Skowhegan goalie Emmah Corson practices with her team on Wednesday in preparation for the Class A title game Saturday against Cheverus at Messalonskee High School Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

GARDINER — Many high school field hockey players are handling a stick or strapping on pads from the time they can walk.

Not Emmah Corson.

The Skowhegan senior goaltender, who has backstopped a defense that has limited opponents to four goals all season, never played field hockey until this past winter. Just seven months after taking up the sport, Corson is a key part of a River Hawks team that faces Cheverus at 3 p.m. Saturday in the Class A title game at Messalonskee High in Oakland.

Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty was in search of goaltending depth during the offseason.

“We’ve just been drawing straws to see who was going to play goalie,” she said.

Corson, meanwhile, had made her name on the track team, and went on to win Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference large-school titles in the shot put and discus last spring.


Standout back and co-captain Callaway LePage told the coaching staff that Corson’s athleticism, hard work and self-confidence would be a perfect fit for the River Hawks.

“She was like, ‘have you ever thought about doing goalie for field hockey?'” Corson recalled LePage asking.

“And being the go-getter I am,” she added with a laugh, “I’m like, ‘Sure, we’ll give it a shot.'”

And so she put on the goalie gear and went to work. Never mind that Corson had never seen a field hockey game, much less played one, Doughty said, and had no knowledge of field hockey’s unique rules, even after the preseason scrimmages started. But her teammates immediately took her in as one of their own and worked with her as she studied both the rule book and the art of shot-blocking.

Skowhegan field hockey goalie Emmah Corson (44) stands with her teammates prior to the Class A North title game against Oxford Hills on Wednesday in Gardiner. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Her ability and confidence grew as the year went on and the wins piled up. After allowing two goals against Brewer on Sept. 13, Corson shut out her next 10 opponents. Skowhegan has outscored its opponents 104-4 going into Saturday.

“She’s a born goalie,” said teammate Layla Conway, who scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Skowhegan’s come-from-behind 3-2 overtime win over Oxford Hills on Wednesday in the Class A North final. “Her energy on the field just added so much to the team. We’re all really proud of her.”


There’s also the little matter of preserving the Skowhegan field hockey dynasty: The River Hawks have won 21 consecutive Class A North titles dating to 2000, something that frequently was on her mind when she stepped into the cage. Corson felt nerves, but she said she was “proud of myself for stepping up to such an important goal, especially with the school’s record for field hockey. It’s nerve-wracking to not mess up, but also to show that just because I am new to the sport does not mean I am not going to give up that easy.”

Her never-give-up mentality was on display Wednesday despite the two goals allowed. Among her eight saves was an amazing stop in overtime, when she kicked the ball in the air and swatted it away with her glove hand after the ball refused to scram. In the third quarter, she kicked out back-to-back shots as Oxford Mills mounted pressure.

Skowhegan goalie Emmah Corson defends her cage during the Class A North final against Oxford Hills on Wednesday in Gardiner. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

This is a rookie goalie?

“It was definitely nerve-wracking, but I tried to stay confident most of the time,” Corson said after Wednesday’s game. “After letting those two goals in, I knew it was a win-or-die situation, so I had to stick it in and be a wall, as I told myself all year.”

Now Cheverus — like Skowhegan, undefeated at 17-0 — is all that stands between the River Hawks and a state title. The Stags won last year’s Class A final, 4-1. Doughty hopes her “wall” can make the difference.

“The thing is about a goalie, if you can get a good athlete, and you can get a competitor, you’re all set,” Doughty said. “We just lucked out with her. She’s just really mentally tough.”

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