(Windham ME) What a memorable day……..and I’m not just writing about the weather!
The Windham Lady Eagles used the penalty-kick route to get by nemesis Scarborough, 1-0, on a Saturday afternoon where both the weather and the girls’ soccer were terrific.
The win for the Eagles (15-0-1) pushes them into the Western Class A finals against Thornton Academy on Wednesday at Windham High School.
The last three times Windham has faced Scarborough (12-2-2), regulation and overtimes have not been enough to separate the two teams.
Today was the third time and since it was a state tournament game there was a step beyond regulation and overtimes………penalty kicks and they were needed in this Western Class A semifinal game.
The unlikely heroine for the Eagles in the penalty-kick part of this game was junior backup goalie Liz Mycock. WHS coach Deb Lebel opted to switch in Liz ahead of starting goalie Kate Kneeland because as Coach Lebel said afterwards, “she is a little taller.” Coach Lebel also added the Kate had no problem with the switch.
Sometimes a crucial decision like this one can backfire but it certainly didn’t this time for Windham.
In the first PK round, Liz gave up a goal to Katherine Kirk, but after that Scarborough was blanked on three straight attempts (Morgan Rodway, Hadlee Yescott, and Sam Sparda).
Meanwhile, Windham started with a goal by Jenna Soucy before Red Storm GK Sydney Martin turned back two straight Eagles attempts (Cassie Symonds and Jordan Sargent).
In the fourth round Emily Gilman put a grounder past Sydney into the right corner.
With Windham up two goals to one going into the fifth round, the stage was set for senior Lauren Shoemaker. Lauren put a bullet high into the left corner and the Lady Eagles earned a trip to the Western Class A finals as a result.
This game was decided with penalty kicks but the primary reason it got that far was because of the extraordinary goalkeeping of Scarborough’s Sydney Martin. No surprise that the senior was voted to the Western Class A All-Star team recently.
Sydney faced a ton of shots – 38 by one reporter’s estimate. Jenna Soucy (two goals when team’s met two weeks ago) dribbled her way into excellent looks several times. The most dangerous of Jenna’s attempts was midway through the second half.
There were several key moments in this game.
One of them was in the last 1 1/2 minutes of the first half when Cassie Symonds and Ainsley Jamieson had a nasty collision near midfield. Both went down and walked off but Ainsley was done for the day with an injury to her left arm (wrist?). The Red Storm defense missed Ainsley’s height and strong leg.
Another key moment happened with 2 1/2 minutes left in the first overtime. Scarborough goalie Sydney Martin ran out from the goal and misfired on a goal kick. The very short kick went straight to Windham’s Ariana Davidson who quickly lobbed a return over Sydney’s head that fortunately for Scarborough bounced off the crossbar.
Coach Lebel said that it would have been a tough way to win the game after the Red Storm goalie had played so well during the game.
One of the most dangerous scoring threats for Windham (sophomore Ciera Berthiaume) put several hard shots on net.
The Red Storm are the defending state Class A champions.
Windham has only lost twice in their last forty games, both times to Scarborough.
Scarborough has only lost five times in their last fifty-two games.
I was attracted to this game because of the terrific records these teams had going into this match. Another attraction was that the Portland Press Herald’s, “25 Players to Watch,” included four players (Ciera Berthiaume, Cassie Symonds, Ainsley Jamieson, and Sydney Martin) playing in this one.
Windham and Scarborough tied in 2012 & 2013. Scarborough won the previous four matches.
Cassie Symonds, Jenna Soucy, Jordan Sargent, and Emily Gilman made the 2013 Western Class A All-Star team for Windham.
Ashley Gleason, Ainsley Jamieson, Sydney Martin, and Hadlee Yescott made the same team for Scarborough.
Wonderful weather (high 60’s, sunny, light breeze) brought out a good crowd for both teams.
(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)