GORHAM—After their visitors, the Falcons, posted a huge first half on Friday afternoon, May 18, the Rams could’ve cashed it in, called it a day. Instead, they responded with their own huge half, the second half: Bridget Rossingol hashed four for the Rams in the downhill stretch, leading a comeback effort that almost succeeded. 

Almost, but not quite: Chalk this one in Freeport’s win column, 10-8.

“Inconsistency has been the name of our game this year,” said Gorham head coach Mary Guimond. “So we never really know what we’re going to get. We felt pretty good about what we’ve accomplished at practice, the last couple days, but definitely they got us back on our heels.”

The Falcons soared onto the field in a fury: Jessie Driscoll kicked off the scoring barely more than minute and a half in, grabbing a ground ball inside, turning and firing past Rams keeper Paige Hume. Teammate Margaret Perrotta echoed Driscoll just 30 seconds later, grabbing an inward pass before whirling to face Hume, and beating her.

“We needed to,” Freeport head coach Marcia Wood said, asked about her girls’ starting hot. “That’s been our talk, because when we played Greely on Wednesday, they came up to a quick, 5-1 lead, and we were just like, ‘Holy cow.’ We played with them in the second half, but we were so in a hole that we just couldn’t do anything. So, this game, it was like, ‘We need to start out better; we need to know earlier that we can play with these teams.’ It was working; everything was clicking.”

“We’ve implemented a new defense,” Guimond said, “and I think we started doubting our defense. So, had to make some adjustments, didn’t make adjustments fast enough. They just kept going, and we couldn’t quite come out of our hole that we dug for ourselves.”

Freeport controlled the vast majority of the first-half action; the team looked sharp on both offense and defense, and their goaltender, Cameron Pasquale, was a tyrant between the pipes, seemingly denying at her whim whatever shots Gorham managed to fling her way.

Wood applauded Pasquale. “Yeah. At the end of the Greely game, she had some saves that were just super important. And I know the poor thing is just beat up. But she does not act like it. She won’t complain. She’s a frickin’ trooper.”

Taylor Rinaldi struck next for the Falcons, with 22:07 still on the clock. That 22:07 loomed long over the Rams, down 3-0 already, and Guimond called timeout.

When the sides returned to the field, Gorham jumped on the attack. Freeporter Taylor Dostie wasted no time interrupting the Rams’ foray, though: Dostie & Co. took over and play shifted once again into Gorham territory.

Freeport’s defense proved a point of pride for Wood. “We’ve been working on defense forever. Just working on that crash, working on not letting them in.”

“Their defense was great,” Guimond said. “They beat us to just about every 50/50 ball, through the whole first half; that was what created their success – that was what drove that. They were able to convert, make good things happen.”

Falcon Emma Carter tallied at 16:25 for 4-0. Shortly thereafter, Gorham scrambled for a long time on offense, attempting to set themselves up: The Rams tried like hell to establish a perimeter they could move the ball around, but Freeport harassed them mercilessly and ultimately forced a turnover.  Freeporter Chloe Davidson then added two more and assisted Paige Rinaldi on a third, 7-0. 

Wood was overjoyed with the sheer number of Falcons who put up points. “Very very very very happy with that,” she said. “They spread it around; we have a ton of scorers. Just being able to spread it around and not rely on one or two people, it’s awesome. And then, Jessie Driscoll scored the first goal of the game, and she’s coming up on defense. It makes it hard for a team to marks us out, if they have to.”

Finally, the Rams broke onto the scoreboard, Carson Battaglia driving determinedly in from the left side to beat Pasquale.

Realizing they could actually score apparently energized Gorham at halftime; likewise, believing they couldn’t lose apparently sent Freeport to their corner feeling overconfident – because when play resumed, the teams reversed roles. The Rams came out on fire, Rossingol notching her first at 22:47 and her second at 19:36. Teammate Kacie Walton then thwarted a Falcons attack, eventually leading to Rossignol’s third, at 15:05.

“I think in part, I think they did – I mean, obviously; how do you not?” Wood said, asked if her girls felt a little too sure of themselves after dominating for 25 minutes. “Gorham picked up their game, they picked up their defense, and they held us from scoring for a while. I think it was a matter of them stepping it up and us having to adjust, and just battle. We’re lucky we got those goals in the beginning, because it would’ve been 1-0.”

“Bridget Rossingnol started our scoring in the second half,” Guimond said, asked which of her girls played a standout game. “You can tell girls all the time there’s no goal deficit too tough to come back from, but until they started seeing our girls scoring, it was hard to believe that. And then our defense, coming together at the back, Kayla Stickney and Hallie Shiers, Peyton Morton and Kacie Walton, played amazing team defense. And our middies – we had freshman middies, Katie Kutzer and Gracie Forgues, who were super-consistent and played the majority of the game and never looked tired.”

Freeport soon got one back, capitalizing on a man-up situation and a Gorham shooting space violation. Dostie did the honors. Rossingol retorted swiftly, though, needing just 23 seconds to do so.

The next several goals unfolded as a tit-for-tat: Perrotta scored for the Falcons, Jillian Nichols for the Rams; Davidson for the Falcons, Hallie Shiers for the Rams. With just about a minute remaining, Haley Keefe added another for the Rams, 10-8.

“That’s what we’ve been waiting for,” Guimond said. “We’ve been waiting for things to start coming together, because we’ve seen bits and pieces of it. The second half was more the game we expected…We had some great looks to goal, and finally drawing those shooting space calls that we felt got called against us so many times. Getting those eight-meter shots were good for us today.” 

A lot can happen in a lacrosse minute: For those last 60 seconds, the game was hardly in Freeport’s bag, and Gorham was hardly without hope.

In the end, of course, the Falcons managed to hold on, and picked up their fifth win of the season. The team, currently ranked fourth in Class C, has three losses to their name as well. 

Gorham slipped on the defeat to 3-5. The Rams are also ranked fourth, but in Class A.

The Falcons next bout is at home vs. Waynflete on Wednesday the 23rd. The Rams welcomed Scarborough on Monday the 21st.

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

Ram Carson Battaglia fires inward.

Katie Kutzer approaches on the attack for the Rams.

Freshman Gracie Forgues saw a good deal of field time for the Rams.

Haley Keeffe wheels away from a Freeport opponent.

Kacie Walton played superb defense for the Rams on Friday.

Peyton Morton drives forward on the attack for Gorham.

Gorhamite Sarah Walker clashes with a Freeporter.

Bridget Rossingol sparked the Gorham offense in the second half.

Jillian Nichols faces off with a Freeport opponent.

Hailey Morrill races a Freeport opponent upfield.

Gorhamite Molly Barr cuts through the action. 

Faith Dillon carries for Gorham.

Paige Hume guards the Gorham net.