WESTBROOK—Windhamites Meghan Hoffses and Jordan Lloyd tallied two apiece when the Eagles dropped in to visit the Blue Blazes on Saturday morning, Oct. 14, spearheading an 8-1 win for their girls. 

“At this point in the season, we’ve come together, we’ve gelled. We know where players are going to be,” said Windham head coach Deb Lebel. “We’re still working on [playing quicker]. We’re struggling with getting that ball on frame. That’s what I’d like to clean up.”

“We just didn’t defend very well, and get underneath the ball,” said Westbrook head coach Andy Lefebvre. “We were always chasing. So we didn’t do a good job of keeping the game in front of us. Inside our defensive third, we didn’t clear very well. We let balls bounce around –y ou do that, and let the other team tee off on your keeper from inside the six, you’re in trouble.”

It took the Eagles a few minutes – nearly 29, to be a bit more precise – to break onto the scoreboard, but once they did, they never relented. Hoffses posted the team’s first of the day, tapping home a ball that’d snuck just behind Westbrook keeper Michaela Russell. Five minutes later, Julia McKenna earned the Eagles another, heading home a pingponger ball for 2-0. Windham went up 3-0 with 22 seconds to play before the break when Lloyd added her first of the morning.

“We were working on things,” Lebel said of her girls’ slow start. “It was a good day to give everybody lots of time and really focus on certain skills.”

Lebel also applauded some of the opposition’s stronger play. “Westbrook went to the ball pretty well; they’ve got some big, strong girls that can finish, and we can’t make mistakes…And I bet [Russell] has kept them in a lot of games this season.”

Lefebvre returned the praise. “[Windham’s] good; they showed their quality at the end, held the ball and kept the ball and just knocked it around. They deserved to win.”

“Once we cleared pressure and were into the other end, we could get pressure back at them,” Lefebvre said. “We were able to find the split, to split the defender on the weak side, and could create a little bit of pressure the other way. So we had the right intention; it was just the quality of executing it to get it there. We were able to get the ball to our central-mid players, and they were able to split wide. And we were able to get wings running with the ball, but our final quality let down a little bit.”

Hoffses powered past a diving Russell at 33:45 of the downhill half for her second of the day. Two minutes later, Alanna Joyce contributed one, dashing up the left side of the field and firing an off-angler roller between Russell and the near post. Hannah Kaplan redirected home the 6-0 ball at 17:36, Lloyd added the 7-0 ball on a rebound at 10:06, and Riley Beem finished the 8-0 ball following a Belle Skvorak cross shortly thereafter.

“I always go back to our defense,” Lebel said, asked who anchored her girls’ performance. “They don’t get a lot of credit. Sara Barrett, back on d; Belle Skvorak. They’re sort of our core back, and they’re helping guide all these younger players. It’s nice to see.”

The news for Westbrook wasn’t entirely bad, though, as sophomore Angelica Johns turned in perhaps the game’s single prettiest goal, a pinpoint direct kick late in the action that sailed just over the Windham wall and just past the outstretched fingers of the Eagles’ backup keeper to find the top-left corner of the net. Lefebvre applauded the play, and Johns in general:

“That’s her second goal, I think, off of a free kick,” Lefebvre said. “She takes our free kicks inside of 30 yards because she can put them on frame, and she can place them…Angelica, she can hit a ball for sure. She’s smart, and has worked on hitting that shot.”

Lefebvre also had kind words for Russell and others. “KK did well. The score lines don’t show how well she’s done this year; she makes saves that a lot of people don’t make, and they’re not really even considered saves because she’s come out and be aggressive and take it off someone’s foot, which isn’t even a shot yet, but she gets there and wins the ball. She handles the ball a lot, and she does a great job with it, considering it’s really her first year being a goalie.”

“Hope Higgins played well in the middle,” Lefebvre said. “It’s kind of a new role for her. We’ve just gotten her into defensive mid the last couple games…Carolyn DiBiase, up top, I thought played really well, and is going to be a threat; she’s young, so she’s still figuring out the pace of the game. There are times when she almost broke through, and almost broke through, and is one touch away.

Windham, now 7-4-2, currently ranks seventh A South, a spread of teams notable for its parity. The Eagles close their regular schedule with a home bout vs. No. 1 Scarborough (12-0-1) on Tuesday the 17th.

Westbrook slips to 2-11, which record places them at 17th and well outside the playoffs bracketing. In what’s likely to be their final bout of the year, the Blazes host No. 12 Thornton (5-8) on Tuesday.

Adam Birt can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @CurrentSportsME.

Windhamite Riley Beem pushes upfield at Westbrook on Saturday.

Rylee Pepin bangs a ball inward from the sideline for Windham visiting Westbrook.

Eagle Erin Elder collides with Westbrook keeper KK Russell.

Westbrook keeper KK Russell pounces on an incoming Windham attacker.

Westbrooker Allison Petry steps up to challenge a Windham opponent.

Blaze Delilah Graffam settles a ball in the midfield.

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