GORHAM — Ciera Berthiaume had tried to be patient, tried to look for teammates on previous forays.

But after watching Gorham control most of the first 35 scoreless minutes Wednesday night, Berthiaume said when she received a pretty vertical through ball from Maggie Symonds she knew it was time “to just let it fly.”

Berthiaume’s goal into the upper right corner stood up as the winner in Windham’s 1-0 Southern Class A victory.

Windham (11-1) was coming off a rare loss. The two-time defending state champs were beaten by Sanford 3-1 on Saturday – its first loss since the 2012 playoffs.

The Eagles had gone 44-0-2 since losing to Cape Elizabeth in the regional semifinal in 2012 – which ended a 15-1-1 season.

In other words, Saturday was just the second time Windham’s seniors had lost a high school soccer game.

“We definitely didn’t want that (Sanford) game to define us,” Berthiaume said. “Every team has its off days and unfortunately our game against Sanford was an off day, and we wanted to come back strong and focus.”

Gorham (10-3) had other ideas and controlled the vast majority of the action for the first 34 minutes.

Three minutes into the game a good crossing pass into the box from Elizabeth Sullivan was one-timed just wide of the goal protected by Windham keeper Sadie Nelson (1 save).

With both teams playing balls into the air, it was Gorham’s tandem of Narissa Libby and Emma Forgues winning most of the balls in the middle of the field.

Missing the target became a trend for Gorham, which had 10 shot attempts and five corner kicks in the first half but could get nothing on frame. Cady Houghton’s header of a Meghan Perrin corner kick that zipped about two feet over the crossbar was closest thing to a scoring opportunity.

“I think we took too long to shoot, we were taking too many touches,” Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli said.

Windham’s defense, including stay-at-home sweeper Sara Barrett, also played a role particularly well when it smothered two quick shot attempts by Courtney Cushing from about 4 yards.

“I feel like somebody was looking out for us tonight because Gorham definitely had the momentum in the first half,” Windham Coach Deb Lebel said. “We always say, too many corners and it’s going to be a goal, and that’s my biggest thing. And they were getting way too many corners tonight.”

About a minute before Berthiaume’s goal, Windham started to generate pressure, with Caitlyn Winn and Meghan Hoffses generating shots that tested Gorham keeper Emma Smith (6 saves).

The continual sequence led to Berthiaume’s goal and was fueled by the passing of Symonds and Holly Spencer.

“When we string passes together on the ground, that’s when we have success,” Lebel said.

Lebel said her team needed to get back to its winning ways if it hopes to win a third straight state title, especially with a regular-season finale at Scarborough looming.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Lebel said.

“That first half I was a little nervous but they dug deep and they got a win when we really needed it because if we had lost this, I really think it could have been a negative momentum going into the playoffs.”

 

This story was updated 10/15 at 2:35 p.m. to correct the spelling of Cady Houghton’s name.