WATERVILLE — For the third year in a row, the Winthrop and Dexter high school field hockey teams met in the Class C North playoffs. For the second year in a row, it came in the regional final, and this one had the same result as the previous two. A Winthrop win.

This time, it was a dominant Rambler defense that was the difference. Winthrop held Dexter to one shot, taking a 3-0 win at Thomas College.

“If you lose two times, you’re obviously wanting to win this year. Everyone’s going for blood, and we played our game and did what we needed to do,” Winthrop captain Katie Perkins said.

Winthrop goalie Aiva Agri celebrates after the Ramblers defeated Dexter in the Class C North championship game Wednesday night at Thomas College in Waterville.

The top-seeded Ramblers will face South winner and Mountain Valley Conference rival Spruce Mountain in the state championship game Saturday at Husson University in Bangor. Winthrop (16-1-0) defeated Spruce Mountain twice in the regular season, 1-0 and 3-0. No. 2 Dexter ends the season at 12-5-0.

“I think it’s different kids, but the tradition is there. I think the rivalry (with Dexter) is there,” Winthrop coach Jessica Merrill said. “I think the girls get excited to play it. It’s fun to play them.”

Merrill said her team worked hard transitioning from defense to offense, and credited senior midfielder Perkins with keeping the Ramblers plan in gear.

“We were moving the ball well. We focused the last two weeks on defense, and needed that on the turf. We knew if we could move the ball around, we could have a lot of success,” Merrill said.

Added Perkins: “We just had to keep under control. We’ve learned that we need to break down and be ready for the ball and not to get nervous.”

Perkins scored Winthrop’s first goal, off a penalty corner with 16:38 left in the first half. Perkins took a pass from Moriah Hajduk and fired her shot from near the top of circle.

Dexter’s Cheyenne Been, left, knocks into Winthrop’s Moriah Hajduk during the Class C North championship game Wednesday night at Thomas College in Waterville.

“We tend to play better when we can score early. We get in a groove once we hit our passes. It kind of got us to settle down when that first one went in,” Merrill said.

Freshman Maddie Perkins gave Winthrop a 2-0 lead with 4:41 left in the first half, scoring with a shot from the ride side of the cage. Maddie Perkins added a second goal with 3:35 left in the game to push the Ramblers lead to 3-0.

For the Tigers, Winthrop’s experience was too much to overcome. Dexter’s roster features seven freshmen and six sophomores with just four seniors.

“The strength and experience, it just makes a huge difference. Our girls played tough. I think we held them to a good a game. It’s just that youth,” Dexter coach Brittany McAllister said. “Most of our youth is up there on that front line, and it showed trying to move the ball down the field and carry it. They have very strong sticks, as we expected, and it was just hard for our girls to get something going.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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