Spruce Mountain’s Emily Castonguay goes after the ball as Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri stands guard in a field hockey game in Jay on Wednesday.
JAY — Ask freshman Kerrigan Anuszewski how she feels about scoring the game-winning goal and she begins talking about her Winthrop Ramblers.
Anuszewski isn’t looking for critical acclaim for her heroic efforts, which gave the Winthrop (9-0-1) a 3-2 overtime victory against feisty and stubborn Spruce Mountain (5-4) in a field hockey game on Wednesday afternoon. She also scored the go-ahead goal in the second half.
“It feels really good, but it was really a team effort,” Anuszewski said. “Our goalie made an amazing save down at the other goal. Without everyone, it wouldn’t have happened.
“We were just all in our spots. We were all trying to make it there. The ball was loose and I just had to get it past the goalie and in.”
No problem — and she did with no time on the clock after a corner was called.
Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill is well aware that the Phoenix are a good passing team and are a tough act to beat.
“We anticipated it being up and down and were ready to be really intense,” Merrill said. “We did anticipate this.
“I thought … the girls really kept their composure. A lot teams would have just crumbled. We held strong and I am really proud of them, and we didn’t have those mental lapses.
“They kept having those corners and we kept focused and keeping that ball out of the cage. It was a great game by both teams. That team played really hard. I am really proud of my girls. It was pretty awesome.”
The game was tied at 2-2 after the second half. Seven-man teams were called to field for an eight-minute overtime. It appeared the game would end in a draw, but that’s when Anuszewski stepped up and settled the score.
Spruce Mountain had a golden opportunity to end it with 2:59 left in overtime. The Phoenix’s Mikenzie Parker was awarded a penalty stroke, but her shot slapped against the post as Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri dropped to the ground to guard the net.
Despite a heartbreaking loss, Spruce Mountain co-coaches Jane Dipompo and Julia Parker beamed with pride. Both coaches took a break from coaching the Phoenix field hockey team to watch their children play.
They returned to coach the Phoenix after Tanya Evans suddenly resigned.
“Each game we have seen has been an improvement,” Dipompo said. “They are really working hard and they are a good bunch of girls.
“They switched fields and their passing was good. They played well together. They are talking. We are having fun.”
Parker echoed Dipompo’s remarks.
“The girls played aggressive. They had a lot speed out there,” Parker said. “A lot talking and communication with the girls. They weren’t giving up that is for sure.
“They (Ramblers) are tough. They have always had a good program.”
The Phoenix struck first in the opening half. Ari Armandi scored an unassisted goal with 14:55 left. But with 2:16 remaining in the first half, Winthrop’s Kinli DiBiase dropped one in the net to tie the game.
The second half would be a repeat of the first.
This time, the Ramblers scored first, with the goal going to Anuszewski at 28:10. For the next 23 minutes, it looked like Winthrop was going to walk away with a 2-1 win and skip overtime.
No such luck. Spruce Mountain’s Emily Castonguay scored on an assist by Morgan Dalton and tied the game with 5:30 left in the game.
Winthrop’s Olivia Simonson and Spruce Mountain’s Emily Castonguay battle for the ball in a field hockey game in Jay on Wednesday,Spruce Mountains’s Mikenzie Parker watches her penalty shot bounce off the post as Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri drops to the ground during overtime in a field hockey game in Jay on Wednesday.Spruce Mountain’s Ari Armandi slips the ball past Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri and scores the first goal of the game in Jay on Wednesday afternoon.