STANDISH—Scarborough’s Molly Murnane logged the only goal in a 1-0 win at Bonny Eagle on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15. The Scots – and especially their defense, including keeper Sydney Gillingham – held their own against their venerable visitors, but couldn’t pull out a W.

“Obviously we expect to win, when we show up, but today was really a good measuring stick for us to see where we are,” said Bonny Eagle head coach Scott Nason. “We came in with the same record, we know what their history is – how good a program they are – and the girls needed to see that, and play against somebody like that.”

“We competed well,” Nason said. “Scarborough scored a great goal – I have no issues giving up goals when they’re like that. Defensively I thought we did a great job. They had a lot of opportunities, but my goalkeeper played really well; my center backs, Randi Lee (Robinson) and Keelin (Sweeney) were really strong for us. We knew what we were coming in against, and did okay with it.”

The teams opened the game rolling back and forth; Scarborough held an attacking edge, and landed a shot or two on Gillingham – but without scoring. Scarborough drove the action into the Scots’ end around 25:00 and corralled it there, pressuring till roughly 22:30 – when Bonny Eagle began to push back.

The Scots, though, couldn’t shunt play all the way into the Storm’s zone. Instead, they found themselves tied up at midfield and eventually folding backwards into their end once more; the Storm settled in for another stretch on offense.

“Scarborough did a really nice job,” Nason said, “at the center of the field, which – at the beginning of the game – I thought maybe, maybe, if there was any place we might have any advantage, we could be a little bit better at the center of the field. But it didn’t turn out that way today.”

Scarborough’s midfield pressure often forced less-than-stellar passing choices from the Lady Scots in that area. “That’s a continuation of some bad habits we’ve developed,” Nason said. “It started Wednesday night, not putting the ball at our teammates’ feet, and not completing our passes. Sometimes it’s due to what the opposing team’s doing to us, sometimes it’s just us being a little panicked. That’s growth and maturity that needs to happen.”

The squads traded corner kicks in the middle minutes of the first half, but neither side launched a quality ball inward, and the opportunities withered on the vine. Later, Scarborough seized control once again, but Bonny Eagle’s defense – including Gillingham – held their own. Around 6:20, for instance, Gillingham dove after an incoming shot, voraciously snatching it up.

“Scarborough does such a good job of applying pressure on the ball,” Nason said. “And not allowing you to go where you want to go and taking your options away. We talked a little bit more about that at halftime, got a little more direct in the second half, because they weren’t allowing us to play out like we wanted to. Unfortunately, it took a goal to get us motivated to play the way we wanted to.”

Early in the second half, the Storm made landfall: Murnane belted a ball past Gillingham from the right side for 1-0. Mere seconds later, Murnane threatened a repeat performance from the opposite side. Gillingham prove up to that challenge, but Scarborough had nevertheless earned an upper-hand – one from which Bonny Eagle wouldn’t recover.

“Once they scored that goal,” Nason said, “we did well, got into the attack, got some opportunities – I just would’ve liked to have a few more. [We were] supporting the player with the ball a little bit better; in the first half, we didn’t do a whole lot to give the player on the ball any support. So that played right into what Scarborough wanted. They took away our options and we didn’t do anything to fix that at first.”

“In the second half,” Nason said, “our center backs dropped a bit deeper for our outside backs to play back to a little bit, and that gave us a little bit more option to play a little bit more direct.”

The Scots did churn up some chances as the clock slowly burned up. Not long after Murnane scored, for example, Kassidy Koons took a direct kick for the Scots, a blast from roughly 40 yards out, dead center. Alas: The ball sailed just a foot, maybe 18 inches, high of the Scarborough crossbar. A few minutes after that, BE turned in a hungry effort on an indirect kick from low-right in the Storm zone – an effort that resulted in another powerful shot, this one from the top-left side, missing just high.

The Storm generated a couple near-misses in the waning minutes, including a crossbar clanger by Josephine Patten with three minutes remaining and a redirect by Ashley Sabatino that missed just wide right of the net with one minute remaining. So BE stood strong, but they needed to do more than stand strong – they needed to score, and they couldn’t. 1-0 the final.

It’s Bonny Eagle’s first loss of the autumn; at 4-1, they currently rank third in A South, behind Gorham (6-0) in first and the Storm (5-0) in second. Cheverus (5-1) sits in fourth. Thus far, the Scots have upended Noble 1-0, Windham 4-1, Deering 3-0, and Biddeford 6-1. They take on Sanford at Sanford on Wednesday, Sept. 19, then Falmouth at Falmouth on Monday the 24th.

“They’re starting to believe in themselves,” Nason said, “but we’ve still got some work to do in that area. And I think it took them a little while to realize, ‘Hey, they’ve got 11 players out there, we’ve got 11 players out there – we’re competing against them. Hopefully, going forward, we develop a little more belief, because we’ve got plenty of tough games left.”

“I never want to look back at a season and hang my hat on losses, so we take it, we build from it and try to get better,” Nason said, “so if we ever do have to play Scarborough again, we’ll hopefully be a little better…I’m as happy as you can be with a 1-0 loss.”

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

Bonny Eagler Keelin Sweeney chases control.

Gretchen Biegel tracks an airborne ball for BE.

The Red Storm’s Madison Blanche and Bonny Eagle’s Hailey Koons race one another upfield.

Bonny Eagler Madison Johnson and Scarboroughite Sophia Martens go shoulder-to-shoulder.

Emily Ginter clashes with a Red Storm nemesis.

Scot Avery Goan battles a Storm opponent for an airball.

Laura Libby fires forward for the Scots.

BE netminder Sydney Gillingham turned in a number of fantastic saves vs. Scarborough – despite her team’s ultimate loss.

Additional photos can be found here: 

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