WATERVILLE — They were the best teams in Class A North a season ago. They were even in regular-season matchups, became postseason opponents, and were nearly even there too.

The Skowhegan and Messalonskee field hockey teams met again Thursday evening at Thomas College. And, clearly, nothing much has changed.

Ally Turner scored on a loose ball with 2:09 left in overtime, capping an Eagles rally and lifting Messalonskee to a dramatic 2-1 victory over the defending state champion Indians.

The Eagles won despite trailing by a goal with fewer than six minutes to play in regulation. It was a back-and-forth, tight and well-played game — even in a historical context, Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said in the moments afterward.

“For a high school game, I don’t think you can ask for anything better than this,” she said. “Both teams were amazing tonight. I really think this is the best Messalonskee-Skowhegan contest we’ve ever played.”

Turner wasn’t about to argue.


“It was incredibly competitive,” she said. “And both sides are so talented. It was just great field hockey, great sportsmanship all-around. These are the kinds of games you like to play in.”

Turner found herself in the spotlight after Messalonskee drew a corner, its 12th of the game, with 2:20 to go in the overtime period. Autumn Littlefield fired a shot that Kaitlyn Smith deflected, and the ball eventually skidded over to Turner. The senior knocked a shot on goal that had just enough on it, sliding over the goal line and kickstarting a jubilant celebration in front of the cage.

“It just kind of popped out, and I was like ‘Oh, the ball!’ ” Turner said. “I was like ‘Go get it and put it in!’ ”

The overtime goal finished a comeback Chloe Tilley began, firing home a rebound of a Littlefield shot that — also off a corner — rattled off the left post.

“You’ve just got to put it in,” Tilley, a sophomore, said, recalling her thinking in the moment. “It needs to go in. We’re so close. It’s right there.”

The goal keyed the turnaround that prevented Messalonskee from falling short in the rematch of the Eagles’ 3-2 loss in last year’s regional final, and coach Katie McLaughlin said the team impressed her with its ability to stave off the defeat.


“I think that’s what this team brings this year, is some mental toughness,” she said. “And a mental ability to never give up. Anything can happen, and we can make it happen.”

Skowhegan jumped ahead only minutes into the game. The ball was sent into the Messalonskee end, and stayed there despite two attempts by the Eagles to clear it out. The second try sent the ball straight to Julia Steeves, who gathered it and launched a shot into the cage an even five minutes into the contest.

Despite back-and-forth play, the score stayed that way for much of the game — until the Eagles had an answer in the closing minutes.

“It was amazing,” Doughty said. “Playing Messalonskee is like the Super Bowl for us. They’re not dirty, they’re well-skilled. … The players out there are skilled, and they were playing excellent hockey.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638


Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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