HAMPDEN — Winthrop High School junior back Jessica Scott said one of her team’s primary goals this season was to avenge last year’s Eastern Maine Class C semifinal loss to Dexter.
That game went to penalty corners after nobody scored in regulation or overtime.
The Ramblers did just that Tuesday night with a 1-0 triumph thanks to Scott’s foot.
Second seed Winthrop improved to 13-2-2 and won its first Eastern Maine title since 1989. The Ramblers will take on Western Maine champ North Yarmouth Academy Saturday at Yarmouth High School.
Top seed Dexter wound up 15-2.
A game-tying goal was denied by Scott’s foot with 2:15 remaining. A Dexter shot cleanly beat Winthrop sophomore goalie Alyssa Arsenault but Scott was positioned on the goal line.
That resulted in Dexter being awarded a penalty stroke and when Sarah Eastman sailed it wide to Arsenault’s left, Scott breathed a sigh of relief.
“Most of the time I stop goals with my stick. It hit my foot. It just happened that way. I felt so bad,” said Scott.
Dexter dominated the game but couldn’t beat sophomore Arsenault, who finished with seven saves on 15 shots. Dexter goalie Maicee Gustin finished with five saves on seven shots. Dexter had 12 penalty corners, including nine in the second half, while Winthrop had just one with that coming in the first half.
But the Ramblers’ Lauren Kaiser scored her 13th goal of the season with 9:35 remaining to decide it.
Kaiser flipped the ball toward Gustin, who kicked it out.
However, the ball landed on the stick of Mary Claire Blanchard and she quickly slid it across to Kaiser and she re-directed it past Gustin, who was scrambling across the goal mouth.
“We knew we had to execute once we got into the circle,” said Kaiser. “We knew we weren’t going to have that many chances in the circle. We had to be well-positioned and we had to keep our sticks low so we could tip the ball.
“Mary passed it across the circle and I just tipped it into the corner, near-post,” said Kaiser.
“Lauren was running up there and she called for it so I just fed it to her,” said Blanchard.
The Tigers never quit and pressed for the equalizer.
Arsenault made a great save with three and half minutes left when Whitney Mower swept a shot toward the net that Eastman deflected at the near post.
Arsenault came across and got the inside of her left pad on it. The ball dropped between her legs but it was cleared away.
“She did a nice job. She was great last year, too,” said Dexter coach Kristy Veazie.
Dexter had a couple of penalty corners in the waning minutes but couldn’t convert.
“My team struggles to make decisions on corners,” said Veazie. “They didn’t react to what the (Winthrop) defense gave them. Against a good team, you have to score (on penalty corners).”
“Our defense played amazing,” said Arsenault, who made four rapid-fire saves during a wild first-half flurry.
Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said Scott and fellow junior Shauna Carlson have “been starters in the back since they were freshmen” and turned in solid performances as did her only two seniors, Nikki Burgess and Paige Wood, who are her other two backs.
“Goals win games and defense wins championships,” said Coulton.
Veazie said senior Whitney Mower turned in an “outstanding game” and freshman Peyton Watson was equally stellar.