All-Region Field Hockey Player of the Year: Madeline Wagner, Winthrop

Nov. 26—Madeline Wagner stepped up this season for the Winthrop field hockey team.

The sophomore scored 39 goals and 16 assists and scored the game-winning goal in the state championship game, giving the Ramblers a 2-1 overtime victory over Maine Central Institute and the program its second straight Class C state title and third in five years.

After the season, she was voted to the Maine Field Hockey Association All-State team as well as the Mountain Valley Conference first team. She also has been selected as the Sun Journal's All-Region Field Hockey Player of the Year.

"I couldn't do it without team, though, it takes 11 people on the field to get a goal in," Wagner said. "A lot of credit goes to the rest of the team."

Wagner said she stayed aggressive and communicated with her teammates to get open for scoring chances.

When she continued to fill the net with goals this season, opponents took notice and tried to stop her with double-teams.

"It did become a little bit harder," Wagner said. "Obviously, other teams have really good defenders, and sometimes I'd have a defender on me, but I tried to stay positive."

Winthrop coach Sharon Coulton said Wagner handled being double-covered well, and the increased defensive attention didn't affect Wagner's stat line too much.

"She was likely to be the marked player and double-teamed by several of our opponents," Coulton said. "So you have that and dealing with a little bit of frustration when you are well-marked, but that opens up opportunities for other players on your team.

"There were situations and games where she was closely marked, but she was still successful scoring."

Coulton said Wagner has always had the ability to create offense.

"She had outstanding stick skills last season and that was recognized by the coaches of the (Mountain Valley Conference, who) placed her on the first team as a freshman, " Coulton said.

Wagner filled the shoes of Maddie Perkins, who led the Ramblers in 2021 with 33 goals and 22 assists and was named the 2021 All-Region Player of the Year. Perkins is now a freshman at Husson University.

The plan entering the 2022 season wasn't for Wagner to be the next Maddie Perkins, but for a group effort to replace Perkins' output.

"It has always been a team effort," Wagner said. "We knew you need everyone on the team to win, whether they are on the field or not. We tried to keep that positive energy the whole season."

Still, Wagner knew she had to improve upon her freshman season, when she had 15 goals and 28 assists.

"I feel like I definitely worked on some finishing moves (during the offseason)," Wagner said. "Last year, Maddie put in a lot of goals in for usn and I knew there was a gap that needed to be filled. I tried to improve my game in the scoring aspect, and I also tried to work on my communication with my team so we can be successful together."

Wagner also took over a defensive duty that Perkins fulfilled throughout her career.

"Maddie had been our first fly on defensive corners, and that was another task that needed to be assigned to someone else," Coulton said. "Madeline was eager to do that, and she did that role until her injury, then Izzy Folsom stepped into that spot during the playoffs."

Wagner injured her left hand just before the playoffs started in a scrimmage against Kents Hill. She played the postseason with a cast yet still recorded six of her 55 points (three goals and three assists) in four games.

Coulton said that Wagner has the ability to be a team captain in the future, but she didn't want to over-burden the sophomore in her second year of high school field hockey. While Wagner was Winthrop's leading scorer, she also watched, learned from and followed the team's leaders.

"The leadership from the seniors this year was great," Wagner said. "They have a lot of experience, so I really used that and I listened to them. Our team chemistry was really good and that all helped us to a successful season."