Haley Carter doesn’t score many goals and grabs fewer headlines than many of her Skowhegan field hockey teammates, but the senior sweeper has had as much to do with the team’s success as anyone over the past three-plus seasons.

Carter has started every game for the Indians since stepping onto the field her freshman year, and over that span the team has won three regional titles and two state championships.

“When she was a freshman, she was raw talent,” Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty said. “She had hand-eye coordination and field vision from Day 1. She filled the bill.”

In a coaching career filled with 19 state titles, Doughty has seen her share of talented players, but she cites Carter as one of the few who have started every game in their career. She worked at the game and her new position from the get-go.

“When I first started playing sweep, I had my mom throw balls in the air and I practiced stopping them,” Carter said.

Doughty has instructed her players to listen to Carter and do what she tells them just as they do for her and assistant coach Tammie Veinotte.

“She is so mentally tough,” Doughty said. “She sort of runs the show back there. Whatever she tells you, you do it.”

Carter has never been shy about voicing advice to teammates and is in constant communication with them before and during the the game.

“We’re always talking,” she said. “I’ve always talked even as a freshman.”

Carter likes her vantage point at the end of the defense. She’s good at reading angles and has excellent footwork, according to Veinotte. Not only does she consistently clear the ball, but her long strong hits often send teammates away on fast breaks. This year, for the first time, Doughty has stationed Carter on penalty corners, and she’s responded with a couple of goals.

“She says I have a powerful shot,” Carter said.

Although Skowhegan has won the last two state titles, it hasn’t been easy. Rival Messalonskee defeated the Indians twice in each of the past two regular seasons, dominating a couple of those meetings only to lose to Skowhegan in the playoffs. Doughty cites strong goaltending and Carter as the primary reasons.

Doughty has nominated Carter for Miss Maine Field Hockey in hopes her defensive skills get recognized. Carter, who would like to major in finance and economics as a prelude to law school, is talking to Division I field hockey schools Maine and Hofstra.

• • •

Messalonskee is cruising along at 8-0 despite having just three seniors on its roster — Libby Breznyak, Haley Lowell and Ally Turner.

But those three, coach Katie McLaughlin said, are driving the team’s success.

“It’s some of the best leadership we’ve had in this program,” McLaughlin said. “They help set the tone and the attitude of everything we do.”

Lowell, who has committed to play at Division I Boston University next fall, has the most field hockey experience of the three and came into high school ready to play.

“She earned center-mid as a freshman,” McLaughlin said. “I don’t think she knew how good or how smart she was.”

Lowell dribbles through opposing defenses effortlessly, it seems, and sets the tone for the Eagles’ offense.

“She’s so smooth,” McLaughlin said. “She has a level head and is not easily rattled. She’s that calming voice.”

Turner, who plays forward, is the most vocal of the three and has blossomed into a scorer with her speed and stick skills.

“She brings another level of intensity,” McLaughlin “She sets a tome and a sense of intimidation.”

Turner scored the game-winning goal in overtime earlier this season in a showdown against Skowhegan and has taken to what is her third sport. A point guard on the basketball team, she helped the Eagles to their first Class A state championship last winter and the previous year, she led the Eagles to a state lacrosse title, later accepting a full scholarship in that sport to Wagner College.

“She’s a natural athlete, but also one who loves to be coached,” McLaughlin said.

Breznyak, who plays right-mid, came to high school with a focus on gymnastics but has grown into a starter for the last two seasons.

“She’s really a product of Messalonskee field hockey,” McLaughlin said. “She’s really done all the little things right. It’s been a pleasure to watch her blossom.”

• • •

The Drive Out Cancer game has been a mainstay of of the Cony-Gardiner sports rivalry for the last eight years. Former Gardiner coach Moe McNally and former Cony coach Krista Chase hatched the idea and took off from there. Formerly played in the preseason, the game spread to other Cony-Gardiner sports and has raised over $73,000, which has been donated to the Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.

“I am thrilled that the Cony-Gardiner Drive Out Cancer game continues to live on,” said Chase, who now coaches Mt. Ararat (6-3) in Topsham. “Cancer impacts us all in one way or another and with the Alfond Center for Cancer Care then recently opening in Augusta, we thought it would be a meaningful and important message to send to our athletes and communities.”

Team relatives and sports enthusiasts from both communities who were impacted from the disease have been recognized at the event. This year, there’s a new twist, since Cony and Gardiner are now playing in the regular season.

The game will be held Oct. 5 at Alumni Field in Augusta. The varsity game will be preceded by a JV contest. Because both teams are jockeying for playoff position — Cony in Class A and Gardiner in Class B — there is added incentive for victory.

“It used to be during preseason where we could focus on the cause,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said. “The whole purpose was to fundraise. We’ll have to do something different (in the future). I don’t mind playing them.”

Gate proceeds and additional donations will go to the Alfond Center.

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