JAY — Erin Gats couldn’t tell you where the goalie was.

The Spruce Mountain senior forward rushed to the net in anticipation of a crossing pass. She paid little attention to anything else around her. She was focused on only one thing at that crucial moment.

“What was going through my head was ‘Oh it’s up in the air. I hope I’m able to get it because if I don’t I’m going to be so angry.'” said Gats. “I feel like keeping my eye on the ball really helped and hoping it would go in.”

Whether it be her great hand-eye coordination or her wishful thinking, Gats was able to get a stick on Jahna Couture’s pass from the right wing. She redirected it toward the net and past Winthrop goalie Alyssa Arsenault for the overtime winner with 1:17 left in the first overtime.

Spruce Mountain’s 3-2 victory Wednesday handed the Ramblers their first loss of the season.

“This is a huge win,” said Gats. “It all came down to teamwork and working together. I think we really came together and pulled it off.”

The defending Eastern C champions (5-1) had not allowed a goal all season and had outscored opponents 26-0.

“Emotionally, it was a huge pick-up,” said Spruce Mountain co-coach Jane DiPompo. “Heal points-wise it’s a huge move too because we were afraid because of the Lisbon game that was going to hurt our chances. As many points as they’re worth, this helps.”

The Phoenix (5-1) had lost to Lisbon and were third in Western C. Winthrop was second in Eastern C.

“That was the toughest game we’ve had so far,” said Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton. “We expected it to be.”

Spruce Mountain had to rally from an early 1-0 deficit and then regroup after the Ramblers scored late in regulation to tie it.

“We try not to let it get to our heads,” said Gats. “We try to keep our heads up and work together as a team and try to pull it off.”

Winthrop got the first one at 3:35 when Rachel Ingram poked one in from the left side of the net.

The Phoenix created some good chances in the first half but couldn’t get the equalizer until a scramble produced the tying goal with two seconds left. Victoria Ouellette put a shot in front. Kayla Meserve fed Gats in the scramble for the goal.

The Phoenix outshot the Ramblers 7-2 in the second half and took the lead with 16:41 left. Nicole Hamblin converted a loose ball in front for the go-ahead goal.

Spruce Mountain’s defensive effort was solid and did a great job breaking up Winthrop’s offensive attack.  Lauren Kaiser led the Ramblers midfield play, but when Winthrop managed to get a rush going, the Phoenix was able to limit passes and quality shots.

“They did a good job of marking in the midfield,” said Coulton. “That’s the opposite of the way that we like to play. We like to carry it and pass it.”

Still, Winthrop managed to tie it on a nice passing play with 5:46 left. Mary-Claire Blanchard crossed it from the right to Emmah Spahr. She sent it toward the left post where Kelsey Stoneton tipped it in.

“We’ve been talking about playing 60 minutes,” said DiPompo. “We can’t play less than a minute because if we let down emotionally or physically, someone’s going to capitalize.”

Both teams had an early chance in overtime. Spruce Mountain’s LaDesta Tracy put a shot toward the net where Meserve and Rachel Calden nearly got a tip on it. Winthrop got a rush from Spahr on the right side. Phoenix goalie Kasey Richards came out to make the stop.

As the overtime wound down, Couture won possession along the right sidelined and fed Gats in front for her second of the game.

“We knew we had to keep playing harder and harder and doing what we’ve been doing,” said Gats.

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