STANDISH – At 5-0, the Gorham girls soccer team just keeps finding ways to win.

On Sept. 20, Bonny Eagle saw the Rams find yet another way to pull off a victory, and it came in a double dose of Meghan Cushing.

Although the Rams outshot the Scots 12-1 in the first half, and 18-2 overall in the 4-1 win, Bonny Eagle seemed to be keeping up with the visiting team as the first half progressed. The Scots’ efforts were aided – perhaps even fueled – by the play of dynamic goalkeeper Marisa Butler, who made 14 saves in the game. But the Scots were unprepared for the crucial 23rd minute of the game, which unfolded thanks to Gorham sophomore Meghan Cushing.

Cushing struck first with 17:55 to go, striking on a conventional pass in and blasting the ball past Butler. Forty-eight seconds later, Cushing found the net again, this time as she approached from the right side, tipped a ball, and then actually collided with Butler. There was no whistle, and Cushing’s shot just kept rolling, almost lazily gliding into the back of the net to make it 2-0. The game was never the same.

“Basically, our goal for this year is to be aggressive,” Cushing said. “So coach told me when I went in to be aggressive, and that’s how I scored. We wanted to keep (our shots) on the ground, and I was just there to tap them in on both of them.”

“(On the second one) I had no idea (that their goalie was there) – I just knew I was going to get to that ball, and then I was just thrown on the ground,” Cushing continued. “When I hit the ground, I had no idea what was going on. I thought I was going to get called for it, but the shot went in, so I was happy.”

So were Cushing’s teammates, who continued to pound shots at Butler throughout the remainder of the half. After the break, one of these struck home, as senior midfielder Kiersten Turner struck from left side with an arcing shot that made it past the diving Butler to make it 3-0.

“We’re working on (our offense),” said Gorham Head Coach Jeanne Zarrilli. “We’re still not finishing as much as we want to; it takes us a little while. But we are getting there. And their goalie was great. She made some great saves.”

The tenacious Scots would not stand for a shutout, though. With just over 17 minutes remaining, senior Nicole Kepron reeled in a pass from the right side and booted it by Gorham backup goalie Marissa Roberts, who was in the game because normal starter Sarah Perkins and three other players were sidelined with illness.

But the Rams responded quickly, working the ball back down to the other end. With 13:32 left, Gorham junior Erin Smith iced things at 4-1 as she nailed a rebound into the net after a corner kick popped off of Butler’s fingertips. That score would hold until time ran out.

“That shot total is (a big disparity),” said Bonny Eagle Head Coach Ed Taylor. “But what you’ll find is that we have improved every game as the season has gone on. These girls are engaged in learning the nuances of the game, they are coachable, and they are improving every time out there. One thing we are particularly proud of is that we have had seven different goal-scorers this season. So we don’t rely on any one player.”

Meanwhile, the Rams are looking forward to two big games in the next week – a rescheduled meeting with Windham, and another bout two days later with highly-touted Sanford.

“We feel good,” Cushing said. “We think we have progressed every game, and we are looking forward to the next couple of games. Both Sanford and Windham are going to be a pretty good challenge, but we are ready for it.”

Gorham junior Erin Smith (3) leaps up to connect on a header,
using Bonny Eagle senior Jessica MacDonald (19) as leverage on
Sept. 20. Smith hit the final goal for the Rams to make it 4-1 in
the second half.(Staff photo by Emory Rounds)

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