(Windham) A beautiful moon was rising in the background as Scarborough edged Windham, 1-0, on Thursday night at Windham.
The Portland Press Herald had both teams (Windham/Scarborough) worthy of watching as well as four players (Abbey Thornton, Stella Gervais, Lana Djuranovic, Ali Mokriski) equally deserving of a special look.
Those stars were definitely special tonight and each one impressed me.
Both teams had players who could possess the ball and both teams were quick to go on the attack.
It was exciting to watch.
Senior Ali Mokriski (Bryant commit) produced the game winner with 10:55 left in the game.
Ali set up the scoring opportunity by pressuring the Lady Eagles defense and causing a violation to be committed.
Ali’s score came off a direct kick from about twenty yards on the right side.
“It was set up just right for her,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley afterwards. “She is left-footed and just wrapped it around the side of the wall.”
Ali said, “it was set up perfectly so that I could get the ball around the wall and go to the other side of the goalie.”
It was certainly not an easy shot.
“I had a feeling she was going to wrap it around,” recalled Windham coach Deb LeBel post-game. “It was perfectly placed. It was a great shot.”
And that was all the scoring there was….although both teams had chances long range and in close.
Sophomore Sophie Rinaldi had the shutout for the (3-0) Red Storm.
The Scarborough GK sounded like a future coach afterwards when asked about getting the win and the shutout. “It was very exciting, but we really need to focus on the rest of the season. It’s early.”
Sophie spent the second half in front of the active Eagles student section with a slippery grass field in front of her.
“It was pretty hectic at times,” she said.
Sophie got high praise from Coach Farley. “Sophie had the game of her life. She made a ton of good saves.”
“I’ve been asking our goalies to make those one or two saves that keep us in it,” he added. “She probably made four in this one and made it look easy.”
The most dangerous attacker for the Lady Eagles is Abbey Thornton. Abbey had 32 goals last year in Windham’s undefeated (19-0) Class A championship season. She had a goal in the title win versus Brunswick.
Abbey can create her own space and she moved into some with eighteen minutes left in the game. Abbey launched a laser that clanked off the crossbar.
“We dodged a bullet when Abbey got that open shot,” said Coach Farley.
If you’re thinking that a little lower would have been a goal, not so fast. “I literally had my hands right under the crossbar,” explained GK Sophie Rinaldi. “So, it was either the crossbar or my hands.”
Abbey was in the middle of some more excitement in the final two minutes in front of the Scarborough net. The ball got into the box with lots of players there. The ground was mushy and players from both sides were struggling to get a foot on the ball. Down went Abbey as she tried to get control. Foul? Not according to the official. That lack of a call didn’t set well with Windham afterwards. My picture of the action, however, would suggest that Abbey fell over the ball and would justify the lack of a whistle.
Coach LeBel had Scarborough as “the team to beat in the league” even before this game was played.
“It was tough to play a game like this for our second game,” she added. “To have a close game with them this early makes me happy with the way we played. We had our chances. Our goalie (Reilly Russell) was very good tonight. The ball just didn’t fall. We’re fine. We have a young team. We’ll clean up some things and we’ll be fine.”
Ali Mokriski and Lana Djuranovic totaled thirty-nine goals for Scarborough last year.
Windham’s Stella Jarvais was on the SMAA’s all-conference first team last year as a freshman. She was an excellent defender vs Scarborough. She went down with a leg cramp in the second half but returned. I’m sure the cramp was painful but someway the players from both sides were smiling as she was being attended to.
Scarborough was the Class A champion from 2017-2019.
It was a beautiful night for soccer. The 6PM start provided a first half of daylight. Did I mention that the moon was spectacular?
It is not a reach to imagine Scarborough and Windham meeting in the regional Class A finals.