Skowhegan field hockey players work through a drill during an Aug. 15 practice in Skowhegan. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Multiple central Maine field hockey teams made strong runs for state championships last season.

Entering the 2022 season, many of those same teams are fully recharged for yet another run.

In Class A, Skowhegan, despite carrying a young roster, won its 20th consecutive regional championship last year. The River Hawks fell just short of their ultimate goal, as Cheverus beat them 4-1 in the Class A title game. Skowhegan finished 17-1-0.

“I had a group of kids who had never been to a tournament, much less played in a state game,” Skowhegan head coach Paula Doughty said. “They were very, very young, and they had missed two years and had no middle school field hockey. The average age on that team was, like, 15.”

Nearly the entire roster returns for the River Hawks in 2022, with an aim for a potential rematch with Cheverus in the state game. Laney LeBlanc and Layla Conway, Skowhegan’s primary scorers last season, both return to pace the offense.

Skowhegan will be pushed again in Class A North by Messalonskee, which reached the semifinal round last year and finished 11-6-0. The Eagles graduated Francesca Caccamo, a first team all-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference selection, but several key players remain. Among them is Shea Cassani, a second-team all-KVAC pick, as well as Abby Stevens and Isabel Culver. Head coach Katie Brann said the team is senior-heavy, with a strong mix of incoming freshman talent to balance out the roster.


“We’ve got a really enthusiastic group,” Brann said. “We have lots of energy, and I think we’re going to be a little more balanced this year. More of a team game, more of a passing style.”

Mt. Blue will be looking to continue to move up the A North ladder. The Cougars finished at 8-8 last season with an appearance in the A North quarterfinals. Mt. Ararat, which finished second in A North standings, as well as Oxford Hills, which dropped the regional final to Skowhegan, should also be in the mix.

The most competitive conference will likely be in Class B North. Leading the charge once again will be Lawrence, which fell just short of a regional championship. The Bulldogs dropped a 1-0 contest to Old Town in the B North final, which included a 15-1 penalty corner advantage in the second half for Lawrence. The Bulldogs finished 13-1-0. Lawrence returns a slew of starters, including 11 seniors. Among the returners is Hope Bouchard, the KVAC B player of the year in 2021, as well as sophomore Maddie Niles, a KVAC second team selection.

Maine Central Institute’s Hannah Robinson (10) plays against Maranacook at the Central Maine Play Day on Aug. 22 at Winslow High School. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“They’ve been putting in the work,” Lawrence head coach Shawna Robinson said. “Confidence and corners (will be keys to the season).”

Cony reached the B North semifinals last year before falling to Lawrence and finished 9-6-1. The Rams are looking to build off that momentum entering the fall. Cony is smaller in numbers, so depth is a concern. But talent returns in Maci Freeman, a KVAC first team selection, as well as Abby Morrill and Caroline Hendrickson.

“We have experience coming back…..we’ve got good speed,” Cony head coach Holly Daigle said. “We’ve got a group of hard working girls who are competitors. We’re just going to build off that and hope that’s contagious to the girls who are new to high school field hockey.”


Nokomis had an impressive 2021 campaign under first-year coach Shaunessy Saucier, reaching the B North quarterfinals. With key returners in Brianna Townsend — who will play for the University of Maine next fall — and Madeleine Roundy, the Warriors look to take another step forward.

“We’re really strong in the midfield, most of our midfielders are returning,” Saucier said. “We have a really solid defensive line and two really good goalies….Our senior class, we have unbelievable leaders and we’re just really excited about that.”

Winslow finished 7-8-0, with a trip to the B North quarterfinals. The Black Raiders have a strong mix of new and veteran talent that has championship experience from a team that captured the 2019 Class B title. Winslow will be led in the cage by third-year starting goalie Laney Bell, as well as senior midfielder Sabrina York.

“We’re incredibly happy with the coachability of our girls, how positive they are,” Winslow head coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said. “The other (aspect that stands out) is how hard they’re working with everything we’re throwing at them. I think this is one of the best starts (to the season) that I think we’ve had.”

Gardiner, which also finished 7-8-0 with a trip to the B North quarterfinals, will be looking to make a jump up the standings. Old Town, the defending regional champion, as well as perennial power Belfast, should also be in the mix.

The biggest transition of the fall will take place in Class C North. After falling just short of the Class C championship, Maine Central Institute head coach Nancy Hughes stepped down, ending a run that included both a Class B and Class C title. Stepping in to take over the program is Terri-Jean Wilkinson, a former MCI player and assistant under Hughes who most recently was coaching at the middle school level. A plus for Wilkinson is the fact she has coached most of the current MCI roster.


“(The familiarity) is amazing,” Wilkinson said. “Sometimes, it gets tricky, because (I have to play) ‘good cop, bad cop.’ You play good cop for so long, and then (occasionally), the voice changes. But the expectations are still about the same.”

The Huskies are not only replacing their head coach, but need to find offensive production after the graduation of their top scorer, Gracie Moore, who tallied 40 goals last season. Who will help in the scoring remains to be seen, but Wilkinson is impressed with the talent that returns.

e have a small team this year, but we have some very powerful athletes and a very powerful defense,” Wilkinson said.

A team that could make a jump in the C North standings — and possible playoff push — is Mount View. The Mustangs finished 8-8-0, with a loss in the quarterfinal round. But the Mustangs ended their season on a high note, winning seven of their final 10 games.

Winthrop, which beat MCI 3-2 for the Class C title, finished 18-0-0 last season. The Ramblers graduated their top scorer and Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year in Maddie Perkins, but Winthrop returns nine starters, including seven seniors.

“We obviously have a couple of spots to fill,” Winthrop head coach Sharon Coulton said. “Most of our younger players have lesser experience… We’re waiting to see who steps up to fill those spots, and it may not be just one person in each spot, it may be a couple people sharing those spots and that would be great. We’ll see how it goes, but I think if you talk to any coach who has that many returning starters, you’re feeling pretty optimistic.”


A player who stepped up last season for Winthrop was forward Madeline Wagner, who was named an MVC first team selection as a freshman last season. She’s one of several returners that could help ramp up production on offense.

“We had maybe six (players) that scored double-digits in goals (last season),” Coulton said. “I’m cautiously optimistic. I just hope we get through the season without anything going awry.”

Maranacook and Oak Hill, which both fell in the C South quarterfinal round, as well as Hall-Dale, which fell to Winthrop in the semifinal round, will all look to make a jump this season. Lisbon, which reached the regional final before losing 8-1 to Winthrop, returns a strong veteran core and look for a similar push in 2022.


Staff writer Mike Mandell contributed to this report.

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