WINTHROP, Maine — Penalty corners, as they do in many field hockey games, played a big role in determining who would win Tuesday’s Class C North quarterfinal between No. 3 Winthrop and No. 6 Mount View. The host Ramblers scored on one of theirs, then later stopped a flurry of Mustang corners in a 3-1 victory.
Mount View (7-8) goalie Alexis Bowman made a couple of kick saves on a Winthrop (12-2-1) penalty corner just over 10 minutes into the first half. She didn’t get a chance to stop a shot on another corner six minutes later.
Moriah Hajduk got solid contact on her hit from just inside the circle. The ball found its way to Emily Molino, who inserted the ball, and the senior easily tapped in the opening goal with no defender near her.
“I was really surprised that it was just wide open,” Molino said. “Usually I’m double, triple-teamed. They’re always like, ‘get on 20.’”
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“There should have been somebody there and there wasn’t,” Mount View coach Gloria Hewitt said.
Molino said it was “really important” to get on the scoreboard first. The Ramblers dominated the first half, holding the Mustangs without a shot on goal and holding a 4-1 advantage in corners.
Yet it was only 1-0 at halftime. The one-goal advantage quickly grew, however.
Hajduk again got the ball on her stick at the top of the circle, and though she claims she wasn’t necessarily aiming for the back of the goal, the sophomore found it anyway just over two minutes into the half, thanks to a well-struck shot.
“Today I think my shot was pretty on,” Hajduk said.
The Mustangs had their best chance to close the gap around nearing the 10-minute mark of the half. One corner became two, then three, then four in a two-minute span. But not one produced a goal.
“Something’s going to happen. We’re going to score something here,” Hewitt remembered thinking.
The Ramblers had other plans.
“They had really good shots, and we did a really good job of getting it out, knowing what was on the line,” Hajduk said.
“It starts with Corinna (Coulton) in goal,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “She definitely is our senior leader back there. We definitely had some mental lapses, where they kept getting corners. I’ve got a lot of senior leadership back there, and just being able to stop those plays, to break up those plays, it really was a huge mental boost for us.”
A goal by the Mustangs did eventually come, but not before Winthrop made it 3-0. Hajduk was in on a scoring play again, feeding Sarah Spahr for a goal 16:40 into the half. Mount View scored its lone goal 48 seconds later, with Reanna Boulay assisting on Summer Brown’s shot near the right post.
Merrill admitted that Tuesday’s contest was not her team’s best game, but she was happy that they didn’t come out flat after winning the MVC Championship game on Friday. Hajduk said the players did a good job of staying together, rather than fall apart like they have in the past.
Tuesday’s playoff win also made amends for two straight first-round playoff exits for the Ramblers.
“It was really special to us seniors because we’ve been trying really hard for the past two years,” Molino said. “We just really wanted to get past this round.”
Winthrop will visit Dexter on Friday to take on the No. 2 Tigers, a 5-0 winner over Mattanawcook of Lincoln on Tuesday.