Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk, right, fires a shot at the net while being defended by Spruce Mountain’s Avery Williams during a September game in Winthrop. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

One of the Winthrop’s best offensive players is also one of its best defenders.

Senior Moriah Hajduk is listed as a midfielder, but depending how the game is going she might be on the front line trying to add to her point totals (she has 12 goals and 15 assists this season), or on the back line helping the defense.

Most likely, when Winthrop meets Spruce Mountain in the Class C state championship at Deering High School’s Memorial Stadium (Saturday, 1 p.m.), Hajduk will need to do both as the Ramblers look to claim their first state championship since 1989.

If she has to choose, Hajduk’s preference is trying to stop goals.

“I actually like being more defensive, because I started off as a defensive player when I started playing field hockey because it was the only thing I felt I could do,” Hajduk said. “I really have stepped up with my offensive skills, and I like being able to play anywhere, knowing I can be there for my team when they need me. I have the confidence in myself I can help in any situation that I can.”

Hajduk’s biggest strength as a defender may be her small stature because it allows her to be low to the ground, and she’s able to use her skills better.

She credits the Maine Majestix — a club team based in Waterville — with helping improve her offensive skills and gaining the confidence to be an all-around threat on the field.

Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill likes having a rover on the field who provides flexibility in the lineup and isn’t limited one portion of the field.

“The plan was to put her wherever we needed her at the time,” Merrill said. “She’s so sound offensively and defensively, she’s solid there, so depending how the game goes we adjust it accordingly. If we need a goal, she’s up front, if we need more defense, she’s out back. It really depends on the game, we have senior backs that can carry the game as well. It’s nice to have that extra flexibility with here because she’s so versatile.”

The Ramblers have bought into that versatility,a nd Merrill said the players don’t care who’s scoring the goals or who’s defending, they just want to win.

Hajduk usually starts the game up front, as the Ramblers look to grab the lead and make the other team play catch-up. Once the lead is safe and they don’t need an insurance marker, she’ll be moved to the back line.

“We want to structure ourselves more on the defensive side to make sure they don’t get any more opportunities,” Hajduk said. “If it’s the other way around and we are down, or if it’s a tough game, I’ll stay on the offensive side.”

In the regular season, Winthrop won both matchups, 1-0 on Sept. 14 and 3-0 on Sept. 26.

Hajduk’s fellow defenders love when she moves to the back line.

“We feel like we know if Moriah is near the ball, she’s most likely going to get it,” senior midfielder Katie Perkins said. “If not, she’s going to slow the girl down, no matter what.”

Perkins said Hajduk brings intensity and is the engine that makes the Ramblers go, whether it’s during a game or in a practice.

Merrill said that Hajduk is almost a coach on the field, someone who will be and an extra voice so it’s not just the coaching staff trying to relay messages.

“She’s my floor general on the field, along with Katie Perkins,” Merrill said. “It’s nice to have them on different lines, whether she’s directing the front line and Katie is directing the back line. It’s good to have those extra voices that are out there that know what I am thinking before I even say it. Her and Kate are the first ones to step up, either before the game or at halftime, to say what I was going to say so I don’t have to.”

Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk controls the ball while St. Dominic’s Paige Cote stays on her heels during the 2017 Class C state field hockey championships in Falmouth last October. (Sun Journal file photo)


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