SCARBOROUGH – When Scarborough’s high-scoring striker Hadlee Yescott drew a yellow card and jogged off to serve a 10-minute ban, you couldn’t blame the Gorham girls’ soccer players for feeling a sense of relief.
After all, Yescott had scored 20 goals in eight games this season. Between the pressure of handling that scoring threat and playing with a 15 mph wind in their faces, the Rams welcomed any respite.
Too bad freshman Ashley Perriello ruined their night.
Perriello, subbing for Yescott, collected a loose ball at the right edge of the penalty area and chipped a shot into the far top corner of the goal to lead Scarborough to a 1-0 win over Gorham in a Western Class A match at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.
The defending Class A state champion Red Storm (8-0-1) extended their winning streak to six games and have yet to allow a goal in open-field play.
Perriello’s goal came in the 26th minute of the first half, about 4 minutes into Yescott’s penalty, which was assessed after a collision with Gorham keeper Renae Staples (seven saves).
“I didn’t really think much of it,” Perriello said. “I thought it was going over the top but I saw it slip past the goalie’s (fingers), and I was like, ‘Oh, it went in.”‘
The goal stood on a night when the wind and high-pressure play prevented either team from stringing together many passes. Instead, the game became a battle of 50-50 challenges and controlling balls in the air.
“This wind was a definite factor and Gorham was playing direct, so every time they got a ball or we made a bad pass they were putting the ball over the top,” Scarborough Coach Mike Farley said.
“If Ainsley (Jamieson) wasn’t so good at winning balls in the air, with Emma (Smith) and our outside backs, we would have been under a lot more pressure.”
Gorham (6-3) nearly tied it with about 15 minutes left when Elizabeth Sullivan sent a hard shot along the ground toward the far corner. Scarborough keeper Sydney Martin (six saves) made the save of the night, diving to her right to knock the ball wide.
Scarborough held an edge in corner kicks (2-1), shots (13-10) and shots on goal (8-6). But the real battle was for possession of 50-50 balls, and the advantage went back-and-forth all night.
“It was a high pressure game all over the field,” Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli said. “The wind didn’t allow either team to use the wing play. Their passes went long, ours went long. It was a scary first half.”
Scarborough’s Jamieson and Smith used their height advantage and strong positioning to fend off Gorham’s over-the-top approach. At the far end, Gorham central defenders Cady Houghton and Jess Rexrode — a midfielder pressed into action to replace the absent Rozada Spiers — did their best to harass Yescott all night.
“Every time we got a pass in to (Yescott), they had her under pressure, one in front and one behind,” Farley said. “Our passing overall was not as good as it typically is. Today, everything was a little bit off.”
The game was the first of a string of tough games for the Red Storm, who host Deering on Wednesday, visit an improving Westbrook team Friday, then face Windham and Thornton Academy next week.