WINTHROP — As one of only two Mountain Valley Conference representatives, and the top seed, in the C North field hockey tournament, Winthrop is focused on itself rather than whatever unfamiliar foe it might encounter, such as No. 8 Central of East Corinth.

The Ramblers sure looked familiar, dominating possession and mixing in a couple of clanging posts in a 5-0 shutout over the Red Devils.

Winthrop (13-1-1) will have another non-conference visitor, No. 4 Stearns/Schenck (8-6-1), in the semifinals on either Friday or Saturday.

Kinli DiBiase scored three goals while Moriah Hajduk notched the other two for the Ramblers, who outshot the Red Devils, 14-2.

“We just focus in on what we do well,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “You have to rely on what you do well, rely on your skills and rely on each other. I almost like it a little bit more because of that.”

“We just wanted to play how we know to play, bring out the intensity and score quickly so we can keep up the intensity,” DiBiase said.

DiBiase provided that early spark by taking a feed from Hajduk in front, rebounding her shot off a cluster of Central defenders and firing a low laser past Central goalie Tori Hallett 2:16 into the game.

“Their stick work is amazing to watch, and I think our defense did a lot of watching because they were amazed by it,” Central coach Caitlyn Socoby said. “I told them ‘Girls, I agree it’s pretty to look at but you’ve got to stop it.’ And they agreed.”

The Ramblers seemed content to do a little too much stick-handling in the early stages to Merrill’s liking, and she called a timeout to get the passing game working.

“I liked how offensive-minded we were,” Merrill said. “I thought we were passing a lot better in the second half. Our shot selection got a lot better throughout the game. I’m not ecstatic that they were able to get some corners late in the game because it looked like our focus started to wane a little bit.”

The Ramblers were much crisper on their second penalty corner of the game, which Hajduk converted for a 2-0 lead with 10:18 to go in the half.

“It was an awkward one,” Hajduk said. “I was at the stroke and, I think, Katelyn sent it down on the sideline to Bri Baxter, who then was able to get it around the goalie and I had to awkwardly reverse-hit it.”

DiBiase followed a Katie Perkins shot off the left post to make it 3-0 with 4:34 to go in the half.

“It’s kind of funny, we have a team joke about how whenever we shoot we’ll hit the post,” DiBiase said.

“It happens all the time,” Hajduk said. “In practice, we’re always work on having people at the post, then the strokes and all of the important parts. We usually have someone there to tip it in.”

Hallett, who played well in the cage with nine saves, made a nice kick save to prevent DiBiase from obtaining the hat trick in the first half. DiBiase did get her third less than five minutes into the second half and Hajduk added the topper later.

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