Sunday, December 8, 2013
By GREG REID Special to the Press Herald
PORTLAND - There's buildup, then there's breakthrough. Deering has undergone a steady boys' soccer buildup this season, says Coach Joel Costigan, improving game by game.
Tyler DeFosse of Windham comes down on the back of Kuba Chandler of Deering while the ball bounces away Thursday. Deering beat the defending Class A state champion, 2-1.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
Shaun Davies of Windham heads to the ground Thursday after colliding with David Bujambi of Deering during Deering’s 2-1 victory at home.
Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer
The breakthrough came Thursday night when the Rams shocked Windham 2-1 in an SMAA game at Memorial Field.
Stephen Ochan shed his mark, took to the air and headed in a corner kick by Abdi Hassan with 5:29 left to send the Rams past the defending Class A champion. Windham (7-3) had lost only to Gorham and Scarborough.
"This game is good proof of what we're capable of doing," Costigan said. "I've been telling them all year that they can be one of the top teams in the league. They proved it tonight."
Deering (6-3-2), which hasn't won back-to-back games since Sept. 17-18, came in ranked No. 8 in Western Class A Heal points. Windham was No. 3. After Deering Athletic Director Mel Craig keyed in the result, the Rams had moved up to No. 4.
"They're a good team and they came out to play," Windham Coach Colin Minte said. "I thought we had more opportunities, more possession and that we were the better team. But the result doesn't always reflect that."
The Rams scored first on a Windham own goal 11 minutes into the first half. Deering keeper Anthony Russo (seven saves) cleared the ball with a 65-yard punt. A Windham defender headed it back toward onrushing Eagles keeper Thomas McGowan (three saves). The ball sailed over McGowan and found its way into the net.
"We've been the beneficiary of some good bounces," Minte said. "Tonight we were the unfortunate beneficiary of a bad bounce. That's the game of soccer in a nutshell."
And a source of inspiration for the Rams.
"Honestly, it changed our whole mentality," Ochan said. "At first it seemed like we would go for the tie or go for a close game. That first goal lifted our spirits up. It motivated us to do something great with it."
But a win wouldn't come easily. The Eagles scored on their first trip to the attacking third, just 40 seconds into the second half. A Deering foul set up Tyler DeFosse's 25-yard free kick near the left touch line. Forward Marc Reynolds got his head on the end of it to make it 1-1.
Deering nearly regained the lead eight minutes later when Ben Peterson drew a penalty kick, but was stopped.
"That made us nervous," Costigan said. "We had to fight back to get that winning goal."
Because Windham surely was fighting. Big, strong Dominick Cancelarich caused trouble in the middle. Spencer Hodge and Reynolds worked several give-and-goes through the midfield, only to be stopped by defender Nathan Finberg and the Deering back three.
Eagle defenders Jack Herzig and Ian Mills got involved as well, sending long drives into dangerous places.
Frustration began to show. Overall, Deering was called for 10 fouls; Windham had 13. Two Deering players were issued yellow cards in separate incidents.
"It's an emotional game and sometimes it gets to us," Finberg said. "It was a matter of the team leaders getting everyone to cool down."
Then came Ochan's goal. When he felt it glance off his head and spin into the net, "I felt relieved, honestly," he said. "It was just a great pass from Abdi."
Deering tried to hold the ball the rest of the way.
"This win feels really good," Finberg said. "We need to take the effort on to the Marshwood game and get a big win next week."