Karlie Ramsdell scored two of her three goals to spearhead a four-goal first half on Wednesday, sparking top-seeded Winslow to a 5-2 victory over No. 2 Belfast in the Class B North field hockey championship game at Hampden Academy.
Ramsdell, a junior right wing, collected her first career hat trick to help the 15-2 Black Raiders survive a furious second-half rally by Belfast. Winslow advanced to its first state championship game since 2015 and plays 17-0 York on Saturday at Messalonskee High School in Oakland.
Belfast, which wound up 13-4, had not allowed more than two goals in a game all season and had beaten Winslow 3-2 on Oct. 16 in its regular-season finale.
Junior midfielder Bodhi Littlefield, who began the first-half onslaught just 6:02 into the game, said the loss to Belfast gave them extra motivation.
“We had a lot of energy coming in. We wanted to come out strong,” said Littlefield, who scored off her own rebound after receiving a penalty corner insertion from Abby Washburn.
“One of their flyers came out, and I made a move to my left. I took the shot, Brooke [Richards] made a great goalie save, and I caught her off the rebound,” Littlefield said.
“Scoring the first goal in a game like this is really helpful,” Littlefield added.
Ramsdell agreed and she made it 2-0 only four minutes later. Taylor Rodriguez sprinted toward the Belfast cage but Richards dove out and deflected the ball away before she could shoot.
However, the ball landed on the stick of Ramsdell at the top of the penalty circle and she converted.
Sage Clukey expanded the lead with 11:55 left in the half as she redirected a shot from sister Silver Clukey past Richards, then Ramsdell added her second goal 8:53 later off another penalty corner as she was set up by Washburn and Littlefield.
“We were so strong. I’ve never seen us do that,” Ramsdell said of what was the Black Raiders’ best half of the year.
“It is so cool. I didn’t know I had that in me,” she said of the hat trick.
Senior Hannah Banks ignited Belfast’s second-half rally with a number of scintillating runs and shifty moves to beat defenders and create several scoring chances.
Belfast, which was outshot 12-4 in the first half, was a completely different team after intermission and sent wave after wave of attackers into the Winslow circle.
Belfast had 16 shot attempts to Winslow’s six in the second half.
The Lions were rewarded early in the second half when Kayci Faulkingham scored off a wild flurry in front of the cage.
Banks made things interesting 8:34 later when she capitalized on a penalty corner with a shot from in close.
The Lions had several other chances to pull within one, but the Raiders withstood the pressure. And soon after coach Mary Beth Bourgoin called a timeout, Ramsdell completed her hat trick and gave Winslow a valuable insurance goal by deflecting a Silver Clukey pass to the far post off yet another penalty corner.
Clukey provided two assists and Washburn and Littlefield each had one for Winslow.
Mallory Tibbetts had an assist for Belfast.
Leah Pelotte wound up with five saves on 20 Belfast shot attempts, and Richards made seven saves on 18 Winslow attempts.
“We didn’t come out fired up in the first half like we should have,” Belfast coach Jan Jackson said. “I felt much better about our second half. We played more like Belfast.”
“We didn’t connect well coming up the field in the first half,” Banks said. “But we were able to connect and get the ball up the field in the second half, and we put some in the cage.”
“It just wasn’t enough,” Banks said.