WINSLOW — The Winslow girls soccer team passed its first serious test of the season with flying colors.

In a matchup of two of the four remaining unbeaten teams in Class B North, the Black Raiders cracked a tie game with under 10 minutes remaining to post a 2-1 win over Brewer in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference game Friday at Kennebec Savings Bank Field. Junior midfielder Katie Doughty did the honors, finding a way through a stingy Witches defense to lift Winslow to a 4-0-0 start to the campaign.

“That was a huge win for us,” Doughty said. “Last year, that was our best game of the season by far (a 3-1 Winslow win). Coming into today, it was, ‘Let’s do it again.’ It was a big game, and they’re going to be worth big Heal points.”

The teams traded fluky goals in a wide-open, frenetic first half played at a pace Winslow was most comfortable with. Brewer (4-1-0), however, opened the scoring against the run of play off the foot of Morgan Honey in the 18th minute to become the first team to score against the Black Raiders in 2018. Winslow quickly equalized through Ashley Quirion four minutes later, and from there things settled into a physical, defensive contest through most of the second half.

The teams combined to commit 13 fouls after halftime, with a start-stop quirkiness to the contest that kept Brewer compact on the back end and Winslow often frustrated.

“They pressed us all day,” Brewer coach Dave Hamel said. “Our style is a little bit more direct than in years past. We try to play our game and not adjust to other teams. They’re fast — they’re really fast. We just wanted to try and absorb their speed. … Give all the credit to them for getting the job done.”

Winslow carried the bulk of the offensive chances, though only four of their 13 shots in the second half were on target.

Finally, though, the Raiders found a way through the midfield when Hailey Grenier drilled a hip-high ball to Doughty on the attacking side of midfield. Doughty flicked the ball through a high defensive line to herself, winning a foot race to the ball at the top of the 18-yard-box.

She looked up, saw she had the angle, and opted to shoot past Libby Hewes (11 saves) early for the game-breaking goal in the 71st minute.

“We were pushing the ball a little bit in the first half, especially. We can pass around teams, we know that,” Doughty said. “It was just a matter of slowing down, being patient and waiting for that chance. We have Carly (Warn), we have Sara (Doughty), Ashley Quirion, me — we can all run past people. It was just a matter of finally getting through.”

“Five or six times in the first half, (Hamel) was yelling that somebody had to step up for them,” Winslow coach Steve Bodge said. “We were making that adjustment. We wanted them to step up (in the midfield) and take us so we could play the ball through. We ended up getting one on something like that.”

For as well as Winslow’s defense played, it was a just reward — and when Maria Low’s dangerous free kick from inside 25 yards sailed harmlessly over the crossbar as time expired, the victory was sealed.

“We played composed and got the outcome that we wanted,” said Winslow senior center back Maeghan Bernard, who forms a formidable partnership alongside classmate Paige Trask. “They have two pretty good strikers (in Honey and Low), and it was a matter of choosing which one of us to step and I think as the game went on we sort of figured it out.”

After opening the season with lopsided wins over Gardiner (3-0), Lawrence (6-0) and rival Waterville (4-0), it was a stiff early-season test for Winslow. And with Class A Bangor awaiting Tuesday, it was the first of back-to-back games set to provide answers to any questions about Winslow’s worthiness as a regional title contender this autumn.

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to get some Heal points in this league,” Bodge said. “The teams we’ve beaten so far, the biggest winner has only two wins. This was our biggest winner that we played, and it was nice to have them at home and pick one up.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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