WINSLOW — For the Winslow High School field hockey team to truly appreciate everything that went right in the 2019 season, it had to find motivation from how the 2018 season ended. The Black Raiders saw last season end abruptly, with a 3-2 loss to Gardiner in the Class B North regional final, a game in which Winslow had a two-goal lead in the first half.

“It impacted just about everything. When I was putting the runner up medals on many of the underclassmen last year, they looked at me and they said, ‘We’ll be back. We’re gonna come back. We’re gonna do it.’ That’s been their mission for the last year,” Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said.

This season, Bourgoin got the Black Raiders to use 2018’s disappointment as fuel, and to trust in their abilities. Everything culminated with a 7-2 win over York in the Class B state championship game. For leading Winslow to the Class B state title, Mary Beth Bourgoin is the Central Maine Field Hockey Coach of the Year.

“She really wanted (the state championship) for us, because she knew we could do it,” senior Silver Clukey said.

Winslow won its first 11 games. With eight days before game 12 at Foxcroft Academy, Bourgoin reminded her team that tougher games were ahead.

“I had to remind them, especially where we hadn’t lost a game, that it’s not going to be easy like this,” Bourgoin said.

The Black Raiders fell in overtime to Foxcroft, the eventual Class C state champion, then lost the regular season finale at Belfast. Winslow earned a rematch with Belfast in the North regional final, and Bourgoin studied as much video on the Lions and their strong defense as she could find. Practicing at Colby College’s Alfond Stadium to adjust to the turf they’d play on at Hampden Academy, the Black Raiders were skeptical as Bourgoin announced they would change up their attack in the regional championship game. Bourgoin moved her offense into a diamond formation, with essentially a striker at the top, hoping that different look would throw the Lions off.

“They were very nervous about it. I just said if you trust the process and trust me, I believe this will work. Our offense is very good, but we’ve got to get by them. We’ve got to throw them on their heels,” Bourgoin said.

At halftime, after scoring four first half goals on the way to a 5-2 win, Bourgoin asked her team if they wanted to witch back to their more familiar style.

“At halftime, I said ‘How did you guys like the diamond?’ They said ‘we’re staying with it,'” Bourgoin said.

More than a master of field hockey X’s and O’s, Clukey appreciated Bourgoin’s ability to keep her players at an even keel.

“She’s very calming, very mother-like,” Clukey said. “She can tell when anybody is getting stressed out. Se takes you out of the game and says ‘You’re OK.’ She really brings you back to the game.”

Bourgoin named her father, Jack Nivison, a former Winslow baseball coach (the school’s baseball field is named in his honor), as a coaching influence, as well as her high school field hockey coach, Paula Lewis.

“(My father) was a little more fiery than I am, but it’s all about kids. It’s about being good to kids and kind to kids,” Bourgoin said. “(Lewis) was a mom and she just never forgot we were all kids. That’s how she treated us. She was a fun coach. She was on the sideline with her kids. That had a huge impact on me as well.”

The Black Raiders graduate a number of key players from this season’s championship team, but Bourgoin already has laid the groundwork for a run at a repeat.

“There’s a big tradition here. A small school  but lots of pride. The coaches put a lot of time in. We think a lot of our town. We think a lot of our kids. There’s that underlying, we all have to have successful seasons and what are we going to do to get there?” Bourgoin said. “Your mind starts turning. You want to enjoy the moment, but you do start thinking about it. One of the things I said to the girls, I said ‘You’re going to be labeled as a rebuilding team. You can’t think of it that way. You have to think of it as reloading. What do we have to do to reload?”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

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