Bhreagh Kennedy will be playing field hockey for the University of Maine next fall — and on a full scholarship, no less.

Her coach at Skowhegan, Paula Doughty, knows what got her that opportunity.

She is a complete player,” she said, “and that’s what Division I schools want. They don’t want a kid who can just play forward or just play back. They want a complete player, and Bhreagh is definitely a complete player.”

Skowhegan senior Bhreagh Kennedy dribbles during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game earlier this fall in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

It would be harder to find a better example of versatility throughout the state. A gifted offensive player and defensive standout rolled into one package at center back, Kennedy was the heart of the Skowhegan powerhouse this season. She scored 19 goals and added 16 assists, and led a superb defense that took Skowhegan all the way to an 18-0 record and the Class A state championship.

For her performance, Kennedy is the Central Maine Field Hockey Player of the Year. High-scoring teammate Alexis Michonski and Winslow’s Silver Clukey were also considered.

“I’ve learned that you can’t put yourself into one role,” said Kennedy, who is also the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Player of the Year. “You need to be able to do whatever the team needs you to do, so I was there for the team on offense, there for the team on defense, there for my teammates. … It’s about widening your skills so you’re not fit into one box.”

Some field hockey players wear one or two hats. Kennedy wore several. She was the team’s anchor on defense. She’s a strong, accurate hitter who could spark the Skowhegan transition with a single sweep, and she’s a proven scorer when given the chance on the offensive end. She was the stroker on offensive corners, the player who often takes the first shot off the insert. She was the flyer on defensive ones — the player who rushes out to get in front of that shot.

When something good happened for Skowhegan, No. 8 was probably close by.

She can see (the field) so well,” Doughty said. “That’s the difference. Some kids just watch the ball, but because she is who she is she can see the field well and she can make ball adjustments on the field.”

As she moved from right wing her freshman year to midfield for her sophomore and junior seasons, then finally to center back as a senior, Kennedy had the field hockey sense to fit right in. And if she was behind at all, she soaked in every bit of advice Doughty and defensive coach Tammie Veinotte had to offer.

The move, it turns out, was a good one. Skowhegan in 2018 allowed three goals in the Class A final. This entire postseason, Skowhegan allowed one, after allowing just six goals in 14 regular season games.

“I’m totally on board with playing any position. Any way I can help the team,” Kennedy said. “It takes all 11 players to score goals, so I’m fine not being the one to put it in the back of the net.”

For all her physical skills, Kennedy’s leadership abilities may have stood out most of all. On the way back from the state final loss last season, Kennedy sat beside Doughty, talking not about the defeat but how to make up for it the next season.

“That’s the kind of kid she is,” Doughty said. “I was so impressed with her ability to focus on the positive from that situation and turn it around and really start focusing on the next year.”

Skowhegan still hasn’t lost since that game — but that doesn’t mean there weren’t challenges. In a game at Cony this season, Skowhegan was in the middle of a closer-than-expected game at halftime.

The team needed a spark. Kennedy provided one.

“I remember at halftime, she looked at everyone and she said ‘We’re not losing this game. So you all had better get it together,’ ” Doughty said. “In the second half, we just came out a whole different team.”

Skowhegan won 4-1.

“She’s probably one of the best captains we’ve ever had, on and off the field,” Doughty said.

“It was a weird dynamic because there were a lot of seniors on this team, but I hope that I was just the cornerstone of everyone’s commitment,” Kennedy said. “I tried to keep everyone in line and remind them what we were working towards this season.”

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