GORHAM – The ball arrived first, followed shortly by Jessica Meader of Scarborough carrying a full head of steam.

After 79 minutes of scoreless soccer, Meader collided with Gorham goalkeeper Sarah Perkins. The ball popped loose. Perkins went down.

Meader managed to keep her feet and quickly knocked the ball into the net to give third-seeded Scarborough a stunning 1-0 victory Wednesday night over previously unbeaten Gorham, the top seed in the Western Class A girls’ soccer tournament.

“We kind of hit each other and it just happened to come out,” Meader said. “The goal was open right in front of me.”

Scarborough (14-1-2) will face Bangor on Saturday at Falmouth in a rematch of last year’s final, won 3-0 by the Red Storm.

“We’re proud of our season,” said Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli, whose team yielded seven goals all fall. “To lose in the last 40 seconds, we were playing our hearts out the whole game. That’s the way soccer goes.”

The Rams (16-1) are the only team to beat Scarborough this season, a 1-0 victory at Scarborough in early September.

“They did a great job putting us under pressure from start to finish,” Scarborough Coach Mike Farley said of that early-season match. “It was 1-0 but they beat us worse than that.”

This time, Scarborough weathered Gorham’s early pressure that saw a 5-0 advantage in shots on goal in the first 20 minutes of what turned out to be a tightly contested defensive battle. A seemingly harmless shot by Shannon Folan of Gorham went between the legs of Scarborough goalie Katie Mader, who turned and dived on it less than 6 inches from the goal line.

“I’ve been taught to stay calm and collected so that’s what I did,” said Mader, who had eight saves for her eighth shutout in the past nine games. “I knew there was no one near me.”

After Gorham’s initial flurry, Scarborough held a 13-3 advantage in shots on net. Neither team had a corner kick in the first half.

In the second, Scarborough held a 5-2 advantage in corners, the most dangerous resulting in Meader sliding a pass from right to left across the goal mouth and, eventually, past the left post without being touched.

“Each team didn’t get a lot of opportunities in front of the net,” said Zarrilli. “Their defense was really tough to penetrate for us. I thought we kept them away from our net for the most part, too. It was going to be whichever team broke through.”

The goal came after a sustained period of Gorham on the attack.

After a back-and-forth battle for the ball between midfielders, Scarborough’s Kaitlin Reynolds managed to chip a ball from about 35 yards toward the right post. The ball bounced once and Perkins, who finished with 11 saves, raced to intercept it. She arrived a moment before Meader, then came the collision that sent Perkins sprawling.

“I had the ball in my hands,” Perkins said. “When I have control of the ball, you’re really not supposed to do that, so, I mean, whatever. I think it should have been a call. I don’t think it should have been a goal.”

In the 48 seconds that remained, Gorham was unable to muster a shot.

“Those 50-50 balls, the kids are taught to challenge for them,” Farley said. “And challenging for it, sometimes you create a chance. Maybe it comes off the hands and falls down, and luckily it fell to us and we were able to put it home.”

Staff Writer Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at:

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