BANGOR — Maine Central Institute’s Kali Doiron had an understandable reaction when asked how she felt about making history after helping the Huskies win their first state field hockey championship on Saturday.

“It’s unexplainable,” the senior forward said. “I have no words.”

Becoming the first in school history to win a title is bound to leave anyone speechless. The same can happen to those contemplating Skowhegan’s dynasty in Class A.

MCI collected its first field hockey title with a 2-0 win over Oak Hill in Class C on Saturday at the University of Maine. Earlier in the day, Skowhegan won its 16th Class A title and 13th in the last 15 years with its 3-1 win over Thornton Academy.

The two programs have different resumes, but in 2015, there were some striking similarities, too.

Both Skowhegan and MCI were No. 2 seeds in their respective regions. Both knocked off the top seed in their regional championship games by a 2-1 score. Both controlled play for the vast majority of the 60 minutes in their state title triumphs.

“Just working together and being one, giving it our all,” said MCI sophomore forward Addi Williams, who scored the Huskies’ first goal.

“We’re really strong at working together,” said Skowhegan senior midfielder Lauren LeBlanc, who scored the Indians’ third goal. “We work on getting everyone together and making this a team.”

The Huskies had eight seniors, the Indians five. Both had some holes to fill from strong teams in 2014. Both also had to get the more inexperienced players up to speed while playing very tough schedules.

“This team is a real mix of youth and experience,” Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said. “We have two or three seniors that are pretty experienced and we have some really strong freshman and sophomore players. All year long, it’s been a struggle trying to get those two to get together and keep their nerves.”

The Indians lost their second game of the season to a familiar nemesis, Messalonskee. They righted themselves with wins against Hampden, Mt. Blue and Cony and seemed to be hitting their stride when they suffered another setback at the Eagles’ hands in the season finale.

Blowout wins over Hampden and Cony led to a third match with Messalonskee in the regional final. Skowhegan spent most of that game trying to ward off a relentless Messalonskee attack, before Lizzie York’s goal late in overtime secured their 15th consecutive state championship appearance.

Doughty said after that win that this year’s team improved the most of any in her 35 seasons. After winning the state title, she explained what made this year’s team reach the level of so many that came before it.

“I have a wonderful coaching staff (Norma Boynton, Tammie Veinotte, Fawn Haynie and Kim Leo), and they don’t get enough credit,” Doughty said. “People come back into the program that have been with me — I’ve been here so long that people come back — and they know what the system’s like. They volunteer and they help. It helps a lot.”

“We expect a lot,” Doughty said. “I’m old school. Sometimes, the younger coaches think that I’m getting soft. But we’re very old school. We have a good work ethic and we have a lot of responsibilities. We have a routine. I’m big on routines and expectations, and I think in the long run it pays off.”

MCI coach Nancy Hughes has often preached about the long-term payoff her Class C team gets from playing in a Class B league, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference.

The Huskies battled through a schedule that included Northern B champion Winslow (a 2-1 win), Spruce Mountain, Lawrence, Gardiner and Belfast to a 10-4 record.

A minefield like that can make the Class C North seem less daunting, and with wins over Boothbay, Mount View and Dexter, the Huskies proved that they had finally reached elite status and were worthy of playing on the sport’s final day.

“We have a lot of girls with really good game knowledge. They’ve put a lot of hours in,” Hughes said Thursday. It’s just a culmination of a lot of hours by everybody and the parents…”

“Everybody is on board, working together,” she said.

Seems like a common theme.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33


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