AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Central Institute had the momentum.
But Winthrop had penalty corners.
Trinity Leavitt’s goal with three minutes left in Saturday’s state Class C field hockey game pulled MCI into a 2-2 tie with Winthrop.
But Winthrop’s penalty corners were lethal and senior Madeline Perkins scored the team’s third goal off a penalty corner 1:54 later to give the Ramblers a thrilling 3-2 victory at Fuller Field in Augusta.
It was Winthrop’s fourth straight state championship game appearance and its second win. The Ramblers also won in 2018.
MCI wound up 15-2 and was looking for its first state title since it won the Class B title in 2017.
“We work on corners every day in practice,” said Perkins, whose goal was her second of the game.
She said the game-winner came off a penalty corner play called the “Zipper.”
“We move the ball back and forth to get their defense moving and then I push it over to the post. And it went in,” Perkins said.
Izzy Folsom was positioned to the left of MCI goalie Keydaliz Rivera and was in position to direct it in but she didn’t have to.
Freshman Madeline Wagner had the other goal for Winthrop off a Perkins assist while Leavitt scored both MCI goals.
Winthrop converted on half of its six corners while holding MCI 0-for-7 on penalty corners including a second-half stretch when the Huskies had four in a row.
But Winthrop goalie Madisonn Weymouth made a number of important saves and the Ramblers were able to get some vital clearances.
Wagner said their defensive corner play is outstanding “because they have to go up against us in practice. We work on corners a lot.”
“Our corners weren’t good on any side of the ball today,” said MCI coach Nancy Hughes. “And they had been good the past few weeks.”
The game couldn’t have started any better for MCI.
Leavitt scored just 1:16 into the game when a Hannah Robinson shot was blocked and deflected over to her in the middle of the circle.
She swept it past Weymouth to give MCI the lead.
But the Ramblers tied it on their first penalty corner when Perkins converted her own rebound off a Wagner pass.
The teams went end-to-end with Wagner and Perkins leading the charge for Winthrop and Gracie Moore and Leavitt being the primary threats for MCI.
Leavitt took the lead in the third quarter when Perkins passed it over to the speedy Wagner on a corner and she fired it past Rivera.
Both teams were creating chances with their speed and stick skills and 40-goal scorer Moore set up Leavitt for the equalizer with three minutes remaining.
Moore pushed the ball around a defender and used her quickness to race along the baseline before sliding it across to the far post where Leavitt tucked it home.
The Ramblers have rarely been tested this season and Perkins said she knew they were going to have to play well to beat MCI.
“They were our toughest competition, by far,” Perkins said.