Girls Soccer: Defensive lapses prove costly as Rams fall to Stags

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GORHAM—Defensive miscues cost Gorham a couple of goals against visiting Cheverus on Friday night, Oct. 26 — goals they couldn’t get back. Lauren Jordan and Emma Gallant combined to push the Stags past the Rams 2-0 and onward into the A South Final.

“We started kind of slow,” Gorham head coach Jeanne Zarilli said. “We were, a little, playing not to lose – not playing to win. We need to play with that kind of intensity all the time…That’s been our struggle this season, bringing it for a full 80 minutes.”

Play in the first half looked fairly even, and Gorham accrued some solid chances—a couple of them, per usual, thanks to standout senior Hallie Shiers (who’ll be playing at Merrimack College starting in 2019). It was Cheverus who finally broke the 0-0 deadlock, though, Jordan scoring on with just over five minutes remaining before the break.

1-0 at the half, then. In the 71st minute — after her girls had applied ample pressure for a big chunk of half an hour — Gallant made it 2-0.

Zarrilli cited two main issues with her girls’ play: the aforementioned defensive lapses — the Rams played too tightly in the box and needed to step more, to confront Stags attackers — and a midfield inability to win 50-50 balls, a key to control in soccer.

“I was only frustrated with the first goal, where we didn’t step,” Zarilli said. “We should’ve stepped to not allow that shot in the first place. All season we’ve sort of been that, need to protect our box; we get so goal-protective. Sometimes we drop a little, play a little too nervous.”

“We want to take an extra touch, and they weren’t allowing us,” Zarilli continued. “They weren’t allowing very much, and we had to play with some quickness and intensity. That got the better of us.”

So the result was also a matter of Cheverus doing the right things.

“They played with tremendous intensity, quickness,” Zarilli said. “So – kudos to them. Their goalie came up with some big saves in the first half. That’s been kind of a struggle, finishing.”

“Emma (Forgues) and Hallie played great,” Zarilli said, asked who played well for her girls. “Avery (Germond), our senior back, and Katie Kutzer played really well. Those are the four I think of right away.”

No. 2 Gorham entered the tournament at 10-2-2, having dropped regular-season games to one-seed Scarborough and four-seed Bonny Eagle, and having tied with No. 5 Windham and No. 6 Falmouth. The Rams earned a bye through the bracketing prelims, then ousted seventh-place Marshwood 4-3 in the quarters to reach their fateful bout with the Stags. They thus finish the year at 11-3-2.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

Caitlin Chasse harrasses an off-balance Cheverus opponent.

Madison Michaud chases down a runaway ball for the Rams.

Hallie Shiers has been one of Gorham’s top talents – indeed, one of the best players in the State – for the past four years.

Olivia Michaud drives forward for the Lady Rams.

Jill Nichols watches a ball sail away.

Gorhamite Emma Forgues battles through a pair of Lady Stags.

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