SACO — Tori Daigle said she didn’t like the attention of being the focus of a pregame video interview.

Then the speedy Thornton Academy senior forward with a devastating right-footed cross went out and showed why she is a key feature of a girls’ soccer team ready to challenge for the Class A Western title.

Daigle’s cross in the first 20 seconds of the game worked its way all the way to the far post for an easy tap-in goal by Haley DaGraca and the Golden Trojans (2-0) were on their way to five goals in fewer than 10 minutes in Wednesday’s 6-1 win over South Portland (0-2).

At the half, Thornton led 6-0 and Daigle had three goals and assisted on one by Cassidy Cochrane.

“Usually I have a defender on near me so I can’t take it all the way into the goal so I try to cross it because Haley and Cassidy are going to be there,” Daigle said. “A nice cross on the ground usually works.”

Cochrane did her part with two goals and two assists. It was her second game as both a varsity starter and playing as the center striker. The junior, who played junior varsity a year ago, said she is more comfortable as a defender.

In the preseason, Thornton Coach Chris Kohl saw Cochrane had the ability to play with her back to the goal and anticipate scoring opportunities.

“We put her up there in the preseason and she did some great things and controlled the position,” Kohl said.

Kohl said Cochrane’s defensive background helps her see plays and angles developing.

For her part, Cochrane knows her job is to be a target for Thornton’s array of playmakers led by senior midfielder Katherine Gillespie.

“All of my players are just great players,” Cochrane said. “When they go out wide I know I need to be ready to be there to receive a cross, or to get it back out to them.”

After the initial outburst – and an unfortunate break in the action when South Portland defender Meagan Johnson suffered an ankle injury – South Portland settled down and competed better.

While Thornton continued to control possession and rack up shots on goal against Emma Russell (15 saves), the Red Riots were closer to the action, causing more shots to miss the net and stepping in front of crossing passes.

“For the first 10 minutes we watched (Thornton) play soccer,” first-year South Portland Coach Jeff Selser said. “Then we decided to play soccer ourselves and for 70 minutes we held them to one goal. I know on the scoreboard you can’t take away the first 10 minutes but for the progression of this team I was happy with the 70 minutes I saw.”

Daigle, at this point switched to the left wing, made it 6-0 with five minutes remaining in the first half when she ran down an excellent through ball from midfield by Gillespie and beat Russell with a hard, low shot.

“We have the ability to possess and attack,” Gillespie said. “We wanted to come out and finish it in the first 10 to 20 minutes so we could relax a little and we executed that well.”

South Portland freshman Juliana Selser scored on a similar play in the 66th minute, deftly depositing her breakaway bid past charging keeper Lexi Nason.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig

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