GORHAM – Eye black dripping down her face, the deep breaths from running the lacrosse field in 80-degree heat slowed, Mia Rapolla exhaled and smiled: “We needed this.”

Rapolla and the second-seeded Gorham High girls’ team beat No. 7 Marshwood 17-5 Wednesday in a Western Maine Class A quarterfinal.

It was the Rams’ first win since losing three straight games to end the regular season, a stretch that sank morale for a spell.

Their reward: a date in the regional semifinals against third-seeded Kennebunk on Saturday.

“We just really needed a win,” said Rapolla. “Coming off those three losses, our only ones of the year so far, we just needed this.”

Rapolla led the offense with 10 goals, including 7 of 9 scores in one stretch to help the Rams (10-3) to a 10-2 halftime lead.

Gorham led 7-0 before Marshwood (7-6) got a goal from Erica Sedler on a free possession at 10:50 of the first half.

Sedler scored again with 2:32 remaining off a feed from Alli Schoff to make it 8-2 before Gorham got another score by Rapolla and a goal on a rebound by Kali St. Germain with 38 seconds to play in the half.

“That’s a very good club,” said Marshwood Coach Bernie Marvin. They have a lot of height and speed and our kids did the best they could.

“We have six sophomores and two freshmen in the lineup, so they got a taste.”

Gorham put away Marshwood with two goals each from Chelsea Black, Shannon Wilcox and St. Germain, and one from Lindsey Smith.

“We have really been trying to take it one game at a time,” said Black. “We wanted to make sure we passed well and kept our transition game going.”

At various points during the game, Gorham Coach Ashley Dyer yelled out scenarios to prepare her players for the next game, such as, “One minute left, we’re down by one.”

The team also practiced some stalling techniques by playing a possession game and passing the ball around near the perimeter.

After a run to the regional final last year, Gorham went on a tear of nine straight wins to start the 2011 season, almost every victory by a margin of 10 or more goals.

But down the stretch in the regular season, Gorham lost 13-9 to Scarborough, 14-3 to Kennebunk and 15-14 to Cheverus.

“We revamped some things on offense and defense,” said Dyer. “It’s do or die in the playoffs. That’s what it’s all about.”

Rapolla said her team’s morale rebounded following Wednesday’s win and they are driven to keep the postseason going.

“We want to make it a step further this year,” said Rapolla. “We had a really good week of practice, and this was just what we needed.”

Sedler finished with three goals for Marshwood, and Ali Schoff and Mallory McPherson each added a goal. 

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

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