WATERVILLE — It was a fitting end to a Webber Field career that has seen Paige St. Pierre go from supporting cast member to midfield engine to target up top.

The Waterville senior capped her brace with a golden goal in the 84th minute on Saturday, lifting the Purple Panthers to a come-from-behind 2-1 win over rival Winslow. That St. Pierre and infinitely dangerous counterpart Carly Warn of Winslow accounted for all of the goals should have surprised nobody.

“I think it’s fitting,” Waterville senior Emme Ayers said. “Especially against Winslow, our rivals.”

The Purple Panthers finish their season with a trip to Lawrence next week, and there was no better Webber Field farewell for the many seniors on the Waterville roster than a win over the Black Raiders with St. Pierre and center back Ayers playing starring roles.

Consider that the Black Raiders drew first through Warn in the 47th minute via a lethal counterattack ending with Warn 1-v-1 against Panther keeper Jacie Richard. After that, Waterville coach Mark Serdjenian made a simple adjustment to move St. Pierre out of the midfield and out to the wing — and from there the Panther attack picked up significant pace.

“It feels good, for sure,” St. Pierre said. “I couldn’t have done anything I did without all my teammates. We push each other. We’re definitely a unit.”

Waterville’s Paige St. Pierre (8) leaps over Winslow’s Jenna Libby (17) in a battle for the ball Saturday at Webber Field in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Two years ago, St. Pierre was a nervous sophomore logging significant minutes — though she was a supporting cast member to players like Sophie Webb and her own sister, Mackenzie St. Pierre. Last fall, alongside Sadie Garling, St. Pierre was more of distributor out of the middle.

Now, with injuries to the Starting XI and through her own maturity as a player, St. Pierre has become whatever Serdjenian needs at the time.

On Saturday, he needed the presence of a game-changing striker, and St. Pierre delivered.

St. Pierre said she wouldn’t have been able to do that in 2018.

“You get more comfortable and confident as you grow,” St. Pierre said. “Once you get that ‘senior’ title, you think to yourself that this is your year and you need to step things up.”

Waterville’s Danica Serdjenian (13) leaps over Winslow keeper Isabella Fleury on Saturday at Webber Field in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Ayers, who was charged with keeping Warn’s attacking presence in check, believes one of St. Pierre’s best attributes has been to make everybody around her better.

“She’s always been really good, but this year she and Mara (VanOesen) have learned to work really well together,” Ayers said. “A lot of people man-mark her, and she’s learned how to bring people to her and distribute to where the ball needs to go.”

Against Winslow, St. Pierre tied the contest in the 64th minute after Jayda Murray punched a weak Black Raider clearance back into the 18-yard box. In extra time, Avery Wechsler kept Winslow locked in its own end with an interception before slotting St. Pierre through to the goal.

In each instance, St. Pierre made no mistake with the finish.

“Every team doesn’t have a goal scorer,” Serdjenian said. “It’s nice to be able to build around someone and have someone that the other team has to pay attention to. She’s been that person for us. We have other people who have helped balance the scoring, but clearly she has a knack for scoring that not every player has.”

That knack paid off with a signature win. With no playoffs in 2020, the final time St. Pierre played at Webber Field, she walked off with the game-winner in overtime against the program’s fiercest rival.

“Winslow’s a very good team,” St. Pierre said. “They’re all nice, sweet girls, and they play really well together. It feels good, for sure.”

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