Winthrop defenders, including Hanna Caprara, left, surround their goalie, Alicia Bridges as they wait for the ball to come down during Wednesday’s game in Lewiston against Boothbay. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Winthrop’s Gia Francis, left, and Maddy Perkins, right, swing at a rebound after Boothbay goalie Chloe Arsenault made a save during Wednesday’s field hockey game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Boothbay’s Emily Echols, left, tries to block a pass by Winthrop’s Katie Perkins during the first half of Wednesday’s game in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

LEWISTON — With only 11 girls on the roster and a freshman goalkeeper in only her second game at the position, Boothbay traveled to Don Roux Field at Lewiston High School to face against top-seeded Winthrop in a Class C North quarterfinal.

The first half was a closely-contested match with Winthrop attacking but not getting efficient results. The Ramblers did score twice in the first half and finished off Boothbay, 5-1, on Wednesday night.

Winthrop will face Orono in the regional semifinals on Saturday.

“It seems all season we have come out flat in the first half and we’ve had to pick it up in the second half,” Winthrop head coach Jessica Merrill said. “We are working on that, still, but it’s good to see we were able to make those adjustments and execute it.”

Boothbay pressed hard in the opening minutes with a lot of early possession, but Winthrop got on the board just eight minutes into the first half thanks to a goal from Breonna Feeney. Feeney passed the ball in on a penalty corner and, after a couple of passes, the ball was tipped up to Feeney from Moriah Hajduk and tapped in.

For the next 30 minutes, however, Boothbay hung tight. Winthrop shot in bunches but goalkeeper Jaelyn Crocker saved seven shots in the first half alone.

“We knew we could not play them straight up and we needed to make some adjustments,” Boothbay coach Donna Jordan said. “We made some adjustments and the girl in goal was only in her second game there, so we are very pleased with her. We decided to mix it up and tried to see what we could do.”

With just two minutes remaining in the half, Hajduk scored off a deflected ball that found her in the middle of the penalty area. The hard-hit shot was a momentum shift for the Ramblers, and a much-needed one.

“I think it was just a bit cold, and we were having a really good warm-up, but we came out a little off,” Hajduk said. “We picked it up really well and just knew if we were able to get it through the outside and cross it in then that’s where we would have the most success.”

After putting up nine shots in the first half, Winthrop came out firing in the second and scored seven minutes into the half. Kerrigan Anuszewski passed the ball to Kate Perkins after a penalty corner and Perkins rifled it past Crocker for the score.

Winthrop continued to press in the second half and just six minutes later Maddie Perkins finally scored off a rebound after having multiple close-calls.

The Ramblers’ focus of the second half was to play with more urgency.

“We knew we had to do a better job of moving the ball,” Merrill said. “In the second half we really tried to focus on our two-v-ones because we are a passing team.”

Hajduk scored again with eight minutes to play to put Winthrop up 5-0.

“We knew the score did not reflect (in the first half) to what kind of team we are and we hold ourselves accountable for that,” Hajduk said. “We hold ourselves at a high standard because we know when we are off. We talked about it and said, ‘We know that we are not having as much effort out there and we are kind of tired but we just need to play smart hockey and our hockey and we will get the results that we want,’ and we did.”

Boothbay’s Chloe Arsenault scored with just over six minutes remaining in the contest, proving that the side with no bench players never quit.

“Typically we have played with the 10 to have a sub but playing against them we knew we needed all 11 to have a shot,” Jordan said. “We have a very strong middle school program, 30-35 players, and we graduated nine seniors but we gave it our best shot and we play with a lot of heart.”


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