WINDHAM—Bonny Eagle turned in a surprise triumph when they traveled to Windham on Saturday morning, Oct. 5: The 1-7-1 Scots got goals from Hannah Milne and Sage Drinkwater – Drinkwater had two – as they held on to defeat the 6-4 Eagles by a tally of 3-2.

“Going into this game, we are down significantly on numbers,” BE head coach Amethyst Poirier said. “Injuries and concussions, and some of our starters weren’t here for this game. So I kind of, myself, was like, ‘Okay, how’s this going to go?’

“You know, the record of the season isn’t so great,” Poirier said, “but I had people who stepped up who aren’t normally key players for us today. That’s what made the difference.”

Chiara Root works along the sideline. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Poirier named names: “Allie Hegarty, sophomore, who had to fill in a starter’s position, had a fantastic game on defense – made same really strong, big clears for us. She had a breakout game today, so she helped us bigtime.

“Offensively, we were coming off an injury for our start offensive player, Riley Heacock, so she really stepped it up today.”

Windham head coach Cory DiDonato applauded the Scots’ efforts. “They got to the ball first,” DiDonato said. “They beat us to the ball, and they wanted it more…If you ask our players, we’re all going to say we wanted to win. But Bonny Eagle actually, physically showed that they wanted it.”

Windham controlled the ball for much of the game, and they applied pressure often enough; they just failed to convert when opportunities arose. BE grabbed two goals to the Eagles’ one through the uphill 30 minutes: Windhamite Whitney Wilson struck first, just over 12 and half minutes in, but Milne responded six minutes later (assisted by Olivia Napolitano), and Drinkwater made it 2-1 roughly eight minutes after that (assisted by Chiara Root).

“We dominated the first half in terms of possession – like, on our end of the field,” DiDonato said. “And we had some shots. But we’re not the same team that played the first seven games of the season. We’re going through a little bit of a rough patch. Everyone has a slump, and this is ours, right now.”

“The first goal, Sage sent it in on a cross and Hannah batted it in,” Poirier said. “A totally unorthodox goal, but it went in and I was like, ‘Okay, we’re in this.’ Total garbage goal.”

Chloe Wilcox fires for the Eagles. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

“And their first goal was – no disrespect to them – a garbage goal too,” Poirier said. “Our goalie went to go clear it, had a clear angle on it, and totally whiffed the ball and it just trickled right in behind her. So first goals, for each team, were like, ‘Okay, that was rough.’”

Drinkwater’s initial strike followed a corner. Corners haven’t been the Scots’ strength so far this fall, but Saturday provided hope for improvement.

“Our corners – that has been our biggest downfall this season, is we’re awesome at drawing the corners, but we just can’t finish on them,” Poirier said. “Today we made that happen and we executed them.”

The Eagles likewise possessed more than the Scots through the second half. Windham began on the attack; BE eventually interrupted for a stab upfield, but the Eagles quickly took over again. Heacock came close to scoring in a clash with Windham netminder Molly McAllister roughly 10 minutes in, but McAllister prevailed. Shortly, the Eagles dug up a pair of corners, but couldn’t capitalize.

With 10 minutes to play, Drinkwater notched once again, assisted by Kailee Cummings. Desperate now, Windham close-called a ball at 9:17, then another around 8:00. Chloe McVetty inserted on an Eagles corner a minute later, but Wilcox’s follow-up shot deflected wide.

At 5:32, Windham’s redoubled efforts paid off: Callie Fielding assisted Hannah Downing on punching a shot into the BE cage at the right post. 3-2. The Eagles continued ramping up their attack as the clock wound down; however, the Scots’ defense stood stalwart. Among others, Bonny Eaglers Emma Burnham and Allie Hegarty both played critical roles in preventing Windham from tying the game.

3-2 the final.

Shayla Harriman curls toward an airborne ball. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

DiDonato applauded her girls’ late-game strivings, but lamented their inconsistency. “Once Hannah scored with a couple minutes left – that last four minutes of the game, if they had played that way the whole time, we would have…killed them,” she said.

“Emma Burnham,” Poirier said, asked who she wanted to highlight beyond Hegarty and Heacock. “She’s our, kind of, conductor of the field. Takes a lot of the hits, kind of controls the speed of the game, the intensity of the game. She’s a sophomore, which excites me, because she has so much more potential. How she plays is usually indicative of what the outcome is for us. She’s a leader.”

The triumph bumped BE to 2-7-1. Windham slid to 6-5.

“We’ve been down, the last couple weeks,” Poirier said. “They’re still having fun; we had a team bonding activity the other night, and they were like, ‘Coach, our record is terrible – but we’re still having fun!’ And at the end of the day, that’s all I can ask. We set three expectations for the season: first, to be the hardest-working team on the field; the most respectful towards the other team and officials; and to have fun. Today, I feel like they encompassed all three of those things.”

DiDonato elaborated on her girls’ recent troubles. “Our shots are going wide. There was a few there that were right on the line, and it was like, ‘Bad luck is going to help this dry patch.’ But I do think we can use this as a good thing in terms of, the majority of the girls are super-disappointed that this is how the game went.”

“Our passes weren’t super-strong today,” DiDonato said. “I don’t know why…Defensively, when we’re trying to get it out, and we’ll try to get it out, and we’ll get it up to midfield, and no one’s here to receive it – we’re not running back to get it – so then it just ends up back in our end. It’s the transfer between defense, mid and forward; we’re not connecting right now.”

Emma Baker controls near midfield. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

“We were feeling so desperate to get it in that a lot of us were right in front of the goalie, and everyone else was back towards the 25,” DiDonato went on. “Which meant, if the goalie cleared it, there was no one at the top of the circle to feed it back down. That’s been a problem the past couple games. So we’re trying to remedy that by saying, ‘Two or three of you down here, some at the top, some at the 25. So there’s two lines they have to make it through.

“Because they were desperate to score; they wanted it. But you still have to play smart position to make that stuff happen. I’m hoping they use this as fuel….Our next three games are Kennebunk, Westbrook and Gorham. Not an easy road.”

Bonny Eagle hosts Thornton Academy on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Windham won 3-0 at Kennebunk on Monday; the Eagles visit Westbrook on Thursday the 10th.

Bonny Eagler Elise Ruona battles. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Kailee Cummings added an assist on the day. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Riley Heacock, fresh off an injury, turned in a superb outing for the Scots. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Lily Beaton cuts in midfield. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

Carissa O’Connell pushes upfield for the Eagles. Adam Birt / Lakes Region Weekly

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