Wednesday, December 11, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Telegram
GORHAM - There was just one way to describe Charlotte Smith and her Gorham field hockey teammates Saturday.
"We were really relentless the whole game," Smith said. "It was great to know our hard work was paying off."
True enough. Smith had a goal and an assist to lift seventh-seeded Gorham to a 3-0 win over No. 10 Deering in a Western Class A prelim.
Gorham (9-6) moves on to a quarterfinal matchup at No. 2 Cheverus (13-1) on Tuesday.
Gorham was in command from the start, pinning the ball in the Deering end of the field for long stretches. And when Deering did work the ball free, Gorham midfielders Gabby Martell, Delaney Shiers and Elle Lavoie -- along with sweeper Caitlin Shaw -- were there to work the ball back into the final third.
"(Deering is) just right next to you the whole time, putting on great pressure," Gorham forward Darcie Brown said. "You have to cut and get open and get the ball to the open girl."
That they did. Gorham outshot Deering 15-2 and earned an 11-0 edge in penalty corners. Deering defenders, particularly Maren Crabill, Kylie Patchell and Rylie Turner, did what they could to scuttle Gorham's near-constant pressure.
"It's definitely a mental game," said Deering first-year coach Liz Koharian. "I don't think we played our best today, or with much intensity. Gorham played very well."
Deering finishes at 6-9. Koharian said it was a bittersweet end to a successful season.
"Our goal was to make the playoffs, and we achieved our goal," she said. "This is new territory for this group. They've never played in a playoff game before. They've changed Deering field hockey, and we're going to keep improving."
Gorham finally got a shot past Deering's Bri Delano (12 saves) when Brown converted a feed from Smith to give Gorham a 1-0 lead with 13:54 left in the first half.
"We don't score goals in great numbers, but we know if we stick it out, we'll eventually get one," Brown said.
Smith made it 2-0 off a scramble at 20:54 of the second half. Senior Jaime Hansen's goal about nine minutes later put it out of reach.
Gorham now looks forward to a rematch with Cheverus, which beat the Rams 2-1 on Sept. 27 in what players called "our best game of the year."
Manson-Rioux was quick to correct them. "One of our best, yes," she said.
Gorham's best game, perhaps, has yet to be played.