LITCHFIELD — It took a game and a half into the season for the Winthrop field hockey team to capitalize on its many scoring opportunities.

When the Ramblers found the range they scored quickly and often, dispatching rival Oak Hill 5-1 with four-goal splurge in the second half.

Winthrop is 2-0 while Oak Hill falls to 2-1.

As they did in a 2-1 season-opening win over Dirigo last week, the Ramblers held a significant territorial advantage over the Raiders. But all they had to show for it in the first half was Elle Blanchard’s goal. They controlled the midfield thanks to some stellar play from junior Kate Perkins and Moriah Hajduk and continually sent speedy center forward Kinli DiBiase into the offensive end with little to show for it.

That changed in the second half when everything seemed to clicked into place.

“Our passing was a lot better inside the circle,” said DiBiase who finished with two goals and an assist. “We were mentally prepared for this game. We knew what we had to do.”


These Mountain Valley Conference teams have developed a strong rivalry the past few seasons. Last year, the Ramblers beat the Raiders in the MVC championship game but Oak Hill went on to win the Class C state championship.

Both teams graduated a half dozen starters but at this point the Ramblers appear further along. Not only did they control the tempo but they won most of the 1-on-1 battles.

“We do a lot of 1 v 1 in practice because we know we have the speed up front,” Winthrop coach Jess Merrill said.

DiBiase made it 2-0 with a solo effort and a tough angle left to right near the end line 12 minutes into the second half. The Ramblers three more goals in the next 12 minutes, getting another score from DiBiase and one each from freshman Kerrigan Anuszewski and Hajduk. The Raiders scored on a penalty stroke from Zoe Buteau with one minute, 55 seconds left to play.

DiBiase’s second goal was a beauty as Anuszewski sent her into the Oak Hill half with a pass at midfield. Breonna Feeney broke in with her and as DiBiase split two defenders she dished a pass to Feeney who hit DiBiase with a return pass for the goal.

“It was perfect,” Merrill said. “It’s stuff we do in practice all the time. It’s nice to finally see that down on the field.”


Merrill said the team has been working on keeping up with DiBiase.

“There’s not much stopping her,” Merrill said. “I’d say she’s the fastest girl in the conference.”

Winthrop finished with 12 shots on while Oak Hill had four. The Ramblers also held the advantage in penalty corners, 12-4

The Ramblers defense was scarcely tested as Perkins, playing center midfield and her teammates went aggressively to the ball.

“We were getting to our spots more in the circle and we were going to the ball,” Perkins said. “We wanted it really badly. The newbies have really stepped up so that’s helped a lot. We didn’t know how this year was going to go, but it’s going really good so far.”

Buteau put the Raiders on the board when she beat Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri to the top left corner with her penalty stroke.

“We’ve got a lot of new girls filling in on the defensive end a lot of girls working in new positions,” Oak Hill coach Betsy Gilbert said. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. . . . And the endurance of the game. We don’t have a lot of kids so these have got to play and they’ve got to play through it.”

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