The canceled 2020 postseason hurt few teams more than the Maranacook girls soccer team and the Winthrop field hockey team.The Black Bears were formidable, on their way to an undefeated season, the first in program history. The Ramblers were senior-laden, and eager to make a run at a third straight state final. They were strong. They didn’t get a chance to prove how strong.

Given that chance this season, both teams made a statement that was a year in the making. Maranacook won the Class C championship with a 5-0 victory over Bucksport, while Winthrop won the Class C title with a 3-2 victory over MCI.

Maranacook’s victory put the finishing touch on a 16-1-1 season, one the Black Bears felt from the start had the chance to be special.

“It was just super rewarding,” senior midfielder Ella Delisle said. “The whole season, we had all worked so hard as a team, and we were all so excited to finish it off like that. … We all thought that last year we would have done really well in playoffs. This year coming in, we were all really excited to get another chance, another stab at it.”

“We felt we had to prove to ourselves and prove to everyone else that we could get back to where we were in the past years,” senior back Winter Webb said. “We’ve been pretty successful, so I think it was a mental battle with ourselves.”

The Black Bears were good everywhere this season. Emily Harper scored over 30 goals, but Natalie Mohlar and Grace Dwyer scored over 10, Ella Schmidt became the team’s best marker on defense, and Anna Erb and Kayleigh Kubicki gave the team two strong goalkeepers.

Maranacook had put together good seasons before, with a trip to the C final in 2018, another to the regional final in 2019 and the undefeated season last year. But there was one more hurdle left.

“We’ve (come) so close since I was a freshman,” Delisle said. “Coming into this game, we just thought we might as well give it our all. It’s our last chance, last game.”

Maranacook cleared the hurdle easily, getting two goals from Harper and one apiece from Addie Watson, Schmidt and Dwyer. Mission accomplished, and the perfect cap to an unprecedented four-year run for the program.

“I think it started with the seniors we had when we were freshmen, and the culture that we came into,” Webb said. “We were just kind of brought up in that, and we’ve been blessed not to kn0w anything different. … It’s the culture that we were brought up in, and (it’s) what we’re trying to give back.”

“I think there was pressure to try to get it done this year,” Maranacook coach Travis Magnusson said. “They deserve it. I just wanted them to have a chance to experience all the things they’re experiencing right now.”

Winthrop senior halfback Maddie Perkins (11) shoots past MCI’s Gracie Moore to score the game-winning goal in the Class C field hockey state championship Saturday at Cony High School in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Winthrop (18-0-0) already had the breakthrough, winning the Class C field hockey title in 2018. But after falling in the final in 2019, the Ramblers were hoping to make a run with a team led by nine seniors last year, only to see the pandemic change everything.

“Traditionally, when you graduate nine seniors, you would call that a building year,” Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said.

Winthrop quickly sensed it would be good. How good, though, was a question.

“A lot of people dream of having a perfect season, not losing a game,” senior Maddie Perkins said. “And honestly, at the beginning of the season, I thought we were going to lose games. I knew that we could go far, but I never really imagined winning every single game this year.”

It became clear that Winthrop just had too much firepower. Perkins was the leading scorer with 33 goals, but Bella Littler and Lauryn Wood added 20 goals apiece. Madeline Wagner scored 15 and added a school-record 28 assists. Izzy Folsom had 13 goals.

Wagner, Folsom and Wood, however, are freshmen. Littler and Julia Letourneau, who inserted many of the team’s corners, are juniors. This was a team that wasn’t just rolling over opponents, but doing it with young and inexperienced players all over the field.

“I think that’s one of the things that we were most nervous about,” Perkins said. “I think we were nervous about how they would adjust, but they adjusted.”

Coulton said she found out quickly how smart her team was, in addition to being talented.

“We didn’t have to go through a drill or an exercise over and over again,” she said. “They got it, they understood what they were supposed to be doing. … They understood the concept, and they were very, very motivated to want to improve.”

Winthrop rolled through the Mountain Valley Conference and C South bracket, taking a 110-5 advantage in goals (according to Maine Principals’ Association records) into the final. MCI climbed out of a late hole, scoring the tying goal with three minutes left, but despite being untested to that point, Winthrop went back on the attack and earned a corner — one Perkins scored on with 1:06 to play.

“We did not want to play overtime,” Perkins said. “You could see it at the end of the game, we were dead. We left it out on the field.”

And it was enough — for a championship, and a perfect record to boot.

“I’m just so proud of everyone,” Perkins said. “It still doesn’t feel real.”


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