SKOWHEGAN — There may be bigger things in store for Messalonskee’s talented field hockey team, but Thursday the Eagles took time out to celebrate a significant milestone.

For the first time in school history they finished unbeaten in the regular season, knocking off rival and perennial Class A power Skowhegan 3-1.

“It’s really just kind of like the cherry on top of the cake,” said Messalonskee senior forward Emily Hogan, who scored two goals. “I don’t think this has ever happened for Messalonskee field hockey and it just shows that hard work pays off, and I know that every single one of our players and Skowhegan’s worked their hardest (Tuesday).”

The Eagles finished 14-0-0 and will be the top seed in the Class A North tournament. Skowhegan (12-2-0) will enter the postseason as the No 2 seed after losing to Messalonskee twice in the regular season.

The shift in the balance is definitive if not seismic as the Eagles won their fourth straight decision over the Indians. To that point, Skowhegan had owned every one in the region — as well as the state — having won 12 of the last 14 state championships.

“It’s kind of hung over our heads for years,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said. “Being such a big game and always being worried to lose and having to get over that hump of winning big games against Skowhegan. That took a lot to get where we are today.”

The Eagles took a decisive 3-0 victory against the Indians early in the season but Thursday’s game was much closer. Skowhegan came out quickly and scored a goal with just under four minutes gone in the first half when sophomore Julia Steeves found the back of the cage following a penalty corner. Haley Thebarge drew the assist.

“That was the first time we’ve been down all season,” McLaughlin said. “That said a lot about our team being able to come back after being behind.”

The goal was just the second allowed by the Eagles all year, the last coming Sept. 8 against Mt. Blue.

Hogan evened the score six minutes later when she redirected a pass from Haley Lowell following a penalty corner.

“Haley had an amazing shot from the top and I was just sitting on post and it tipped off my stick and in,” Hogan said.

The Eagles made it 2-1 later in the half. Leah Kruse finished with 15 saves and got help from sweeper Haley Carter, who made three goal-saving clears.

“Leah Kruse is amazing,” Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said.

Doughty was pleased with her team’s effort despite Messalonskee holding a 12-9 edge in penalty corners and shots.

“We are coming,” Doughty said. “They had more shots and that’s the key. We’re really young in critical places and they’re seasoned in critical places. We know we still have stuff to work on but I walk away from this game feeling much more confident going into the tournament.”

A key for the Eagles was their play at midfield with Ally Corbett, Lowell and Riley Field controlling much of the play.

“Haley, Riley and I were on the same club team,” Corbett said. “So just playing out of season helps build the chemistry. We’re just really good at talking with each other.”

Hogan made it 3-1 seven minutes into the second half with a hard shot from 20 feet away.

“It was right around the stroke area and it hit the five hole,” Hogan said.

Unlike the first meeting, the Indians responded with a strong effort that produced four straight penalty corners and good scoring chances.


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