Thornton Academy’s Mia Taranko and Biddeford’s Maggie Dellaire battle for the ball in the first half of Wednesday’s game. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

Thornton Academy’s Mia Taranko and Biddeford’s Maggie Dellaire battle for the ball in the first half of Wednesday’s game. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

SACO — Despite trailing 1-0 early, the Thornton Academy girls soccer team grinded out a 2-1 win over visiting rival Biddeford on Wednesday night at Hill Stadium.

Biddeford came out aggressive in the opening minutes, and would quickly jump ahead just under 10 minutes into play when senior Alaina Keely knocked in a goal from the right side to give the Tigers the 1-0 lead.

Biddeford maintained control for much of the first half and held off the Trojan offense. However, the turning point of the game came when TA’s Kylie Bedard scored with just 1:12 remaining in the first half to tie the score at 1-1 at the break.

“We were in panic mode when Biddeford got their first goal. Credit to them, they took it to us, they were high pressure and got a nice goal. Getting that goal at the end of the first half relaxed our players, let them play their game. It was a huge goal for us,” said TA coach Natalie Sharland.

TA would get the go-ahead goal just 7:11 into the second half, when Alyanna Beaudoin knocked in a header off a corner kick from Elizabeth Bell, making it 2-1.

The Trojans did not relent, and continued to pressure the Biddeford defense. As the shots racked up, the Tiger defense held strong and kept the score in check.

“That’s how we’ve been playing all year — it starts with defense, it starts with discipline, the girls know what they’re doing,” said Biddeford coach Darren Boynton. “The girls have come a long way from not winning a game last year to winning a couple and being competitive. They know what to do, but unfortunately sometimes our mistakes cost us goals.”

Although the Tigers were not able to hold on to the lead, Boynton was proud of his team’s overall effort on Wednesday.

“We haven’t played with the lead a lot and it was the first time in school history that we’ve led Thornton Academy at any point so I was proud of the girls. They’re used to playing hard all the time so I don’t think it was anything different, that’s just the way they play,” said Boynton.

TA improves to 5-7 on the year and jumps to No. 11 in the Class A South. After a shaky start to the season, the Trojans have won four straight, and climbed their way into playoff position.

“We need to win to get into the playoffs. The girls are stepping up and doing what they need to do. It most certainly is not always pretty but sometimes you just have to grind it out and that’s what the girls are doing,” said Sharland. “We’ll have to elevate our play if we want to beat Falmouth and make the playoffs.”

TA closes out the regular season against No. 12 Falmouth and No. 13 Portland. Sharland believes that her team will have to continue to improve to make some noise down the stretch.

“It’s going to take a team effort — the players are going to have to play with some serious heart and play for a full 80 minutes,” said Sharland. “We have to put two halves together — I don’t think we’ve played a complete game yet. If we’re going to keep this going we’re going to have to play the full 80.”

 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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