Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty doesn’t spend a lot of time hyping her team in preseason. Instead, she takes a different approach: Show me what you have when it counts.

Any field hockey fans familiar with her program — and that includes just about everyone in the state — know her players almost always follow through on her wishes. Last season the Indians won their 18th state championship under the guidance of Doughty and her staff.

There’s a good chance No. 19 isn’t too far off.

“I coach to win,” said Doughty, entering her 38th year as head coach.

There have been a handful of years in which the Indians have overcome superior talent, but more often the opposition is looking up at them. That appears to be the case this season as the team returns all but four players from a year ago.

“They’re hard-working, really talented,” Doughty said. “It’s just a matter of playing together.”

The Indians graduated an elite defender in Haley Carter, a top-notch goalie, another strong defender and a 20-goal scorer. But because of the culture surrounding this program there’s always someone to step in and fill the void. There’s plenty of talent among the 17 returners, beginning with seniors Maliea Kelso and Elizabeth York. Kelso is a versatile scorer and all-around player who has committed to playing at Northeastern next year while York, who is headed to Hofstra next year, solidifies a defense that rarely gets tested but is always prepared.

There are scorers and defenders sprinkled throughout the lineup. Two of the more intriguing scorers are Alexis Michonski, the third in a line of high-scoring sisters who have donned the black and orange, and sophomore Hannah McKenney, who played well as a freshman and is ready to step into her own.

Skowhegan’s primary competition of late has come from Messalonskee and Mt. Blue. Doughty freely admits that Messalonskee has had more talent at times and has provided more competition than Skowhegan’s opponents in the state game. Like the Indians, the Eagles graduated a couple of Division I players along with several other quality players, but have the depth to replace them.

Among their returning players are co-captains and midfielders Autumn Littlefield and Megan Quirion. Littlefield has been a strong two-way player since her freshman year.

“She brings a lot of heart and a lot of energy and helps us in the transition game,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said.

Senior Julia Vigue and sophomore Riley Genest are battling for the starting goalie position. They’ll have some strong defenders in front of them in three-year starter Sarah Kohl and senior sweeper Megan Smith.

Senior Kaitlyn Smith is the top returning scorer and has help along the front line from Maddy St. Pierre and Amy Corbett, among others.

“We have a lot of speed and a lot of tenacity,” McLaughlin said.

Of course, the Eagles are conceding nothing to the Indians until the final whistle blows at the end of the season.

“Of course we’re shooting for the stars,” McLaughlin said. “This team meshes well together and they have a strong level of trust in each other.”

Mt. Blue has jumped into the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A top tier in the last three years, beating the Eagles and the Indians in regular season play. The question remains, however: Can the Cougars contend after some key graduation losses?

Coach Jody Harmon says they can.

“We really seem to be coming together,” she said. “We’re focusing on the little things that make things work.”

The Cougars are young with forward Ellie Pelletier the lone senior. Junior midfielders Madison Bard and Molly Harmon return to help build a formidable lineup. Brooke Bolduc takes over at goalie and will count on backs Mackenzie Latimer and Riley Keaton. Sophomore Ashley Parlin and junior Bailey Levesque are also expected to be key contributors.

“We’re going to be strong defenders,” Harmon said.

Cony returns some proven scorers but graduated its entire defense. The Rams return just six players from last year’s 7-6-1 team, but have historically had some feeder programs to fill any voids.

“We’re still kind of establishing our roles,” coach Holly Daigle said, “We’ve been making sure everyone knows their job. We have a lot of experience in the forward and midfield lines.”

That experience includes senior Kami Lambert, an all-conference selection who plays in the middle or up front, juniors Sophie Whitney and Faith Leathers-Pouliot and sophomore twins Anna Reny and Julia Reny. Anna will move to defense along with senior Alexis Couverette. Emily Douglas, who played goalie for the junior varsity last year, will move into that spot.

“I’ve been happy with what I’ve seen so far,” Daigle said. “A big key for us is playing a cohesive game.”

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