SKOWHEGAN — None of the members of this year’s Skowhegan field hockey team were even born the last time the Indians bowed out in a quarterfinal playoff game.

Still, they got a little reminder from coach Paula Doughty during intermission Wednesday in a scoreless game against Oxford Hills.

“I brought it up at halftime,” Doughty said. “I said ‘do you want to be the first team to lose a quarterfinal game in 25 years?”

Ignited by Maliea Kelso’s solo effort early in the second half, the Indians went on to down the Vikings 4-0 to advance to the semifinals of the Class A North playoffs. Fourth-seeded Skowhegan (11-3-1) will face top-seeded Mt. Blue in a game scheduled for Friday afternoon in Farmington. No. 5 Oxford Hills finished 8-7-0.

Historical references aside, Doughty attributed the scoreless first half to youth and inexperience.

“When you’re starting seven or eight seniors it’s an experience,” Doughty said. “But when you’re starting freshmen, they’re scared to death. At halftime all we really tried to do was settle them down.”


Kelso, a sophomore, took matters onto her own stick about six and half minutes into the half. Gaining possession of the ball on her side of the field, she dribbled past three defenders and rifled a shot into the left corner of the cage.

“I just like dodged, I think, three defenders,” Kelso said, “and just took it in and I told the center-forward just push up in case it goes by. And I just shot and it went in.”

Two minutes later Kelso took a shot off a penalty corner and freshman Lexi Michonski tipped it in to make it 2-0.

Junior Julia Steeves assisted on Skowhegan’s next goal. She dribbled down the right side, turned the corner on the end line and dodged a defender before feeding freshman Emily Reichenback for an easy score to make it 3-0. With just over eight minutes left, Skowhegan made it 4-0.

“She’s a workhorse, she’s not flashy but she’s got great stick work,” Doughty said of Steeves.

The Vikings matched Skowhegan’s intensity in the first half and stayed even thanks to some strong saves from goalie Anna Huff (10 saves) and a late surge in the final three minutes.


“It’s a senior-led team and they came to play as hard as they could,” Oxford Hills coach Cindy Goddard said. “We had an opportunity. I think Erin Morton’s shot missed by a tad. Had it gone in, it might have changed things.”

Skowhegan goalie Leah Savage made five saves, none of them routine.

“Leah had an amazing day,” Doughty said. “They were all good shots.”

The Indians lost twice in the regular season to Mt. Blue, each time by a goal, and say they’re ready for another shot at the Cougars.

“It’s been hard mixing together (young players),” senior captain Haley Thebarge said. “But we’re finally playing as a team. We’re ready.”

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