CUMBERLAND – Sammi Toorish and Audrey Parolin of Greely High are one of the highest-scoring teammates in Maine schoolgirl soccer.

That isn’t news.

Last season they combined for 23 goals and 15 assists to help the Rangers advance to the Western Class A semifinals.

This season they will switch positions, which could make it even more difficult to for opponents.

A year ago, Toorish, a junior in her third varsity season, lined up at striker to start games, and Parolin, a senior in her fourth varsity season, usually started in the midfield.

This season, Toorish will start in the middle of the field and Parolin will play up front.

“I like putting (Sammi) in a playmaking role,” Greely Coach Michael Kennedy said. “We just found that Audrey’s combination of size, speed and athleticism, and Sammi’s ability to create offense was just a natural for us. They’re both dangerous because Sammi can go up and play striker and Audrey can come back as well.”

Once a game starts, they are likely to switch positions on their own, further confounding defenders.

“They often switch roles,” said Kennedy, in his fourth season as coach of the Rangers. “You don’t know where they’re going to be, which I think is going to be tough for other teams when they try to (cover) them.”

When do they make the switch?

“It’s kind of strange the way it happens,” Parolin said. “I guess we just see the space where she left or I left, and we just know to go there.”

“We know how to cover for each other,” Toorish said. “We know if one of us makes a run, the other one can get us the ball.”

“They complement each other very well because they feed off of each other,” Kennedy said. “It’s almost like they’re conjoined.”

Yet Toorish and Parlin approach the game differently.

“Sammi really does think two or three passes ahead, and she does make the people around her a lot better, while Audrey is an athletic force. She is very fast; she is very physical,” Kennedy said.

Parolin credits Toorish with getting her to slow down and think about what she’s doing.

“I’ve always been someone who kicked the ball, sprinted to the ball and pressured the ball, and hopefully got to where I needed to be,” said Parolin, who intends to continue her career next year at either Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., or Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. “She helped me to slow down and think about the things I needed to do. I’ve tried to become more composed like she is.”

Toorish said Paul Cameron, who was the coach of her first premier soccer team, taught her to think before she acts on a soccer field.

“He just took me aside one day, and he said, ‘You’re a great player but you’re not thinking enough,’ ” Toorish said. “He said, ‘before you get the ball, you need to look around and think about where you’re going with it. Then if you look up and that pass isn’t working, you need to have a second pass. You’ve got to have a backup.’ I know whenever I get the ball I need to have two plays in mind to go to before I even get the ball.”

Toorish was 12 when she got that advice.

“He had a British accent,” she said. “He had to know what he was talking about, right?”

The ability of Parolin and Toorish to instinctively move to open spaces with or without the ball fits in nicely with the Rangers’ team approach to the game.

“We don’t really play positions,” Kennedy said. “We play a system, and our system really is about moving the ball around. It doesn’t matter who you are. You fill each other’s space and work together as one large unit.”

Kennedy said a lot of teams will still try to pay special attention to Parolin and Toorish, and that will help the Rangers.

“A lot of teams will want to focus on Sammi and Audrey,” he said. “If they do that, they’re going to miss a lot because we really do play as 10 field players.”


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at [email protected]

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH