SACO – Amanda Arnold had a goal and two assists, and Tori Daigle chipped in with a goal and an assist as Thornton Academy beat previously unbeaten Biddeford 3-1 in an SMAA girls’ soccer game Wednesday night.
Thornton (5-1) controlled nearly the entire game but couldn’t feel comfortable against the scrappy Tigers (4-1-1) until Daigle made it 3-1 with just over three minutes remaining.
“Rivalry games are always tough,” said Thornton Coach Chris Kohl. “There’s a lot of emotion. We just needed to settle down after Biddeford scored. We had a ton of opportunities.
“It was great to see (Daigle) score. She’s been struggling in the other games, hitting the post left and right.”
Daigle made a run through the Tigers’ defense and fired in a low shot.
“Tori made a great run,” said Arnold, one of the four seniors on the team.
The Golden Trojans returned most of their players from a team that went 15-1 in the regular season before losing in the Western Class A semifinals last year.
“Our seniors make an impact,” said Kohl, “but we do have a strong junior class. We feel we’re one of the top echelon teams in the league.”
Thornton had some great chances early but couldn’t find the net.
That changed with 15:57 remaining in the first half when Katherine Gillespie took a pass from Arnold in the middle about 25 yards out, spun and fired in a left-footed shot to the goalie’s lower right.
That was the score at halftime. The Golden Trojans made it 2-0 less that six minutes into the second half when Arnold scored off a rebound in front off a crossing pass from Daigle.
Less than a minute later, Biddeford cut its deficit to 2-1.
The Tigers capitalized on their only corner kick of the game. Lexi Paquette, going aggressively to the net, headed the ball in.
The Tigers were a different team for the next few minutes, having received a new life.
“A 2-0 lead is the most dangerous in soccer,” said Kohl. “Biddeford caught us flat-footed and got back into it. We have to be ready to go before the corner kick. I was proud of the way the girls kept their composure.”
Arnold assisted on the first goal, scored the second and assisted on Daigle’s goal.
“It feels great to help the team win,” said Arnold. “We really played a great game and put it all on the field. We had a lot of chances and it was definitely a competitive game. Biddeford really stepped it up.”
Kohl said the Tigers should be complimented on their fast start to the season.
“Darren Boynton has done a good job with them,” said Kohl of the Biddeford coach. “They’ve come a long way and deserve everything they’ve gotten.”
Early in the game, Allie Pettaway, Daigle and Gillespie had good opportunities to score the first goal.
Keely Gendron of Biddeford had a chance that was easily handled by Thornton goalie Alexis Nason.
Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: