Gray-New Gloucester’s Alexa Thayer, just a freshman, scored the game’s only goal when Freeport dropped by on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19, giving the Patriots their third shutout victory of homecoming weekend – the football and field hockey teams crushed their opponents as well.

“We play Freeport, they’re always close games; luckily, in the last couple years, we’ve come out on top,” said G-NG head coach Kiaran McCormack. “Today, we had that quality in front of goal when it counted. A lot of speed up top, and we were able to take one of our chances – although, I think we should’ve scored maybe a couple more. We’re happy to get that win.

“Alexa, she’s a forward; she’s left-footed, very fast, very dynamic on the ball,” McCormack said. “Very happy for her to get the goal – she deserved it, from her play. Excited to have her on the team going forward.”

“We started the game slower than we should have,” said Freeport head coach Elayna Girardin. “The last 10 minutes, we played a much better game, much more what we’ve been trying to do, where we settled down, starting passing the ball, started moving the ball and started pressuring higher.”

Thayer’s score came at 25:18 of the second half. The Patriots had already generated a couple solid chances, but failed to covert. One ball had even slipped past the Freeport keeper and into her net, but the officials called back the goal for offsides.

Thayer picked up a soaring goal kick by teammate Jen Sutherland to earn her shot and put G-NG on the board.

“Alexa has that never-die attitude,” said McCormack. “It was a long ball – I believe the assist went to our goalkeeper – and the ball bounced and she ran hard after it and was able to finish under pressure. That’s really what Alexa’s brought to us this year.”

Girardin described a bit of a defensive breakdown by her girls on Thayer’s approach. “One of our center-backs is out. So we have new center-backs, who’re learning the position. It’s experience and it’s learning.

“One kind of went, one kind of pulled up,” Girardin said of her center-backs’ reactions to the incoming ball. “If they both went, we might’ve got it – we might not have. If we both go, at least we have a better chance of getting it.”

“Once we fixed that, they started playing it much better. They’re a sophomore and a junior; they’ll just get better. We want to win, it’s high school, but at the same time, we’re still teaching.”

The Patriots, now eighth in B South, jump to 3-2 on the win. They travel to York (4-0-1) on Thursday, the 24th, to battle the No. 2 Wildcats.

“We have a young group,” said McCormack. “We had lot of seniors we graduated last year, so it’s a very new time. But very excited with what we bring to the table with regards to attacking options. We’ve got some good experience midfield, and then, our goalkeeper has come up big.”

“Lots of players have been stepping up. It’s been good.”

Freeport slips to 1-4 this season. The No. 14 Falcons host 11th-ranked Fryeburg on Tuesday the 22nd.

“The first half, we were caught up on our heels,” said Girardin. “And, you know, Gray plays a high-pressure game. That throws you off a bit.

“That’s what we’ve been trying to do. That’s what we did against Yarmouth, and that’s been our goal lately. When we play high-pressure, it forces us to be in the game. Sometimes we become onlookers, instead of players.”

(Oh, one last thing: the G-NG Middle School football team also shut out their opponents this weekend. So girls soccer was, really, the Patriots’ fourth big homecoming W.)

Gray-New Gloucester’s Laurel Thomas and Freeport’s Olivia Greuel clash over an incoming ball in the Patriots’ 1-0 win versus visiting Freeport on Saturday.Gray-New Gloucester’s Amber Smith unwinds into a low-angle shot at the Freeport net.Freeport’s Courtney Broderick tries to shoulder off Patriot Kaelyn Woods, who instead attempts to slide a foot in low for control.Gray-New Gloucester’s Emily Dawkins cuts away from incoming Freeport middie Maddie Squibb.The Falcons’ Sam Jordan eyes her kick as she charges upfield against Gray-New Gloucester on Saturday.

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