SKOWHEGAN — The Skowhegan field hockey team was dominating possession, but had yet to turn that advantage into one on the scoreboard against fellow A North contender Cony.

For a while, at least.

“We weren’t struggling, I would say,” senior forward and captain Alexis Michonski said. “They’re a good team, and I think we just were trying to play our game. It wasn’t quite working, but we just kept playing as hard as we could.”

Skowhegan senior Alexis Michonski, right, tries to get away from Cony defender Tatiana Roque during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

Eventually, the balls found the cage. A pair of goals just over a minute apart gave Skowhegan a lead it wouldn’t surrender late in the first half of what became a 4-1 victory over the Rams.

Emily Reichenbach had a goal and two assists for Skowhegan (3-0), while Michonski, Kayla Furbush and Brooklyn Hubbard also tallied goals.

“Cony has some really great players. They have four or five kids that are really fast and really quick,” coach Paula Doughty said. “Our focus was to try to contain those kids, keep the ball wide and get it to our offense.

“You need to play teams like this to be good. You can’t play teams that you’re going to score at will to get any better. This team really stretched us and made us work harder.”

Anna Reny had the lone goal for Cony, which fell to 1-1.

“Their passing game is so smooth, so quick,” coach Holly Daigle said. “It’s tough to defend, but before the game we talked, we wanted 60 minutes of tough field hockey. And we did that today.”

Cony held tight defensively against the 18-time defending regional champions, who had outscored their first two opponents 19-0, but couldn’t muster enough of an offensive threat to go with it. The Rams only got one corner and one shot on goal in the first half, and spent most of it trying to fend off Skowhegan’s attack.

“It was a big midfield game today,” Daigle said. “I feel like we have a strong attack this season, but against a really skilled team, sometimes it’s really hard to break through and get the ball into the circle.”

“We tried to have quick passes, we tried to change the ball up,” Doughty said. “That was pretty effective.”

With 7:25 to play in the first half, Skowhegan got the goal it had been working for. Reichenbach moved the ball up into the circle, then fired a hard shot past Emily Douglas (16 saves) for a 1-0 lead.

“I got a really nice pass,” Reichenbach said. “I saw the open cage, and I just took it.”

The lead doubled only 1:02 later. The Cony defense reacted late to a ball that was passed in from the left side, and Reichenbach tipped the ball closer to the cage where Furbush knocked it in.

“Getting that first goal is really important,” Doughty said. “I think once the kids get the first goal they just calm down a little bit, and then the goals start to come.”

Skowhegan didn’t have trouble finding the net after halftime. On Skowhegan’s fifth corner of the game, Bhreagh Kennedy had a pass in soon after the insert. The ball deflected high, Reichenbach knocked it down, and Hubbard was on the spot to knock it into the cage for a 3-0 lead with 24:55 to play.

With 12:24 to go, Skowhegan made it 4-0. Furbush threaded a long pass up through the Cony defense, and Michonski, alone on the left side of the field, was able to receive it and go in ahead of the pursuing Ram defenders and find the net.

Skowhegan senior Alexis Michonski, right, tries to push one into the cage during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday in Skowhegan. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

“They’re a really good team,” Michonski said. “Every game we always go into it playing like they’re a great team, so we work really hard to pass well. We work really good together.”

Cony made more of a dent in the Skowhegan end in the second half, putting five shots on goal. The Rams finally broke through with 6:45 to go when Reny landed a shot from a scrum in front of the cage, and Cony had a chance to get within two with 2:31 to play, but goalie Rachel Tuck made a diving stop of Sophie Whitney’s penalty stroke.

“You never relax,” Doughty said. “With a team like Cony, you can’t relax. They’re just really a quick, fast team, and you don’t relax until it’s over.”

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