October 12, 2012

HIGH SCHOOL FIELD HOCKEY: Skowhegan, Messalonskee win KVAC games

By Matt DiFilippo mdifilippo@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Apparently, Messalonskee and Skowhegan would be pretty good in Class B, too.

click image to enlarge

KICK SAVE: Skowhegan’s Brooke Michonski, left, takes a shot on Belfast goalie Julia Ward, right, during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship game Thursday at Thomas College.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

click image to enlarge

TAKE THE SHOT: Nokomis’ Lindsay Whitney, center, tries to take a shot on Messalonskee goalie Abby Roberts (44) as Mikayla Turner tries to defend in the first half of a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference playoff game Thursday at Thomas College in Waterville.

Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans

As usual, those two teams took part in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference championship field hockey games, but this year, there was a different format. The top finisher in Class A by Heal points played the top finisher in Class B, and the two runners-up also played a crossover game. On a very chilly Thursday night at Thomas College, Messalonskee beat Nokomis 6-0 and Skowhegan posted an 8-0 victory over Belfast.

Skowhegan coach Paula Doughty was in favor of the switch, and said the results didn't change her opinion.

"I think it was a good format," Doughty said. "That team (Belfast) was very talented. I just think when you see new people and do new things, it makes everybody better."

In the first game, Messalonskee scored twice in the first three minutes and coasted to the win. Emily York scored three goals for the Eagles, Kristy Bernatchez added two and Lynnae Luettich had one. While York said, "We just came out and tried as hard as we can. We want to play like it's going to be in the state championship game," Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said her team took a different approach.

"We normally would try to scrimmage a good team before playoffs," Thompson said. "That's (how) we went into this, looking at it like a scrimmage. We got a lot of practice on our defensive end and that was good practice for us."

Naturally, Messalonskee's skill caused all that action. At the beginning of the game, the Eagles darted and dashed around the Nokomis defenders and continued their high skill level the rest of the night.

"They're definitely a skilled team," Thompson said. "They were a lot faster than us today."

"There's a bunch of adjustments that we're working on and practicing, so this was a great opportunity," Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said.

Skowhegan's Makaela Michonski had five goals in the second game, including three in the first half. Indians defender AJ Martineau said her team looked at the game the same way Messalonskee looked at its game.

"We approached it as any other game: We need to win and we need to have as much passion as we can to beat this team," Martineau said.

Sarah Finnemore, Renee Wright and Rylie Blanchett also scored for Skowhegan.

"We were on tonight," Doughty said. "My kids love to play on turf. They're energized when we hit a turf field. My kids just had a wonderful time tonight."

The night ended showcasing some great field hockey, if not two competitive games.

"I'm kind of 50/50," McLaughlin said. "It's nice to play somebody that we don't play in the season. It's kind of refreshing just to see a team you haven't seen -- as opposed to, the last few years, especially, playing Skowhegan two times in one week. Then the other side is, you do want to play your hardest competition and practice against them as well. So I'm torn."

Matt DiFilippo -- 861-9243


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