STANDISH—Bonny Eaglers Emily Ginter and Maddy Boothby added goals late in the first half vs. visiting Thornton Academy on Friday afternoon, Oct. 20, propelling the No. 6 Scots to a 2-1 prelims victory over the No. 11 Trojans.
“There’s no question. These girls are so talented,” Bonny Eagle head coach Ed Taylor said, asked about the overall high level of his girls’ play this season. “They’re so good now and they have so much promise, I don’t think I can use ‘But they’re small’ anymore. That’s not going to fly. We are who we are.”
“I’ve been saying for a couple years is that we’re young,” Taylor said, “and now the experience is starting to come full-circle. I think you saw a little bit of that today. Now they’re starting to learn how to be more consistent, more focused when it’s necessary.”
“We just had to be positive,” said Randi Lee Robinson, crucial all day on the Scots’ defense. “I think being positive is a big part of defense. [And] we had to mark tight.”
Bonny Eagle didn’t meet TA in the regular season, and had little idea of what to expect from them. “We just played our game, and it turned out well,” Robinson said.
Robinson returned to the Scots’ attitude, as well as their chemistry, when asked what characterizes their game. “Probably just our positivity,” she said, “and staying together as a team, not just playing one-for-one.”
TA dealt the first blow of the game, Mia Taranko somehow slicing a shot from low and wide on Bonny Eagle’s right side up and across to the opposite top corner of keeper Sydney Gillingham’s domain. It was a baffling ball, and very much to Taranko’s credit. Gillingham, for her part, couldn’t possibly have had much of an angle on the thing.
Six minutes later, the Scots responded. Emily Byrne blocked a Trojans clear attempt with her body and immediately settled into control. Byrne drove forward, taking several strides up the right side of the field and circumventing a TA defender before crossing prettily to Emily Ginter, waiting on the left to pounce; Ginter then knocked home the tying goal.
“I knew I just had to beat my player,” Byrne said. “But the girl caught up to me, so I knew I had to give it to Ginter on the other side – and we scored. I knew she was there, and I had to give her the ball. She has the scoring ability.”
Two minutes later, Bonny Eagle added another: Like Byrne had done, Hailey Bell seized control of the ball on a TA clear-attempt. Bell worked the ball to Maddy Boothby, who employed a little fancy footwork to beat her Trojans defender, then banged home the 2-1 tally.
“We got surprised early,” Taylor said of the TA strike. “They popped in a short from the corner. But…one of the things I was asking the girls to do was high-pressure. Both goals were contributed to by high-pressure. Emily Byrne went through a ball they couldn’t clear, and ultimately we ended up finishing; Hailey Bell went through a ball they couldn’t clear, and we ultimately ended up finishing.”
Byrne laughed a little at the sheer brilliance of Boothby’s goal. “She beat, like, three players and scored; it was amazing, it was awesome.”
“We were really working on, in practice, dropping passes back to take shots from outside the 18,” midfielder Cassidy Koons said. “And getting in the six-box and finishing. I feel like the work we did in practice really helped us on crashing the net and making sure we got something on every ball going towards the net.”
Koons, given the opportunity, heaped praise on her teammates. “I actually feel like Emily played really well up top; her assist was awesome. Randi played really well in the back; Syd had some awesome saves. Our defensive mid, Keelin (Sweeney) also made some really nice tackles. Our outside – basically, everyone played really well.”
For the remainder of the game, the teams jabbed at each other, but neither side found the back of the net again. Byrne came close late in the first half and Boothby came close (again) in the second. Meanwhile, Gillingham turned in several critical saves, including a diving deflection on a TA direct kick 10 minutes into the downhill half and a huge grab on a TA breakaway a few minutes later.
“That was nerve-wracking,” Gillingham said of the one-on-one. “In those situations, it’s either a ‘you go or you don’t’ decision, and you’ve got to make it quick. So I made the decision to go – and I got pretty lucky; it bounced, like, off my shoulder and then back off of her, but I made the collected save.”
Bonny Eagle advanced to 10-4-1 on the result. The Scots took two of their losses in the leading half of the regular season, and two in the trailing half. Their record may not show it, but they logged a few more missteps in their later bouts.
“I would say that, but there’s a silver lining in every cloud,” Taylor said. “The silver lining was: We had a battle against Gorham at Gorham – great program, I respect how they play, I respect the coaching. I thought we had it. We’re up 1-0 with like 2:35 to go. We ended up coughing it up, got outplayed in the last two and a half minutes. What we learned from that is how to close out games…I think that carried over to today.”
“We’re definitely who we are from the back forward,” Taylor said, asked who played well for his girls. “All starts with Sydney Gillingham. You can’t put Bonny Eagle in a conversation of soccer and success without mentioning her.”
“We work hard from the back line up,” Gillingham said. “The positivity comes from the back up as well, so you’ve got to keep everybody working. But the back line can’t take credit for everything; they all worked great.”
“Sometimes, I’m hesitant to pick out just one or two,” Taylor said, “because at the end of the day – I think today we went 15-deep, 14-deep – it’s a team effort. It’s a team win. They all had something to give that was important. Even the girls that didn’t make it into the game, that were on the bench, they’re at practice every day, they’re making this team.”
“This is really good soccer we’re playing this year,” Byrne said. “Our team has stuck together, and we’re doing a really good job this year.”
The Scots traveled to Marshwood on Tuesday the 24th for their quarterfinals bout. When Bonny Eagle met the Hawks in the regular season, they emerged triumphant 1-0; this time around, they fell 4-1 and thus retired for the year at 10-5-1.
Adam Birt can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.
The Scots celebrate their second goal, the game-winner.
Hailey Bell blasts a Scots ball forward.
Keelin Sweeney takes a touch for Bonny Eagle.
Scot Emily Byrne and Trojan Amanda Bogardus collide.
Cassidy Koons fires forward for Bonny Eagle.
Maddy Boothby scored one of Scots’ two goals in their win over TA on Friday.
Bonny Eagler Kaley Rumery cuts cross-field.