Gorhamites Sydney Connolly (8) and Molly Rathbun (11) celebrate Connolly’s goal. Adam Birt / American Journal

GORHAM—Ram Molly Rathbun proved the day’s star – Rathbun put up two of the Rams’ three goals – when Windham came to town on Saturday morning, Oct. 12. Sydney Connolly tallied Gorham’s other point as the team stampeded to victory 3-0 vs. the Eagles.

“We were able to keep the passing as part of the game and keep possession of the ball,” Gorham head coach Becky Manson said. “That’s really what we’ve been working on, day-in and day-out, when we’ve had practices. We’ve had a three-game week.”

“Windham is a very good team,” Rathbun said. “They have a lot of really hard hits down in. We had to figure out what they were doing; at first, they were getting through.”

“Honestly, we played really well,” Windham head coach Cory DiDonato said. “We had a couple spots where we were kind of jogging to the ball, but then we kind of remedied that. It’s the best game we’ve played in a while – even though the score does not reflect that at all…They couldn’t finish.”

End-to-end play consumed much of the game’s 60 minutes. Midway through the uphill half, Rathbun struck for the first time, hacking the ball out of a melee and past Windham netminder Molly McAllister at the left post. Alyvia Caruso assisted on the notch.

“Just keep hitting it until it goes in,” Rathbun said of her mindset on the first goal. “Sometimes, it’s a dodge around the goalie, but when there’s a lot of players, I just try either hitting into their feet or hitting at it until it goes in.”

Windham spent a stretch on the attack after that, with Lily Beaton and Ellie Miller working solidly in the midfield to keep the ball forward, and Chloe Wilcox doing the same in the back. But the Eagles couldn’t put the ball in the cage. Wilcox fired off a blast of a shot following a corner around 8:00 – she’s got a mean swing, Wilcox does – but the ball deflected wide of the Gorham goal.

With 5:40 to play before the break, Gorham earned a corner of their own. Connolly took advantage of the opportunity: Molly Murray inserted on the corner, finding Faith Dillon at the right side; a handful of passes later, Connolly scored from the left. 2-0.

“You know, we lost to Noble 1-0,” Manson said. “We had 12 corners in that game and didn’t score on one of them. So we’ve been doing anything we can – just switching it up, moving people around. We have a new inserter. Just till we’ve found the right recipe to now be able to score on corners. We scored two against Scarborough on Thursday to win the game. Corners have really started to enhance our play and help us win these tough games.”

“We have more composure,” Manson continued. “Less rushing of it. In the beginning of the year, we missed a lot of those hits out; so we’ve changed up from a drive to a sweep-in or the drag pull-in. We’ve made the adjustments, and they’ve been able to keep it going.”

The Eagles pressed close to the Rams’ cage to begin the second half; after that, the action turned back-and-forth again. Gorham logged some heavy pressure of their own (and a close call or two) around 24:00 – then converted for a third time at 23:45.

Rathbun did the honors, as mentioned: Dillon, at the top of the circle, grabbed Murray’s insertion. A couple passes later, the ball landed on Dillon’s stick once again and she fed through the fray to Rathbun, who shot and scored.

“The defender in front of me got it,” Rathbun said, “and we’d been practicing just persisting and staying on the ball. So I was like, ‘I’m going to get to this ball,’ and I went out and I actually got it.”

Manson sounded off on Rathbun’s contributions: “Molly has six goals, I think, but she was sick at the beginning of the season and in-and-out, playing. This has been a run for her, playing the whole game and being somebody that is all-out on the ground. Really fast, good stick skills and has that eye for the cage. She’s been unbelievable for us in the past few games.”

The Eagles earned a couple corners around 21:00, with Mya Bolk inserting. Still, they just couldn’t get on the board. Bolk took a close shot following another corner around the 9:00 mark, only to see her ball deflected wide. None of Windham’s efforts, in fact, would avail them before the buzzer tolled 0:00.

“We have some really good initial shots on goal,” DiDonato said, asked what went haywire for her girls on offense, “and then everyone’s right in front of the goalie, and there’s a huge gap. There’s some supporting players near the 25 once it comes all the way out of the circle. But we need to work on our spacing in the circle.”

Still, DiDonato pointed to a couple strong performances when asked to do so. “Chloe McVetty,” she said. “on the front. She played really well. And Ellie Miller played a really good supporting role; she played a lot more today than she normally does and she stepped up. You could tell those two girls wanted to get to the ball. “

No. 3 Gorham vaulted off the victory to 8-5 on the autumn; No. 9 Windham – who started the fall mighty hot, but recently slipped into a slump – dropped to 7-7. The Rams close their regular season at Bonny Eagle on Wednesday, Oct. 16.

Ellie MIller pressures for the Eagles. Adam Birt / American Journal

Lily Beaton cuts toward the action. Adam Birt / American Journal

Lauren Green chases a loose ball for Gorham. Adam Birt / American Journal

Faith Dillon does what she can to ditch a Windham opponent. Adam Birt / American Journal

Molly Murray is Gorham’s leading scorer. Adam Birt / American Journal

Alyvia Caruso contributed an assist on the day. Adam Birt / American Journal

Carissa O’Connell tracks the action for Windham. Adam Birt / American Journal

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