Delaney Derrig notched a pair of goals and a pair of assists Friday afternoon, Sept. 18, leading the Blazes to a 4-2 win over visiting South Portland. Derrig began the scoring for Westbrook in the first half and closed it in the second, in between feeding teammates Danielle Breunig and Abby St. Clair to push the Blazes to a substantial lead.

“This is a new group,” said Westbrook head coach Beth Murphy, “but a talented group, and they’re working together as a team. Seniors are really connecting, they’re finally getting it.

“First couple games of the season, two overtime games. These kids are finally in scoring, and scoring’s a big piece. If you can’t score, you’re not going to win, and these guys are finally finding the net, which is nice.”

In contrast, South Portland has faced some early-season offensive struggles. “I still, 100 percent believe I have a good team,” said head coach Leslie Dyer. “I’ve been saying it since the beginning. But for some reason, when we’re out there on the field, we’re just not connecting [passes] yet. Positioning.

“We haven’t quite figured out why yet, but we’re working toward it.”

Derrig’s first goal came just two and half minutes into the game, unassisted. Three minutes later, she fed Breunig for her contribution, and six minutes after that, St. Clair for hers. Midway through the second half, St. Clair returned the favor and Derrig notched the team’s fourth point.

“Delaney’s pretty tough in the middle, Derrig, she’s a scrapper, she’ll go after everything that’s out there,” said Murphy. “But the big thing is, they’re working together as a team and it’s working out pretty well.”

Both teams swapped strategies in the second half, changes that appear to have favored South Portland. The Riots held Westbrook to just one goal in that stretch, while adding two of their own for the 4-2 final.

“I did a few things different in the second half. I think that kind of messed ’em up a little,” Murphy said of her girls. “I went with a different formation, defensively. I probably should’ve kept it the old way.

“I figured I’d try it. You’ve got to try things. I want these kids to see different types of formations that you can try.”

Both of South Portland’s goals came inside the final 60 seconds, a development that Dyer struggled to explain, in part because she was half-focused on an ailing player, in part because she was at the far end of the field without a good eye on the scrambling action, and in part because her girls have stymied her on and off this season, sometimes playing as a cohesive unit and other times not.

“I’m hoping they found their spark,” Dyer said of her team’s productive last minute, when Sophia Cummings scored on a feed from Bonge Lako and Lako scored on a feed from Cummings.

“The thing is, the girls want it, and they want to play and they want to do better,” Dyer said. “We haven’t played a full game yet; we’ve had moments here and there, moments of shining. They just stepped up and decided to play for the last three minutes, and they got two goals. Now we just need to turn that into 60 [minutes].”

Murphy had praise for Tianna Moore, saying she “played a good defensive effort, with one of their offensive players who I know is a big scorer,” as well as Alisha Aube. “Lish controlled the middle of the field really well.”

Lastly, Murphy nodded to St. Clair: “Abby, the little wing, she takes pretty good control of the ball. Her and Delaney really work together – they’re seniors, they know where it’s at. Absolute chemistry, they know where each other is, out on that field.”

Westbrook vaulted to 4-2 on the win. The Blazes opened the season with a pair of narrow losses, 2-1 to Cheverus (6-0) and 1-0 to Deering (2-4). Since then, they’ve won four straight. They traveled to TA on Monday, Sept. 21, after Current Publishing’s print deadlines, and will host Sanford on Thursday the 24th.

South Portland stumbled to 1-5 on the loss. The Riots kicked off their season with a hard-fought victory, 1-0, over Gorham (2-4), but ran into the aforementioned scoring difficulties after that. They’ve been struggling to escape a slump ever since. They hosted Windham (0-5) on Tuesday the 22nd, and will visit Biddeford (2-3) on Thursday.

Westbrook’s Alisha Aube and South Portland’s Maddie Hasson lock horns near midfield.Westbrook’s Delaney Derrig had two goals for her team – and assisted on their other two – when they trumped visiting South Portland on Thursday.South Portland’s Jessica Angelova crowds Westbrooker Alex Phillips on Thursday.Westbrooker Camryn LaPierre tries to skirt the Riots’ Maddie Hasson.South Portland’s Ciera Mullen cuts around and through Westbrook coverage.The Riots’ Abby Darling flicks the ball forward on the attack at Westbrook on Thursday.


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