Born to longtime coach Sharon Coulton, who plied her trade at Winthrop High School, Corinna had one of the best seats in the house to watch her mother’s teams rack up about half of her 300 wins and earn multiple berths in regional finals — including back-to-back victories in 2011-12, after which Sharon stepped down. Corinna is far too young to have seen the Ramblers hoist the state trophy, though she’s likely heard plenty about it.

Now, it’s part of her job.

“She learned a lot last year under (former senior goalie) Alyssa (Arsenault),” Winthrop head coach Jess Merrill said. “She knew this was going to be her team coming in. She knew she was going to be stepping in. With every game, she seems to be getting much more confident. Her clears are better, she’s talking a lot more. For a young goalie, she’s not scared at all.”

The younger Coulton, now a sophomore at Winthrop, is the team’s starting goalie.

“I was kind of nervous at the start, because we lost a lot of starters from last year, so I was expecting a lot of shots,” Corinna said. “Now I see we have a good, strong team, and I feel much more confident in the cage.”

That Corinna is starting on a varsity squad as a sophomore for a traditional power in the talent-rich Mountain Valley Conference comes as little surprise to Merrill. After three very strong seasons, the Ramblers are in the throes of a youth movement — only one senior plays for the team this season, and a large piece of the team’s core is in 10th grade.

“I’m glad she’s only a sophomore,” Merrill said. “She’s only going to get better, and that’s true with the whole class. We’re young right now, but these girls have grown up so much together.”

That core includes Corinna, of course, who remains under the watchful eye of her mother. Sharon stepped down as the varsity coach after the 2012 season, but she remains the team’s assistant coach, having swapped places with Merrill, who was her assistant for three seasons.

“I knew it would be (stressful),” Sharon said. “That’s why I wanted to have one role at a time. Or one-and-a-half, that’s a good way to put it.”

“She takes care of me,” Corinna admitted.

Sharon may help take care of her, but she also still “Coach” out on the field.

“It’s definitely still ‘Coach,'” Sharon said. “It’s been that way for so long. When her friends were coming up, I happened to be ‘Corinna’s mom.’ It was the same way in school last year. You know it’s coming, it’s the way it is in a smaller school. It’s fun that way.”

Fun, and nerve wracking.

“I’ve never seen her so nervous before,” Merrill said of Sharon. “It’s funny to see her such a different type of role. I can’t relate to that. because I don’t have a girl on the team. But it’s great to have a different perspective..”

Coulton the goalie isn’t a typical sophomore. Having played outside of the school team has helped her become a leader. She is vocal during games, commanding the young defensive group around her cage. It’s a trait she also picked up from Arsenault.

“Alyssa was an amazing goalie last year,” Corinna said. “I had some really big footsteps to fill in.”

“Alyssa was a great mentor to her,” Sharon said.

Now, the Ramblers are her team. Moving forward, Winthrop has a couple of classes of players waiting in the wings at the middle school level. As this year’s sophomores become juniors and seniors, the team will reload with its stockpile of young talent, giving Corinna an opportunity to go after a state crown the Ramblers haven’t seen since 1989, the second of back-to-back titles for Sharon’s teams.

“We’re getting our whole team back next year, and we have other really good girls coming up,” Corinna said. “It’s exciting.”


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