WINDHAM – Ciera Berthiaume scored in the 34th minute and Windham beat Thornton Academy 1-0 on Saturday morning in an SMAA girls’ soccer game.
Jenna Soucy fed a streaking Berthiaume, who skipped the ball past goalie Alexis Nason and shot it into an empty net to give Windham (5-0) the lead.
“It was almost going (out of bounds), but I knew I was fast enough to get it and I just kept going and it went in,” said Berthiaume, a sophomore forward.
“She brings tons of athleticism, tons of speed,” Windham Coach Deb Lebel said of Berthiaume. “When you have that up front, it’s tough to defend.”
Both teams were undefeated. They had scored 61 combined goals in eight games.
“We knew this was going to be a 1-1 game or a 2-1 game,” Lebel said. “They’re a great team. Neither of us had really had a tough game yet, so this was a good measuring stick for both of us. I felt like some of our kids played the best they have all season.”
Windham accomplished what no other team has done this season: shutting down Thornton forward Amanda Arnold, who has scored 10 goals. The All-New England senior has 59 career goals, shattering the Trojans’ previous record of 50.
“We knew we had to mark her tight all game and not let her get opportunities because if she did, she was going to score,” Lebel said. “I think we limited her opportunities, though she had some good ones. We keyed in on a couple of their players and she was the one we knew we really had to be careful of.”
Thornton (4-1) controlled play for most of the first half, outshooting Windham 8-3 and sustaining play in the Eagles’ zone.
The Trojans’ Tori Daigle created the game’s first chance on a crossing feed from the right flank in the 12th minute. The ball looked like it might flutter into the net, but it bounced off the crossbar and out of the box.
Arnold had a chance at an open net from 30 yards in the 32nd minute, but her shot soared just over the goal.
“That’s what soccer does — it doesn’t matter if you outplay them between the goals, it’s a matter of who gets one to go in,” Thornton Coach Chris Kohl said. “They took advantage of an opportunity and got one to go in today. But the girls didn’t let down, they kept fighting through to the end.”
Windham carried the momentum from Berthiaume’s goal into the second half.
Four minutes into the second half, Arianna Davidson headed a Soucy corner kick just wide right of the goal.
Thornton defender Erin Tangney took down Soucy outside the box in the 58th minute. On the ensuing free kick, Soucy shot low and to the left, but Nason (three saves) made a diving stop.
Windham goalie Kate Kneeland finished with four saves.
Thornton found its game again in the final 15 minutes, applying pressure and drawing fouls deep in Windham’s zone. Haley DaGraca, Allison Coburn and Katie Senechal took free kicks from just outside the box, but they all sailed over the crossbar.