FALMOUTH — The moment seemed to take forever. Through one half, and then another. Then one overtime, and another. The Winthrop High School field hockey was one play away from a state championship. Just one shot, or one corner. Or one perfect pass.

And then coach Jessica Merrill and her Ramblers could only watch as it came to an end.

It came to an end when St. Dominic’s Hannah Trottier-Braun took the ball at midfield, nudged it past a Winthrop defender, raced in alone and finished off a breakaway, lifting the Saints to a 3-2 victory, an undefeated season and the Class C championship at Falmouth High School.

“We’ve come this far, we’ve progressed so much as a team and so many people told us we wouldn’t be able to get to where we even are right now,” said sophomore forward Gia Francis, who scored one of the Ramblers’ goals along with Kate Perkins. “And to just see it kind of turn out this way, it’s really devastating.”

The Ramblers’ disappointment and heartbreak was matched only by their pride. There’s only one senior on the Winthrop (15-2-1) roster, and there the Ramblers still were, keeping up with a high-powered St. Dominic team looking for its 18th straight win.

“We did what we wanted to do,” Merrill said. “We had our opportunities, and I’m just so proud of them. We held with them, and we knew we could.”

The Ramblers fought the current to do so, erasing 1-0 and 2-1 deficits, and picked up seven corners in the second half while trying to find the winning goal. The game headed to overtime, however, and after Winthrop thwarted a trio of Saints corners, it moved to a second.

And then, suddenly, it was over. The ball went over to Trottier-Braun near midfield, and St. Dominic’s top scorer had only Winthrop’s Olivia Simonson between herself and the goal. Trottier-Braun made a move to break free, and then it was just a matter of beating Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri.

“We work a lot on, instead of going through our defenders, going around them,” Trottier-Braun said. “And the whole game, I had noticed that the goalie comes out and stops those straightaway shots. All I was thinking coming down that field after I got past that first defender was ‘pull, shoot. Pull, shoot.’ ”

The game was on her stick, but Trottier-Braun handled the chance as calmly as if it were a scrimmage in August. She pulled it around Agri, who came out to cut down the angle, then knocked the ball into the open cage to set up the celebration.

“It’s kind of like, ‘I know this is going to go in,’ ” Trottier-Braun said of her thoughts in the moment. ” ‘I’m going to win states!’ ”

Merrill had a different reaction watching it all unfold on the Winthrop bench.

“It tore my heart out,” she said. “Just for the girls, because they played so hard. For it to end that way, on a breakaway, it’s an unfortunate way to end when you’ve played so hard.”

The Ramblers did, shrugging off each St. Dominic move to take command of the game. Kylie Leavitt gave the Saints the lead with a shot from the back of the circle with 21:15 to go in the first half, but Perkins answered off a corner with 5:07 left in the half when she took a send-in from Kerrigan Anuszewski and rifled in a shot to even the game at 1.

“It felt good to be able to tie the game up,” Perkins said. “I knew that I was open, so I decided to just take the shot and not pass because I knew there were defenders on my teammates. I knew it had to be strong to get past.”

St. Dominic took the lead again when Paige Cote poked in a shot out of a scrum in front of the net with 12:09 to play, but Winthrop again responded. Perkins again had a shot off a corner, Winthrop’s 10th, and this time Francis was in position to redirect the ball home with 8:42 to go in regulation.

“I’m in the 7 position, and I always go straight to post on that,” Francis said. “We practice a lot, and it would bounce over my stick or I would predict the bounce and it would go under. But this time, it worked out perfectly.

“I felt like we kind of had it in the bag. But things don’t really always work out that way.”

Both teams had chances late, with Winthrop getting the last two corners of regulation and the Saints nabbing three corners in the first overtime, as well as a chance to win it when Caroline Johnson had the ball and an open net with 40 seconds left, only to send the shot wide right.

Instead, Trottier-Braun got the chance for heroics, one she was ready to convert.

“Everything is really just kind of overwhelming right now,” Francis said. “Everyone played their hearts out, and we were coming into this saying ‘It’s all or nothing. This is the last time to really prove ourselves and show who we are as a team.’ And I still think we showed who we are. We didn’t give up, we put up an amazing fight.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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