GORHAM — This spring, the Gorham girls’ lacrosse team set its sights on a deep playoff run.

On Wednesday, the Rams sharpened their focus.

Third-seeded Gorham defeated No. 6 Sanford 21-11 in a dominating performance in the Western Class A quarterfinals.

Mia Rapolla had eight goals, Chelsea Black scored five and four other players contributed at least one.

The Rams (11-2) advanced to face No. 2 Thornton Academy (11-2) in the semifinals at noon Saturday in Saco.

“We’ve prepared all year for this,” said Gorham Coach Ashley Dyer. “Like I tell the girls, This is when it matters.”

The Rams dominated on faceoff draws and possession time and with their offensive pressure.

Sarah Alexandre gave Sanford (7-6) a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 13 seconds into the game, but the Rams quickly put pressure on Redskins goalie Kim Vogel.

Gorham went up 5-1 less than 10 minutes in, and led 7-1 with 14:01 left in the first period. They built the margin to 14-4 at halftime.

Rapolla was winning draws and leading the downfield charge. The Rams, who pride themselves on fast transition opportunities, started to work on creating open shots with possession in front of the goal.

The Rams beat the Trojans in overtime earlier this season, but expect a very difficult match on Saturday.

“Thornton can run with us, so we were trying to work on team play (Wednesday),” said Rapolla. “(We were) passing the ball around the arc instead of relying on our transition.”

Rapolla, who has averaged about eight goals a game, said she expects to be double-teamed.

“It’s a little nerve-racking, but really it just allows another player to be open,” said Rapolla.

Sanford scored three straight to open the second half, one each from Miranda Levesque, Brooke Peterson and Haley Nordmann.

That made it 14-7 but prompted another Gorham surge.

The Rams scored six of the next seven goals to go up 20-8 with 13:18 remaining.

Sanford never quit and scored 3 of 4 to end the game.

Alexandre led the Redskins with five goals, Peterson scored two, and Nordmann, Karissa Stelzer and Kristina Farmer each scored one.

As the game ended, Sanford players mobbed Vogel, who despite the score made several nice saves.

“If we could have won more draws we would have been in good shape,” said Sanford Coach Matt Peterman. “We could score when we got the ball, but it was a matter of getting down the field.”

Dyer said her team has had several strong practices this week and hopes to compete well this weekend.

Gorham lost to Kennebunk last year in the regional semifinals.

“Saturday at noon will be a big game,” said Dyer. “We’ve come a long way since we played Thornton (earlier this season). These girls have worked really hard and I think they’re ready.”

Lindsay Smith and Kali St. Germain each had three goals for the Rams, and Katie Smith and Shannon Wilcox added one each.

 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

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