ORONO — A quick breakout goal by Thornton Academy threatened to disrupt a dominating defensive effort by Skowhegan in Saturday’s Class A field hockey state championship, so Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty called a timeout to put what had suddenly gone from a two-goal to a one-goal lead into perspective.

“It’s hard when you haven’t had a shot all game to get a fastbreak like that,” said Doughty, whose team had indeed held the Golden Trojans without a shot up to that point. “I called a timeout just to say to them, ‘You know, that stuff happens.'”

And in Class A field hockey, Skowhegan state championships happen — very frequently. The Indians quickly gained control again and won its 13th state title in the last 15 years, and 16th overall, with a 3-1 victory at Morse Field on the campus of the University of Maine.

Brooke Michonski scored two goals and Lauren LeBlanc the third for Skowhegan (16-2), which outshot the Trojans, 8-2, and had nine penalty corners to Thornton’s two.

“Over the summer, we knew we had a lot to work on, so we worked on it,” said Michonski, a senior forward. “All throughout our season, we kept progressing and progressing to get us to where we are right now.”

The Indians held the Trojans (15-3), who were playing in their first state game in school history, without a shot for the first 48-plus minutes.

Skowhegan goalie Leah Kruse got a pad on that first shot, a backhander coming in transition from the left wing by Libby Pomerleau, but the ball squirted to a trailing Taylor Ouellette, who punched it in to cut the Indians’ lead in half, 2-1, with 11:28 remaining.

Skowhegan regained control following the timeout and its two-goal lead a short time later when LeBlanc carried a free hit into the top right of the circle. The Trojans were slow to challenge the senior midfielder, and she fired a shot from 11 yards out past goalie Isabella Capozzi and inside the right post with 6:45 to go.

“I thought maybe they’d come get me but then I realized that they weren’t so I just kept going and shot for the corner,” LeBlanc said.

“I think they did a great job settling and getting back into it,” Doughty said. “I think that timeout was really important.”

Moments later, the Trojans earned their first penalty corner of the game, but did not muster another shot the rest of the afternoon.

“Our defense definitely keeps us in these games. It’s been phenomenal this year,” Michonski said.

Doughty argued the Indians have had better efforts this season and were still feeling the affects of Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win over Messalonskee in the regional final. But attention to detail all season gave them the advantage Saturday.

“We practice defense a lot,” she said. “I think a lot of teams focus on offense, and we practice just as diligently on defense as we do offense and it pays off.”

“Skowhegan plays the same way year after year — aggressive goalie, really strong hits, fundamentally sound on their stops,” Thornton coach Lorali Smith said. “I wasn’t surprised. My team might have been a little bit just because we don’t play a team that is that fundamentally sound.”

Skowhegan controlled play from the start of the first half and got on the board about midway through when Michonski collected a deflected shot in front of the cage and beat Capozzi to the far post.

“Brooke is one of those players that she just stays so calm,” Doughty said. “She’s just so reserved and she gets the job done and she’s not flamboyant.”

Michonski showed some flash on her second goal with some outstanding stick work and quick wrists, weaving through three Thornton defenders in the circle before uncorking a quick strike into the cage with 2:11 remaining in the half.

“I knew I just had to keep on dodging and just had to keep going for the cage so I could get the shot,” Michonski said.

The Indians were hoping for another shot at a state title after last year’s crushing defeat at the hands of Scarborough, which scored the game’s only goal with 2.1 seconds left in regulation

“We finally just put it behind us and did what we had to do,” LeBlanc said. “We really worked over the offseason trying to get us forming together. By the time the season starts, we’re usually all in sync together.”

Getting everyone in sync was a little more challenging this year, Doughty explained.

“We have seven freshmen and couple of sophomores,” she said. “I think for the seniors maybe, it was hard to lose it in the last (two) seconds.”

“But I think our expectation every year is to get to the state game,” she added. “Simple as that.”

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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