in goal while the Frawley twins play forward. Dube and Dehaas are midfielders.

Petrillo has been encouraged by the play of South African Jo Blankensee. Three of the German students are also experienced players, although none of the newcomers has played a game yet with their teammates.

“That’s certainly one of the challenges,” Petrillo said.

One advantage the Huskies have this season, unlike a year ago, is eight of their 11 games are on home turf.

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