WINDHAM — The Windham High girls’ soccer team again walked the playoff tight-rope Wednesday night. And as they did in their previous two games, the Eagles found their balance at the right time.

Top-seeded Windham got second-half goals from Shannon Valente and Jenna Soucy to rally past second-seeded Scarborough 2-1 for its second consecutive Western Class A championship.

Soucy scored the winner with 11:29 left.

“We have a lot of heart,” said Soucy. “Our team always finds a way to come back. I think we knew we weren’t playing our game in the first half and we just knew what we had to correct in the second half. It was like a whole new team out there.”

Soucy’s goal enabled the defending Class A state champion Eagles (16-0-1) to return to the title game Saturday against Edward Little (13-1-3) at Hampden Academy.

The Red Storm (14-2-1), who tied Windham 1-1 on Oct. 15, controlled the tempo in the first half, led by a stifling defense. Sam Sparda, in particular, seemed to be at or near every ball the Eagles had in the offensive end.

And Scarborough got the only goal of the first half, a brilliant play that started at midfield and ended with Katherine Kirk touching the ball into the net with 18:14 remaining.

“I was a little concerned,” said Windham Coach Deb Lebel.

While her Eagles had rallied from 2-0 deficits to win each of their previous two playoff games, something was different. For one, Scarborough’s defense was superior to any other the Eagles had seen. And, said Lebel, “Our energy was not where it had been in other games. But after about two minutes in, I felt much better.”

That’s because the Eagles took charge. Instead of trying to kick the ball over the Scarborough defense, they made crisp passes, kept the pressure on Scarborough keeper Molly LeComte and seldom let the Red Storm cross midfield.

“We had to start passing a little better if we were going to score,” said Lebel. “Give Scarborough’s defense credit, but we had to start playing as a team.”

And the pressure finally led to Valente’s tying goal with 22:58 remaining. Soucy began it with a free kick from near the right corner. The ball hit a defender and went right to Valente.

“I just touched it and shot,” said Valente. LeComte had no chance, the shot going into the far corner.

Windham kept up the pressure and was awarded a free kick with just under 12 minutes remaining.

Soucy called for the ball and got it in the middle of the field.

She dribbled through two defenders to about the 18, then nailed a low, hard kick to the left to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead with 11:29 to play.

“I couldn’t ask for anything more from my kids,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Farley. “The first half was as well as I’ve seen a team defend in my time at Scarborough. In the second half it wasn’t like we let down. They picked it up that little bit, got a little bit of daylight and put in those two goals.”

Valente said the Eagles weren’t ready for their season to end.

“Everybody dreams about the state championship senior year,” she said. “To get ourselves one step closer feels pretty great.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.