SKOWHEGAN — The Skowhegan Area High School field hockey team’s seniors were a minute and 10 seconds away from, well, what exactly? Not disappointment, exactly. Maybe a “yeah, but” they would carry for the rest of their lives. It could come up at class reunions and weddings, any time they gather in their adults lives.

“We went undefeated at home,” they’d say. “Yeah, but, there was that tie in our final home game against Lawrence.”

There was 1:10 left in the second overtime Friday afternoon when Hannah McKenney, one of those four seniors, smashed that “yeah, but” into atoms. McKenney’s goal gave Skowhegan a 2-1 win over the Bulldogs, and that goal of being undefeated at home for four straight years was realized.

“I knew I wanted to be the one to score it. It’s my last time playing on this field and I wanted to get a goal for my last game,” McKenney said.

A tie would have preserved the streak. It’s not a loss, but Skowhegan’s seniors would have known it wasn’t a victory either.

Skowhegan rarely loses, anyway. The members of this senior class have celebrated more birthdays than stewed-over loses in its four years. These seniors have lost just two games in their four seasons. They helped extend Skowhegan’s eye-popping run of consecutive regional titles to 19 years with Class A North crowns each of the last three seasons, and state titles last year and in 2017. Skowhegan would be the clear favorite to win the region again this season, if the Covid-19 pandemic had not scrubbed playoffs and state championship games from the schedule.

Opponents can’t help but know of Skowhegan’s dominance. Most contributed to it with losses to Skowhegan over the years. If any team coming to Skowhegan to play needed a reminder, it’s plastered there on the snack shack just behind the field. They ran out of room on the sign heralding Skowhegan’s state championships. The ’17 bleeds over the sign’s right margin, and the 2019 title hasn’t been added yet. There’s not enough room.

“We actually had talked about it coming up. Our last home game was on Tuesday, and we knew if we won that one we had one left to go until we could say we went undefeated on this field for four years,” senior Logan Wing said about the undefeated at home goal. “I try and  not let my nerves get to me throughout the game. Now that the game is over, yeah, I was a little nervous. I didn’t let that bother me while playing.”

Lawrence certainly did not make it easy. Although the old rivals haven’t played as often since Lawrence’s enrollment dropped and the Bulldogs moved to Class B, old rivalries never fade, and the Bulldogs did not lie down and hand Skowhegan its milestone.

Lawrence scored with 2:57 left in the third quarter, when Alicen Higgins scored on a penalty stroke to tie the game at 1-1. It was the Bulldogs’ second penalty stroke of the game. Skowhegan goalie Rachel Tuck, another senior, leapt to her right to make the save on the first, a high shot off Hope Bouchard’s stick with 2:49 to play in the first half.

“I did not want to make this the first loss on this field. In my head, I’m like ‘I can do this. I’ve just got to be calm,’ Then I just watch the ball,” Tuck said. “They’re a good team. We played them over the summer too, and it’s been close games.”

Senior co-captain Mariah Whittemore knew a tie wasn’t going to cut it, not in the last game on this immaculate field. The Skowhegan players call their home field the best field they play on, and that’s not hyperbole. Its grass is cut enough to rival the best putting greens. It’s a fast field, for a fast team, and Skowhegan loves it.

A tie? Whittemore wasn’t having it.

“I wasn’t nervous. I was frustrated. I knew I had to settle down and get everyone settled with me. If we just played our game, we’d be fine,” Whittemore said.

Skowhegan goalie Rachel Tuck (4) makes a save against Lawrence on Friday in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Whittemore looked over her shoulder, where the junior varsity game was getting underway. Where she, Tuck, Wing, and McKenney never lost in their four years of playing high school field hockey.

“We make so many memories on that field. That’s our home field,” Whittemore said.

The four seniors refer to themselves as a family. Whittemore’s emphasis was on home.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

 

 

 

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