St. Dom's edges Winthrop, wins first field hockey state championship

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St. Dominic Academy’s field hockey team celebrates following their win of the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship game Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

FALMOUTH — No. 59 was the one.

Hannah Trottier-Braun’s 59th goal of the season gave St. Dominic Academy a 3-2 win over Winthrop in double overtime in the Class C state title game and earned the first field hockey state championship in school history.

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Each goal Trottier-Braun has scored since Oct. 2 has set a new state single-season record, but none was as historic as the one Saturday night at Falmouth High School.

“Winning the first-ever St. Dom’s field hockey state championship is so exciting,” Trottier-Braun said. “For that to end my field hockey career, to score the overtime goal for the first state championship we’ve ever had, it’s perfect. Perfect end to a perfect season.”

Trottier-Braun took a long pass near midfield and took off toward the goal, which was more wide open than usual because the teams went to seven-on-seven for the overtime periods.

She dodged one defender to set up a one-on-one with Winthrop goalkeeper Aiva Agri. Then Trottier-Braun loaded and fired.

“I’ve practiced that shot so many times and I’ve scored a lot of goals with that shot,” Trottier-Braun said. “I knew that I had to pull it or the goalie was going to stop it. Coming down the field, that’s all I was thinking, ‘Pull and shoot. Pull and shoot.’

“And — it was so incredible.”

When the ball hit the cage, the Saints were champs.

“It feels just so good knowing that we’ve worked hard all season and it finally paid off,” St. Dom’s junior Paige Cote said.

“We were there in 2003 and 2006, but came up short,” said St. Dom’s coach Brian Kay, in his 18th season. “Finally, we get the big one.”

Trottier-Braun’s goal was the first thing the Ramblers didn’t have an answer for, and that’s only because the rules of sudden death don’t allow it

“What a great game,” Kay said. “Winthrop was an outstanding team. You can’t take anything away from them. They came to play.”

St. Dom’s Kylie Leavitt, usually more involved in setting up goals, scored the first of Saturday’s game with a shot from just inside the circle.

Winthrop controlled the attack for most of the half, and broke through with 5:02 left when Kate Perkins scored off an assist by Kerrigan Anuszewski.

Winthrop appeared to take the lead in the sixth minute of the second half, but the officials ruled that Perkins’ shot was taken from outside the circle.

With 12:09 remaining in the game, Paige Cote knocked in a loose ball to give the Saints a 2-1 lead.

“We knew that they were a really good team and that they had a lot of people in goal who had stopped some of our early shots,” Cote said. “So I knew I just had to keep trying to get it in, and I think it was the second rebound I did, but I just did everything I could to get it in the back of the net.”

The Ramblers kept coming, and Perkins sent a pass through the defense that Gia Francis put in the cage to tie the game at 2-2 with 8:42 remaining.

“We’ve been down in the regular season to a few teams, so we know how to play (from) down,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “We try to respond really fast and not let it bother us, because we know we can score. I’m just proud of them, how they responded to it.”

A few minutes later, Perkins had another shot that hit off the left crossbar.

That was as close as either team came to breaking the tie, and the game fittingly went to overtime.

Perhaps even more fittingly, it then went to a second overtime.

“Oh my gosh, that was nerve-wracking,” St. Dom’s senior captain Callie Samson said. “We’re not used to that.”

The Saints (18-0) outscored their opponents 143-9 this season. So they’re far more accustomed to blowouts than sudden death.

The plus side of overtime for them, though, was the open space resulting from each team’s on-field personnel going from 11 to seven players.

“We work well with a lot of space,” Cote said. “We were obviously nervous, but we kind of like having more space.”

“I love fast breaks; they’re what I’m good at,” Trottier-Braun said. “And, in overtime you have a lot of space because it’s seven-on-seven, and I can work with that space and I can get the breakaway and get the shot off, and hopefully get the goal.”

Throughout regulation and overtime, Trottier-Braun had several fast-break opportunities, but every time, Winthrop snuffed them out.

She found herself on another one just past the two-minute mark of the second overtime, and this time she finished as she has so many times in her career.

“She just knows where to find the net and she’s been doing it all season,” St. Dom’s coach Jennifer Brown said. “I think she felt a little bit of pressure today to get it done, but that doesn’t bother her; it’s not in her way.”

Kay has seen Trottier-Braun come through in critical moments before, but was still in awe.

“It’s amazing,” St. Dom’s co-coach Brian Kay said. “When the money’s on the line, she’s the one that can do it.”

Winthrop couldn’t have come much closer to winning without actually winning.

The Ramblers made a somewhat surprising run to the state title game after graduating so many seniors last season. This year’s team only loses one senior, Kinli DiBiase, so this might not be their last time playing for a state championship.

“It’s tough to lose it because that was so well-played on both ends,” Merrill said. “But, I guess that’s the way it goes.”

St. Dominic’s Callie Samson and Winthrop’s Kate Perkins battle for control of the ball during Saturday’s Class C State Field Hockey Championship game in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Winthrop’s Kinli DiBiase moves the ball down the field as St. Dominic Academy’s Kylie Leavitt gives chase during Saturday night’s Class C State Field Hockey Championship game in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Trottier-Braun charges the goalie as Winthrop’s Olivia Simonson chases her during the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship game Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk gets a stick in as St. Dominic Academy’s Paige Cote loses control of the ball during the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship game Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

St. Dominic Academy players pose with the championship trophy after the Saints edged Winthrop in double overtime to win the Class C state title in Falmouth on Saturday.

Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk controls the ball while St. Dominic’s Paige Cote stays on her heels during the Class C State Field Hockey Championship game Saturday in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

Kinli DiBiase, center, comforts her teammates, Nora Conrad, left, and Elle Blanchard, after losing the Class C State Field Hockey Championship on Saturday in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

St. Dominic Academy’s field hockey team celebrates their win of the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship on Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

St. Dominic Academy’s field hockey team celebrates their win of the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship on Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

St. Dominic Academy’s Hannah Trottier-Braun celebrates her team’s win in the 2017 Class C State Field Hockey Championship game Saturday night in Falmouth. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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