Central Maine Field Hockey Teams Come Together for Victories Over Violence Fundraiser – Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel | Region & Cash

WATERVILLE — Team fundraisers have always been a big deal for the Skowhegan field hockey team, but in the last two years the River Hawks have tried something new.

For nine years, Skowhegan hosted its Battle for Breast Cancer event, which raised money for the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center in nearby Farmington. But when the fundraiser returned last summer after a year-long hiatus, the team’s head coach, Paula Doughty, decided to take a different direction.

“One of the things we heard during COVID was that there was a lot of physical and emotional abuse,” Doughty said. “We thought it was really important to sit down and take a look at this situation and give it some attention, so the girls took it upon themselves to do that.”

The team did this by reorganizing the Battle for Breast Cancer into the Victories over Violence tournament, with proceeds benefiting the Family Violence Project. After a small tournament with just four teams in 2021, Victories over Violence grew to 10 this year and was already on track to surpass fundraising goals by the start of the Games.

Skowhegan, Erskine Academy, Lawrence, Maine Central Institute, Messalonskee, Mt. Blue, Nokomis, Winslow, Winthrop and Dexter all competed in Saturday’s tournament, which was held at Thomas College. The teams competed in a six-hour round-robin tournament in the form of 25-minute games played on the university’s two grass pitches.

Winslow High School goaltender Laine Bell, 22, makes a save against Messalonskee Saturday at Thomas College in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Watchman

But while those games were exciting, they were secondary to what was going on off the field. From running 50-50 raffles to securing total donations, event organizers were raising money at a breakneck pace as they scoured the area in search of willing donors.

“We already have $20,000 and we’re just getting started,” Doughty said at 3 p.m., just an hour into the tournament. “Our goal was $25,000 and we will certainly achieve that. Businesses and people themselves have all been very generous and the kids love it.”

Much of the money had already been raised before players, coaches and spectators gathered at Thomas’s home for the games. Some of the teams in attendance, including Skowhegan, Lawrence and Messalonskee, held their own fundraisers in the days leading up to the event.

Lawrence raised $1,135 from a late Friday afternoon car wash at Grass Eater’s in Waterville and another $300 from a bottle ride. Players and coaches received significant support with signs calling for donations, and a reminder that, as one poster put it, “Love should always be safe.”

Members of the Skowhegan High School field hockey team try to take refuge from the sun under umbrellas at the Victories Over Violence field hockey tournament Saturday in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Watchman

In addition to the money raised, the Lawrence players also heard from head coach Shawna Robinson’s brother, Robert Rogers. Rogers, who works with youth and family services in Skowhegan, addressed the team and sparked a discussion that the Bulldogs found very impactful.

“Being so young just teaches us that there are resources that we need if we ever need them and that it’s important to build healthy relationships, not toxic ones,” said Lawrence senior Ashlynn Stewart. “It’s a problem that happens at home and isn’t really seen or talked about, so it’s important to draw attention to it in a tournament like this.”

Although the rubber-laden field turf contributed to the mid-90 degree heat, the steady breeze made the afternoon game bearable. As the tournament brought together teams from different classifications, there were intriguing encounters such as the 1-1 draw between Skowhegan and Lawrence.

“We’re in A and they’re in B, but we play a lot in preseason and the games are always great,” said Robinson. “It’s great that we were able to play for a good cause today. We want to fight each other on the field, but it’s important to fight together for something like that.”

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