The magical ride of the Cheverus field hockey team finally came to an end Saturday afternoon.
The Stags, who came from nowhere to win an unexpected and delicious first-ever Western Class A crown, ran into the same roadblock that so many teams from the region have encountered over the past decade and lost, 3-0, to Skowhegan in the state championship game at the University of Maine in Orono.
Cheverus, which went 10-4 in the regular season, good for the fourth seed, edged No. 5 Kennebunk, 3-2, in the quarterfinals, shocked top-ranked and defending state champion Scarborough in the semis, 2-1, then blew past No. 7 Bonny Eagle, 5-2, in the regional final, behind four goals from senior standout Emily Sawchuck.
The Stags had an uphill battle against the Indians Saturday and weren’t able to spring another monumental upset.
Early on, Cheverus got a pair of penalty corners and set up Sawchuck, but both of her shots were turned aside. Skowhegan scored twice in the first half, once on a penalty stroke and another on a penalty corner to seize control. The Indians scored again in the second half and went on to a 3-0 victory, ending the finest season in Stags’ history at 13-5.
“Skowhegan is just so skilled,” said Cheverus coach Amy McMullin. “We tried to keep the ball away from their best players, but the others are so strong. We had no threats at all. “Chuck and (junior) Sarah (LaQuerre) couldn’t get anything going. I hoped we’d play a little better. We played hard, but didn’t make passes.”
Skowhegan not only won its ninth title in 10 seasons, but has now captured Class A 12 times in 16 state final appearances.
As for the Stags, they couldn’t have enjoyed their season more.
“It was a great, fun season,” McMullin said. “I’m really proud of the girls. We exceeded all expectations. We completely jelled in the playoffs and played well.”
Cheverus graduates seven seniors (four starters), including Sawchuck, Anna McDonough, Lexi Hilton and Taylor Witham, but this program has established itself as top tier and should be one to be reckoned with again in 2011.
“We’re fairly young so we hope to do it again next year,” McMullin said. “We had a very talented JV team. I hope the younger kids do what the sophomores did this year.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org