Mountain Valley’s Leigha Carrier, left and Winthrop’s Nohah Hajduk battle for possession of the ball during Wednesday’s field hockey game at Hosmer Field in Rumford
RUMFORD — A pair of goals by Elle Blanchard and Moriah Hajduk in the first third of the first half ultimately held up, as Winthrop refused to let up and pulled away for a decisive 6-1 triumph against Mountain Valley in MVC field hockey action Wednesday.
“Winthrop is a good team. They are fast and the passing made it difficult for us (marking) up,” Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes said. “They simply wore us down, especially during the second half. We only have two subs and that is not enough to be able to spell the girls.”
Indeed, Winthrop (6-0), ranked No.1 in Class C North, started out fast to set the tone by crashing on offense and it paid off. The Ramblers were awarded a penalty corner, and Brenna Feeney passed the ball forward to Blanchard, who poked it in to the right corner of the cage, just 1:17 in to the game.
Winthrop made it 2-0 as Hajduk scored when her shot eluded Falcons goalie Alyssa Akers (16 saves), who had rushed out to cut down the angle. Feeney (goal, two assists) assisted on the play, with 20:18 left in the first half.
“I thought that scoring would be hard for us,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “This team plays well together. Our passing was crisp, and along with our speed can be a force.”
The Ramblers’ offensive onslaught had served to put the Mountain Valley defense back on their heels. Courtney Thibodeau, Cloey Ledesma and Arianna Viger had trouble clearing balls away.
The two teams have a history of playing competitive games face off at the Hosmer Complex against each other. Last October, Winthrop beat the Falcons 1-0 and battled to a 0-0 stalemate, in double overtime, in 2014.
The early deficit was a bitter pill to swallow for the Falcons (3-3), but following a timeout they were able to regroup.
Mountain Valley pressured the offensive zone and earned a penalty corner. Avery Sevigny scored off a pass by her younger sister Rylee. Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri (seven saves) had stopped the initial shot by Faith Riddick, but the Sevigny converted with 2:40 remaining in the first half.
“They had played with a lot more confidence (in a win Monday) against Spruce Mountain” Forbes said. “Our positioning was a problem at times. Akers is aggressive in goal and needs space to come out. Our defense backs in too deep, and it’s hard for Alyssa to see and do her thing.”
Winthrop broke things open when its lone senior Kinli Dibase stopped the ball in the circle and scored two goals early in the second half. Feeney and Nora Conrad also scored.
“We changed our formation in the second and it opened space up for Kinli,” Merrill said. “The Mountain Valley defense was standing straight up and lunging at balls. So, we kept passing and stuck with the fundamentals.”
Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk, left and Kinli Dibiase work to move up the field during Wednesday’s game against Mountain Valley.
Mountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigny fires a shot on goal during Wednesday’s field hockey game at Hosmer Field in RumfordMountain Valley’s Rylee Sevigny fires a shot on goal during Wednesday’s field hockey game at Hosmer Field in Rumford