WATERVILLE — The Skowhegan Area High School field hockey team played most of Tuesday night’s Class A North championship game in its own zone, holding off a relentless Messalonskee attack. When the Indians did get a chance to score, however, they made the most of it.

Freshman Lizzy York’s goal with 14.4 seconds left in overtime lifted No. 2 Skowhegan to a 2-1 win over previously undefeated Messalonskee, a team Skowhegan lost to twice in the regular season.

“These kids improved more than any team I’ve had my whole life, from the beginning of the season to the end,” Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said.

The win gave Skowhegan (15-2) its 15th consecutive regional title. The Indians will face Thornton Academy of Saco in the Class A state championship game at noon on Saturday at the University of Maine in Orono. Top-seed Messalonskee ends the season at 16-1.

Skowhegan withstood consistent pressure from the Eagles, who had six penalty corners in the second half and three more in overtime. In the final minute of overtime, however, the Indians were able to break out of their own zone. With under 20 seconds left, Haley Thebarge sent a pass across the middle. York, who had just checked into the game, was able to slip the ball past Messalonskee goalie Hannah Pinney for the game winner.

“I was just looking for whatever I could get, anywhere,” York said. “We definitely were more intense than we were (previously against Messalonskee).”

Skowhegan’s defensive effort was led by senior goalie Leah Kruse, who made 11 saves, including many in the key second half, when the Eagles tried to break the 1-1 tie.

“We played amazing defense today. It was on our half (of the field) most of the time. We didn’t get many chances,” Kruse said.

Added Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin: “Leah’s an incredible goalie. We just could not finish on those posts today. For the most part, we really dominated that game. We just couldn’t finish.”

After losing to Messalonskee twice in the regular season, 3-0 and 3-1, Doughty said her team focused on defense in the practices leading up to Tuesday’s game.

“It paid off. We made mistakes, but we just kept coming back at them and coming back at them,” Doughty said. “After they scored, we didn’t let down. Earlier in the year, when they came back and scored on us, we dropped.”

Skowhegan took a 1-0 lead when Thebarge scored on a penalty corner with 24:28 left in the first half. The Eagles tied the game with 7:44 left in the first half, when Haley Lowell scored with an assist from Emily Hogan on a penalty corner.

Messalonskee dominated play for most of the second half. Skowhegan didn’t have its first shot of the second half until there was seven minutes left, and Brooke Michonski’s shot went high over the Messalonskee cage.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMT

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