WINTHROP — As is the case most years, the Winthrop field hockey team entered the Class C North playoffs without the benefit of knowing much about its opponent.

“It’s the challenge we face,” Winthrop coach Jess Merrill said. “It’s difficult because while we try to get up north to see those teams play, they often play on the same days we do. But not knowing what your opponent does, it gives you that opportunity to just focus on what you do well.” The top-seeded Ramblers did just that Friday, edging Stearns/Schenck 2-1 in a Class C North semifinal.

Winthrop (14-1-1) will play No. 2 Dexter (14-2-0) in the regional championship Tuesday at Hampden Academy.

“It was a lot closer than I would’ve liked,” Merrill said. “We dominated the game, but Stearns did a good job of adapting to our field. We had a lot of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize on.”

Kinli DiBiase scored the game-winning goal with 16:07 remaining in the game.

She assisted on the team’s other goal, which Nora Conrad scored in the first half. Aiva Agri made four saves for the Ramblers, who held a 16-3 edge in penalty corners.

“It was a physical game,” Merrill said. “We played well. We passed the ball well and did what we do.”

Marissa Marter had an unassisted goal for the Minutemen (8-7-1).

Winthrop didn’t play Stearns/Schenck in the regular season.

“We did see them a few times so we know a little,” Merrill said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

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