In each of the last two games, Winthrop and Lisbon prepared for unfamiliar opponents in the playoffs. When they meet today for the Class C state title, they won’t only be familiar, they’ll also be quite similar.

Winthrop (15-1-1) and Lisbon (16-0-1) both play in the Mountain Valley Conference and have already met twice this season. It’s the first time two MVC teams are playing in the Class C final since Jay defeated Hall-Dale in 1999.

The game begins at 2 p.m., today at the University of Maine and starts off a day of championship field hockey. Belfast will play Leavitt in the Class B game at 4 p.m., and Skowhegan faces Scarborough for the Class A title at 6 p.m.

The Ramblers and the Greyhounds played to a 1-1 tie on Sept. 25 in Winthrop. In the MVC championship game — which doesn’t count toward teams’ records — the Winthrop posted a 3-1 victory.

“We weren’t cutting to the ball,” Lisbon coach Julie Wescott said of the second game. “I’m a coach that preaches heart and intensity and we just seemed really flat and not really into it.”

That won’t be a problem today and both coaches are expecting a game more like the first meeting.

“It’s going to be a very intense game,” Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said. “This is going to be a fast-paced game. It’s going to be an exciting game, I think.”

“They’re a very physical team,” Wescott said of Winthrop. “They’re very fast. They’re a good passing team. I like to think we share the same qualities as them.”

Winthrop lost to North Yarmouth Academy in the state game last year and graduated only two players from that team. Last fall through 18 games, the Ramblers scored 46 goals and allowed 18. This year through 18 games (including the MVC title game), they have outscored the opposition, 66-11.

The Ramblers have gone to a more offensive-minded formation this year and have several weapons. Rachel Ingram leads the way with 17 goals, but Lauren Kaiser, Shauna Carlson, Mary Claire Blanchard and Emmah Spahr also have at least seven. Goalie Alyssa Arsenault is solid in the cage.

“It’s not even that the setup helps us generate more offense, it creates more layers,” Coulton said.

Junior Hannah Jordan is Lisbon’s leading scorer and Molly Nicholson has had some important goals, including the game-winner in the Western C final against NYA. Midfielders Bailey Cutler and Jen Smith, back Bailey Madore and goalie Stevie Charest are also keys.

On the surface, the biggest difference in the teams is that Winthrop has been this far before and Lisbon hasn’t. Wescott thinks that advantage is tempered a little because the teams have already played 130 minutes against each other this fall.

“We know Winthrop,” she said. “It’s not like a team we haven’t seen before. We’re prepared for them.”

While neither team plays any games on turf during the regular season, both coaches liked how their teams played on turf in the regional finals. They also both acknowledged that the fake stuff makes certain aspects of the game more important.

“I (want us) to remember all the little things — keeping your sticks down, keeping the ball on your stick,” Coulton said. “In the excitement of the moment, some of those things slip away.”

“Turf changes the whole game,” Wescott said. “It’s really the little things that can come back and bite you, like having your stick down or cutting to the ball. There’s no magic potion to play better. It’s the little things that add up.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

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