WINTHROP — Aiva Agri came up big when her team needed her.
Winthrop’s senior goaltender made eight saves for a 1-0 shutout over Mountain Valley in a MVC field hockey clash. The Ramblers improved to 6-0 while the Falcons dropped their second straight game and fell to 4-2.
She made six of her saves in the opening half, including four off of penalty corners. Her biggest saves came off a Rylee Sevigny breakaway as she came out to challenge before Sevigny could get a clean shot off.
“I saw it coming so I knew I had to do something quick and, again it’s a 50/50 kind of thing, so you have to choose quick and be careful,” Agri said.
For Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill, it was the game Agri needed once the leaves start changing colors and the calendar turns to October.
“She really hasn’t been tested at all this year,” Merrill said. “For her to come out and do this, this is what we saw from her last year when those games were important. It’s really good to see now because I know that makes our defense more confident and it’s going to give her so much more confidence. She kept us in this game, there’s no reason why we should have been in this game”
The Ramblers were only able to get one shot off in the first half.
It took about 15 minutes for the Falcons to get adjusted to Winthrop’s field before they could get any offensive pressure on Agri.
Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes said she was pleased with her team’s effort against the defending Class C North champions
“I am not disappointed in how they played,” Forbes said. “Each game they have to adjust to the other team and settle in. We knew this week was going to be tough for us and everything was going to be a challenge. They are a little disappointed and I didn’t want them to quit, I wanted them to keep their chin up.”
The game remained scoreless until 11:34 remaining, when Maddie Perkins pounced on the loose ball near the cage and jammed it across the goal line for the only goal of the contest. Bre Feeney had the assist.
Mountain Valley goalie Nora Tag stopped three shots, all coming in the second half.
“Our team was getting intense and I was getting really intense,” Perkins said. “I really just wanted to score and get up by a (goal) and beat this team because this team is tough and they beat us before in the preseason. We kind of went down there and the whole team was intense and it took the whole team to get the goal. I was the lucky one to finish it.”
The Ramblers were able to settle down after the goal and were able to play there game, something they weren’t able to do for the most the day.
“We changed our formation to go more defensively,” Merrill said. “I think the girls woke up a little bit. My seniors started to go to the ball after that goal. We weren’t going to the ball like they were…We need to be better prepared at the beginning of the game.”
Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri celebrates with her teammates after the Ramblers beat Mountain Valley 1-0 in Winthrop on Wednesday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri comes out to defend a driving Rylee Sevigny of Mountain Valley during the first half in Winthrop on Wednesday. Agri made the save. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)
Abbie Ross, left, of Winthrop High School and Faith Riddick of Mountain Valley compete for the ball during Wednesday’s game in Winthrop. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)