GORHAM – The Rams heavily pressured visiting Bonny Eagle on Monday afternoon, Sept. 11, and near the end of the first half – when Molly Barr broke a 0-0 deadlock and gave Gorham the edge – their efforts began to pay off. The team added two more in the second half, while the Scots managed just one all game, resulting in a 3-1 final.
“When we went out at halftime, we said, ‘We’ve had a couple hits in that missed, that we didn’t get the stick on it.’ I think they came out (after that) and wanted it more,” said Gorham head coach Becky Manson-Rioux. “We tell them to be hungry in front of the goal cage, and maybe they were a little more hungry in the second half.”
The Rams controlled the attack for the majority of the bout, and Barr finally converted for them with maybe three minutes to play before the break. Roughly 12 and a half minutes into the downhill half, then, Grace DeWitt tacked on another for Gorham, and 14 minutes after that, Sarah Stevens capped the Rams’ scoring and secured their victory.
“We were really working on our communication,” said Manson-Rioux, asked what allowed her girls to take the reins so firmly in hand. “Working on recognizing when the ball needs to be transferred, and just keeping possession of the ball by doing that, and not just running into a blockade, a sea of Scots.”
“In the first half,” Manson-Rioux said, “we got stuck on our left side; in the second half, we transitioned much better. We were more in control in the second half, and were able to come out with those two goals.”
Manson-Rioux described the Rams’ goals from her p.o.v: “The first goal was just a nice touch by Molly. The second goal, by Grace, she just had some great stickhandling, and I think maybe pulled the goalie one way and got it into goal. That last goal was a tip; Sarah kind of got that jab onto the ball from Molly.”
For their part, the Scots evened the action out a bit in the latter half, though their offense still came mostly as stabs up the field. They did manage to score on one of those – Hannah Milne did the honors, smacking a rebound (off a Kailee Cummings shot) past Rams’ keeper Jessica Dusseault – but otherwise, the Gorham back line repelled Bonny Eagle successfully.
“Just a breakdown of defense allowed (Bonny Eagle) to get in the circle and score a goal,” Manson-Rioux said. “That happens in the midst of a game.”
Anna Rathbun, Emily Murray and Vanessa Berrill all did a solid job holding down Gorham’s defensive fort. “Yeah, absolutely,” Manson-Rioux said. “We just kind of work our diagonal defensively, so if someone gets beat, the next person steps up, and the person that got beat, they just recycle. We’ve really been working on not hesitating on recycling.”
Manson-Rioux took a moment to highlight Stevens’s play especially. “She was unbelievable. She starts as a right-mid, then she comes in and switches to the center when needed. Defensively, she has a really low body – strong. Her free hits were good. She was very supportive defensively. Then, offensively, she went in on that corner and scored her goal. She really had a standout game.”
Gorham advances to 3-1 with the W. The Rams opened their season with a 1-0 loss to Marshwood, but followed that result up with a 4-0 victory vs. Deering and a 2-1 slink past Noble. The team travels to Windham on Wednesday the 13th and welcomes Cheverus two days later.
Bonny Eagle has struggled so far this autumn, and now drops to 0-4. The Scots kicked off their schedule with a 5-1 defeat at home against Kennebunk, then succumbed 8-1 on the road at Biddeford and 4-2 hosting South Portland. They see Falmouth on Wednesday and Thornton Academy on Friday.
Adam Birt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.
Scot Arianna Mejias with Ram defender Emily Murray.
Gorhamite Sarah Shields stands her ground, faced with Scot Nicole Poirier.
Scot Samantha Averill and Ram Faith Dillon battle for control.
Bonny Eagler Amaya Leeman shovels the ball toward the Gorham cage; the play will ultimately result in the Scots’ only goal.