ORONO — It had every indication of being an even game, and it was. But there’s something about a goal barely a minute into the game that changes the whole complexion of things.
Arianna Kahler scored for Lisbon with just 1 minute, 2 seconds elapsed off the clock, and Winthrop never got back to even. Lisbon held on for a 2-1 victory, winning the Class C state title at Morse Field at Alfond Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“When they score early like that, the kids didn’t get down, but you’re in a hole,” Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said. “It was just one of those things.”
Lisbon finishes at 17-0-1. The tie was against Winthrop. The Ramblers, who reached the state final for the second straight year, end 15-2-1.
The Greyhounds earned a penalty corner less than a minute into the game, and scored on their second corner, when Kahler tipped in a tipped pass from Bailey Cutler.
Winthrop got six penalty corners of its own over the rest of the first half, but still did not have a shot in the first 30 minutes. With Lisbon playing back on defense, the Ramblers could not get a shot through the maze of players. Often on corners, Winthrop got an open shot from the edge of the circle, only to have a Lisbon defender like Allison Bubar stop it five yards from the cage.
“I know that their drives are impressive, so I just tried to keep my stick down,” said Bubar, who also had a defensive save.
“We don’t really have the philosophy to pack it in,” Lisbon coach Julie Wescott said. “(We) just mark up and find the most dangerous opponent and don’t allow them to get the first touch on the pass.”
Down 1-0 at the half, it was clear Winthrop’s best chance for a goal would be to get a breakaway and a numbers advantage. Instead, Lisbon scored a goal that way.
The Ramblers got their first shot of the game when three players got behind the defense on a corner and crowded Lisbon goalie Stevie Charest. After Charest made the save, the Greyhounds raced upfield.
Lisbon got three shots in the sequence and Winthrop had to play chase and never got its defense completely set. Molly Nicholson slid a pass to Hannah Jordan on the left post for a goal and Lisbon led 2-0 with 23:52 left in the game.
Again, Winthrop had chances. But at this point, Lisbon could focus even more on defense.
“They were either doing a super job of getting back or they pulled some extra people back in,” Coulton said. “When you’re (ahead), you can play more defensively.”
Winthrop got its goal on a busted play. The insertion pass on the penalty corner went only a few yards and Winthrop’s Shauna Carlson frantically got the ball out of the circle and back in to make the play legal. Carlson then got a pass to Mary Claire Blanchard, who scored with 5:34 left.
“We were a little rambled at that point,” Wescott said. “I think we focused a little bit too much on how the corner was messed up and lost track. We took a timeout after that to refocus.”
After that timeout, Lisbon had the last real scoring chance for either team but Carlson came up with a defensive save.
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243