Winthrop field hockey coach Sharon Coulton hardly needed an adjustment period.

Coulton, after all, previously coached the Ramblers — winning Class C state titles in 1988 and 89, Furthermore, she served as an assistant coach prior to this season. Coulton has the Ramblers off to a 3-0 start in which they’ve outscored opponents 24-0.

“(I’m impressed) not just with the first couple of games, but for the summer and preseason,” she said. “I’ve been very impressed with how our younger players have come along. We had quite a few seniors last year and a very limited season. Our juniors, which is our largest group… I would have expected them to be a little bit behind. But they are hard workers, been motivated and they’re smart, they’re smart players. I’m just very pleased.”

Winthrop doesn’t have large numbers, as it carries 16 players, but it doesn’t lack talent. Coulton credited the team’s seniors, including Maddie Perkins, Elle Folsom, Autumn Gerry and Emma Shuman.

“(Perkins) is just phenomenal in the field,” Coulton said. “She can play offense, defense, flies on corners. She’s just so strong and so steady, ever since she was a freshman. I can’t say enough about Maddie, both her play on the field and her leadership.”

Winthrop is also getting production from Lauryn Wood, who scored five goals for the Ramblers in a 10-0 win over Lisbon on Sept. 3.

“Lauryn is a great example of a person who came out this season ready to play,” Coulton said. “She’s really stepped up (this season), and she’s not the only one. We took a lot of shots against Lisbon, and we’ve really been focusing in practices on getting the goalie on one side (of the goal), sending the ball over to the other side. Lauryn plays on the left side, and she has been working on doing those tip-ins, which several of her goals were. It’s just a delight to watch these kids play.”

 

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While it’s still early, Cony has made a successful transition to Class B play.

The Rams dropped a 2-1 decision to Leavitt in the Sept. 1 season opener, but have won back-to-back contests since, a 17-0 win over Erskine Academy and a 2-1 victory over rival Gardiner. The Rams, like several central Maine teams, are dealing with low numbers this season (20 altogether in the program).

“The girls that I’ve got, they show up, they work hard, we’re jelling really quickly and I’m really happy with that,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “Not having a big program can cause some issues, but I’m really happy with how hard they’re working. We just have good chemistry on the team this year, so that’s been a really great way to start the season.”

Daigle added that speed has been an asset for the Rams so far this season, as well as the team’s conditioning. Daigle also gave credit to the team’s senior leadership, including the move of Taylor Prebit to goalie, a position she had never played before this season.

Cony celebrates tying it up 1-1 during the third quarter of a field hockey game Tuesday at Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“We do have some girls that have some good speed,” Daigle said. “In our attack, our (midfielders) and our forwards, they have speed and they seem to be pretty well conditioned. Where we don’t have a lot of subs, these girls have been able to play a lot of minutes, a lot of quality minutes. From beginning to end, I’ve been really impressed with the effort, and that they’re just able to keep up with the faster tempo of the game, which has been great.”

Cony will have plenty challenges ahead playing in Class B North. The Rams are scheduled to play conference contenders Lawrence (2-0) and Winslow (2-0), along with a game at Class A opponent Mt. Blue (2-0).

“That’s what I said (to the team) as soon as I knew we were going to play a B schedule, I’m like, ‘Don’t let that B (conference) fool you, there are some driven, talented, skilled, hard-working teams,'” Daigle said. “We see some of them in summer league and scrimmages and round-robins and stuff. We know that we’ll have our work cut out for us for sure.”

 

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Maine Central Institute also dropped down a class, going from Class B North to Class C North this year.

The Huskies (3-0) have made a seamless transition, out-scoring their opposition 29-1.

“I’m very pleased with the intensity with which our girls play,” MCI head coach Nancy Hughes said. “They work super hard in the weight room, they work super hard in their conditioning, they work hard at their skill work. We talk about starting the game with a higher intensity level. In the past, we sort of let the other team set the tone. We don’t want to play that way. We want to play our style of play, and we want to play a faster game. I’ve been pleased with the way they’ve started.”

MCI has both good numbers and veteran talent this season, which may give the Huskies a leg up on the C North competition.

“We’re definitely a veteran team, our strength is in our juniors and seniors,” Hughes said. “The majority of our seniors have been starting since their freshmen year, so they have a lot of experience.”

Hughes said she’ll lean on an experience-heavy senior class, including Gracie Moore, Ella Louder and Alivia Ward. Moore has scored 14 goals already this season.

“They’ve done a lot bringing the younger girls along, working in the summer, going to all the offseason tournaments,” Hughes said. “Just setting the tone. If you want to know how to do something in the weight room, you watch these girls. If you want to watch a drill, you watch these girls.”

The Huskies are no strangers to Class C. Hughes led MCI to a Class C title in 2015, and a Class C title game appearance in 2016. MCI still has some strong Class B crossover opponents on its schedule, with future games lined up against Lawrence (Sept. 21) and Winslow (Oct. 4).

 

Dave Dyer — 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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