WINTHROP — In trying to defend its Eastern C field hockey title, Winthrop has scored 26 goals in the first five games of the regular season. What’s more impressive is how they’re arriving at that number.

The Ramblers are doing this without an Emily Dooling, or a Kate Krall, or a Nicki Emery, all former Winthrop stars. There are no go-to players on the Ramblers; there are simply a lot of weapons.

That was the case Monday afternoon against Mountain Valley. Three different Winthrop players scored as the Ramblers cranked out a 3-0 victory.

“That’s what’s wonderful,” Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said. “It’s not all about relying on one person to score. We had one game early on where we didn’t score as many as we perhaps could have. Once we started moving the ball more, the girls (saw) the advantage of moving the ball. If I pass to someone, I’m going to get a pass next time. So it’s building that trust there.”

Coulton switched to a five-forward setup to jazz up the offense a little bit this season. Monday’s goals were scored by Emmah Spahr, Shauna Carlson and Rachel Ingram.

“I think we’re all really strong,” Spahr said. “We’re doing things more offensively, so that helps.”

Mountain Valley (1-2-0) played in the Western B title game last season, and had an exciting 2-2 tie with Winthrop on the same field last fall. The Falcons had much more trouble with the surface this time around, as their passes often died on the way to their targets.

“Usually, our front line can dribble, pass and dodge,” Mountain Valley coach Melissa Forbes said. “On this, we couldn’t move the ball. We tried to resort to hit-and-run. We graduated nine varsity players last year. This is a new varsity group. They had a hard time adjusting.”

Still, Winthrop (5-0-0) was in control with some solid play. The Ramblers had significant advantages in shots (18-3) and penalty corners (15-5). For a while, the Falcons kept the game scoreless by clogging the area in front of the cage, especially on penalty corners. Winthrop got on the board with 9:18 left in the first half when Carlson drove a shot past the defense, and Ingram pushed the ball ahead to Spahr for an easy tap-in goal.

Cat Ouellette set up Winthrop’s second goal with some great dribbling. Ouellette got the ball ahead to Lauren Kaiser, whose short-range shot was stuffed by Mountain Valley goalie Vanessa Swett. But Carlson corralled the long rebound and sent it home for a 2-0 lead with 17:39 left in the second half.

Less than a minute later, Kaiser got a yellow card and Winthrop had to play short-handed for five minutes. Mountain Valley didn’t get a shot during that time, and the Ramblers later went up 3-0 when Mary Claire Blanchard sent a long pass to Ingram for the goal.

The Falcons wouldn’t get a second-half shot until there were under three minutes to play in the game. About a minute later, Blanchard inadvertently got in front of a blast by Mountain Valley’s Alexa Fryover. Blanchard was fine, but got a mark on her right thigh for her efforts.

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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