Associate Sports Editor

SACO — Heading into Friday’s match against visiting Kennebunk, many would consider the Thornton Academy girls soccer team to be the underdog.

The Trojans were off to a 1-7 start this fall, while the surging Rams where 6-2-1 and were in the mix for the Class A South’s top spot.

The Trojans didn’t feel like the underdog on Friday, and it showed as they shutout the Rams 3-0 in one of the conference’s biggest upsets of the season.

“I don’t think so, I don’t think our team felt like the underdog,” said TA coach Natalie Sharland. “We had a tough start to our season but the girls know that we are a good team and that we are progressing. We’re improving, we felt confident coming into this game for sure.”

The Rams pushed the pace early, and racked up shots often. However, the Trojans defense, as well as goalie Dana Sirois, held up strong and weathered the storm. 

Although Kennebunk got off to the better start, TA would jump ahead with a direct kick goal by Alyanna Beaudoin with 6:25 left in the half to give the Trojans the 1-0 lead at the break.

“Scoring first, which we have really struggled in doing this season, scoring first was really big for us,” said Sharland. “Giving us that little bit of confidence that we need.”

The confidence led the Trojans to come out much more aggressive in the second half, as they took control early in the period. They would get some breathing room 11 minutes in, when Kylie Bedard scored, assisted by Shannon Roche, to extend the lead to 2-0.

Hannah Niles would put the game away with just over 10 minutes left, when she took a breakaway pass from Beaudoin and buried the goal to secure the 3-0 win.

Kennebunk’s Adia Grogan made eight stops for the Rams.

Sharland was happy with her team’s all-around performance, and feels that the Trojans are on their way to a strong finish.

“Our defense is an aspect of our game that has very much improved. Dana Sirois made some really big saves, from our keeper all the way up to our forward to everyone on the bench, it was a team effort today. They got it done,” said Sharland.

Sirois was a rock in the net for TA, as she finished the day with a whopping 21 stops, many coming in big moments.

“Every challenge she was just so steady. She was steady throughout the entire game, consistent, didn’t get too high didn’t get too low. She was confident in herself today, which is maybe something she has been lacking. But this was her best game of the season,” said Sharland.

Although the Trojans will have to pull themselves out of a hole, Sharland hopes that the TA will catch fire down the stretch and qualify for the playoffs.

“Going forward this is huge, hopefully the beginning of a run,” said Sharland. “It’s not going to be easy, and we’re just going to take each game at a time, stick together and see what happens.”

— Associate Sports Editor Alex Sponseller can be reached at [email protected] or at 282-1535 ext. 323. Follow the Journal Tribune Sports Department on Twitter @JournalTsports.

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