LISBON — Winthrop started the 2016 field hockey season rich in scoring options. After the first two weeks of the season, however, the Ramblers learned that having a lot of options isn’t much of an advantage if they aren’t in position to score.
Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill changed formations last week after the Ramblers were shut out by Oak Hill. The result of going from a three-forward front to four forwards has been five goals in the last two games, including Monday’s 3-0 win over Lisbon.
“We realized we needed to be more offensive. We’ve got the talent to be more offensive,” Merrill said. “We needed to finish, and we’re starting to do that with the new formation.”
Emily Molino was the Ramblers’ primary finisher Monday, tallying two goals to help Winthrop improve to 5-1-1.
“Our passing was really good,” Molino said. “We’ve been working on switching around, like if a mid dribbles it up, a forward will drop back. I think the new formation has been working well with our switching and our passing. And our vision in the circle has been really good.”
Molino helped set up Winthrop’s first goal midway through the first half, inserting the ball into the circle to Kate Perkins, who passed it to Kinli Dibiase for a one-timer to beat Lisbon goalie Mickalyia Harnden (six saves).
Molino found the back of the cage for the first time 3:07 into the second half. Moriah Hajduk’s cross in front hit Sarah Spahr’s stick and appeared to be headed for the end line before an alert Molino redirected it into the cage.
“I thought it might be going out, so I tipped it in with the tip of my stick,” Molino said. “I got a pretty good hook on it. I saw the goalie lunging, so I went right down with it.”
“We know that (Lisbon is) a second-half team. We knew they were going to be a different team in the second half and we just wanted to match it,” Merrill said. “We know that they pass well and they’ve got some really fast forwards, so we were trying to watch them.”
The Greyhounds (4-3-0) outshot the Ramblers, 11-9, but seemed to be a step slow on a number of passes in their offensive end. When they did connect, Winthrop goalkeeper Corinna Coulton (11 saves) kept them from converting and seizing momentum.
“Corinna did a great job,” Merrill said. “We’ve been doing a lot of lifts with her in practice, and she stopped a lot of balls that could have very easily been in on any other goalie.”
Molino added the icing with her second goal, unassisted, with 3:50 remaining.
“We’ve been really working on cuts and passing. I feel like that’s what we really do well, and I think it showed today,” Merrill said. “We’re starting to come into our own, I think. I think we’ve had eight or nine different girls score. It’s really anyone on a given day, and with this formation, it gives us more flexibility and more looks up front.”