WINSLOW — No team can rely on a few stars to carry it once the postseason arrives, and the Winslow girls soccer team is no different. Enter Hannah Dugal.

A late arrival to the team this season, the junior striker picked a great time for her first varsity goal, snapping a tie and lifting the Black Raiders over rival Waterville 2-1 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game Friday afternoon at Kennebec Savings Bank Field. Winslow, 10-1-0 and among the leaders in Class B North, won for the sixth straight time. Waterville, sitting deep mid-pack in the region at 6-6-0, lost for the second time in its last three outings.

But tournament seedings and rivalry games aside, the day belonged to Dugal. She got on the end of a Katie Doughty corner kick in the 58th minute, drilling home the go-ahead strike from 15 yards out.

“They told three of us to line up at the PK line, so I just stood back and waited for the rebound to come out,” said Dugal, who became the 12th different player to score for Winslow this year. “I just pushed it in. I think it was my right foot, but everybody says it was my left. So…”

“I don’t care what the records are or what time of the season it is,” Winslow head coach Steve Bodge said. “They’re still Waterville. They’re going to give us a tough game every time, but we handled it. We made it.”

Dugal only joined the team in mid-September. Commitments to other extra-curricular activities had drawn her time, if not her fire.

“I wasn’t going to play because of dance, but I missed it a lot. I was like, ‘I have to come back,'” Dugal said. “It feels pretty good (today). I try to fit in. With a lot of seniors leaving after this year, I feel like I need to step up and fill the void.”

“She wasn’t sure she was going to play, and she came out late in the season,” said Bodge, whose side was shorthanded due to injury Friday. “I put her on JV-only for two weeks, and here she is scoring a goal in a varsity game. We were missing a couple of players, so people had to step up and play, and it was a nice goal.”

Waterville took the early lead just eight minutes in, when Paige St. Pierre sprung free through the Winslow back line. That early goal gave the Purple Panthers some confidence, which they used to keep the Raiders on their heels for most of the first half.

But everything changed when sophomore Carly Warn finally cracked through for Winslow to score the equalizer in the dying seconds of the opening half. The home side had life out of the intermission, while the Panthers were forced to open up a bit out of the 4-5-1 formation they’d employed early on.

“I didn’t really love the letdown at the end of a half,” Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian said. “We should have gone into the half 1-0.”

The change to the formation, with two players now on the attack for Waterville, only opened up some of the midfield for Winslow to begin to exploit. Even with the 2-1 lead late on, the Raiders remained on the front foot.

“That was huge,” Winslow senior center back Paige Trask said of Warn’s tying goal. “I looked at (Grace Smith) when she took the throw-in, and I was like, ‘Just get one more run.’ Thank god we did, because that was a huge goal for us. It became a new game for us in the second half.”

On a day when everything felt like a playoff date — the weather, the intensity and the play — it was a perfect tuneup for both teams. Winslow passed with flying colors, while Waterville was left still trying to answer a few questions despite looking much different from the team that lost to Winslow by a 4-0 scoreline in the fourth game of the season on Sept. 8.

“We played them much tougher and much more intelligently,” Serdjenian said. “We’ve tightened up defensively and we’ve played more intelligently defensively… but having said that, we’ve still played two-way soccer.”

The playoff-type game was just what the Black Raiders needed, Trask said.

“We needed to know how it feels to be down, to come back, to battle,” Trask said. “We needed to work and play as hard as we can.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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