WINDHAM – Gorham’s Colin Harvey opened the scoring against Windham Tuesday evening, and went on to notch four more goals in his team’s 14-4 victory.

Gorham, ranked sixth in Class A West, improves to 5-7 on the season, while Windham, slotted ninth in Class A East, drops to 3-9. Tuesday’s game was the last regular season game for both teams – and the Eagles’ last until next year; they’ll miss the playoffs this time around. The Rams have secured a position in the playoffs, though they’re not sure who they’ll face yet.

“Just possession of the ball,” Gorham head coach Dan Soule said of the Rams’ keys to victory. “And making sure we were really doing a good job through our offense. All season, we’ve been having a hard time really getting the momentum going. I think the last three games we’ve been able to run our offense the way it should be run, and the kids are starting to understand that what we’re doing works. It’s just a matter of committing to it.”

The Rams built a substantial lead early, putting up six goals in the first quarter to the Eagles’ one. Of those six, Harvey, Frank Pappalardo, Caleb Dolloff and Anthony Coppola had one a piece, and Mike Susi had two. Harvey and Susi would each score again in the second quarter, giving the Rams eight going into the half. But the Eagles wouldn’t be shut out, and put up three of their own in the first 24 minutes. Griffin Jacobson had the first goal, and Christian Zwirner the other two.

“Gorham came out just fast,” Windham head coach Peter Small said. “They did a couple of things. They were very quick on the transition – from when we would take shots to get down to the other end, they rode really high and got open on that, and I think that speed was to their advantage. I think the first series, we moved the ball really well offensively, when we had it down there; I think what we struggled with was pressing it down the field.”

The Rams dominated the second half as well, though their offensive output was slow to start.

“We knew that, in the first half, defensively, we weren’t in position,” Small said. “They were getting half a step on us. And they have very good shooters, getting high, taking those high shots around us, and they took advantage of that. And, you know, we were out of position. I think when we came out in the second half, we knew it, we had to honor that, we had to make sure we were in position.”

Ultiamtely, however, Harvey scored three more times, raising his game total to five. Susi scored again – his fourth – and Dolloff and Coppola both scored once more, giving each of them two. Coppola’s came from a deep angle – as he began a cut towards the front of the net, he jumped and shot the ball past Windham goalkeeper Frank Taylor.

Despite the defeat, Taylor’s play continues to garner high praise from his coach.

“His game was off, versus where he is.” Small said of Taylor, who “didn’t want to not be here” although he has been sick. “He’s looking to be able to play a little bit beyond here, so he’s weighing some options, which, for a kid who, come March, had never picked up a lacrosse stick, that’s pretty darn good. It’s lifted him up academically…it’s been a great success story for him.”

Small thinks Taylor’s passion to improve quickly has bled over into the rest of the team as well. “He was just thirsty to get better and better and better.”

Soule had strictly positive things to say of his goalie as well.

“Matt Petty is a rock; he’s our MVP, no question about it,” Soule said. “When we have him in cage and he’s on, he makes us look good – when we break down on defense, and also in the transition game, he’s able to move well with the ball.”

The win leaves the Rams ready for the playoffs.

“[It’s] great for the program,” Soule said. “I got here two years ago, trying to build a program, trying to get some commitment to excellence, and really trying to get a winning attitude. And the kids understand that now, that what we’re doing is trying to get to the playoffs; we’ve done what we wanted to do in the regular season, now it’s time to get on our game and really push ourselves to do better than we have in the last 12 games.”

Gorham’s Mike Susi looks for an open man. Susi had four goals in the Rams’ victory over Windham.
Gorham’s Matt Esposito watches the play unfold.
Clayton Owens of Windham dashes away from the Rams’ Tristen Brunet.
Gorham’s Frank Pappalardo skirts a Windham defender.
Windham’s Zack Callahan flies upfield against Gorham Tuesday evening.
Attacker Zack Callahan of Windham jumps with the ball between two Gorham Rams Tuesday evening.

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