Mackenzie Yaskula pushes past a Yachtswoman. Adam Birt / American Journal

GORHAM—Ram Molly Rathbun logged yet another big game on Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 23, this one a quarterfinals bout vs. visiting Falmouth. Rathbun put up two goals for Gorham as they stampeded through the contest to a 3-1 victory.

The Rams entered the tournament ranked third in A South, at 9-5; that record earned them a bye through the prelims. The Yachtswomen, meanwhile, entered at 6-8 – at No. 11, the last playoffs slot. When the teams met in the regular season, back on Sept. 20, Falmouth actually bested Gorham 1-0. Perhaps more meaningful, the squads have a history of clashing in the bracketing.

“Falmouth has put us out of two of maybe four of the quarterfinals we’ve played in recent years,” Gorham head coach Becky Manson said. “So it just feels that much better to come out, to have improved so much, to be able to win the game, to score three goals.”

Rathbun scored her first of the day just 66 seconds in, beating Falmouth keeper Sarah Greenlaw for 1-0. Just over 20 minutes later, Faith Dillon made it 2-0 off a Lydia Gaudreau feed. That play followed a corner.

It followed, in fact, the Rams’ seventh corner of the half – an impressive stat; Falmouth generated just three in the same stretch. Similarly impressive: Gorham outshot the Yachtswomen nine to one through the uphill 30 minutes.

The Rams applied further pressure in the downhill 30, digging up a great chance roughly seven minutes in, when Alyvia Caruso just missed tipping home 3-0 at the left Falmouth post. Caruso’s swat followed another Gaudreau insert on another Gorham corner.

Not long after, Rathbun sent a shot just wide of the Yachtswomen’s cage: She wouldn’t earn her second notch of the day until 18:30 remained. That’s when – after a teammate slipped in the wet grass, lost her footing and missed a swipe at the ball – Rathbun ducked in and clubbed some breathing room past Greenlaw.

“Our passing game has been amped up,” Manson said, asked what her girls did against Falmouth on Wednesday that they hadn’t done against the Yachtswomen earlier in the autumn. “Just the basics – all the basic stuff that maybe we missed.”

Falmouth got one back late in the outing: With just 1:41 to go, Sammy Means capitalized when the Rams failed to clear. 3-1, though, was all she wrote for the contest: Gorham moved on.

“It means everything, really, at this point,” Manson said, asked about the win. The Rams have reached the early rounds of the postseason numerous times in recent years, only to consistently find themselves thwarted narrowly. In 2018, it was the Yachtswomen who ousted them from contention.

“It’s been right there; it’s been a one-goal,” Manson said, looking back on Gorham’s playoff defeats. “All that time and effort put into getting to this point. Now, after winning, you’re in the top four and you’re thinking, ‘It’s just that much closer to getting to the big show.’”

Rathbun was sick early in the season, and barely dipped her toes in the first Falmouth game. Upon her return to regular action for the Rams, she immediately became a crucial weapon.

“She didn’t get a lot of playing time in [the first Falmouth game],” Manson said, “and now she’s really not coming out a lot.”

Manson also applauded a couple of her other girls: “Faith really controls the middle for us, and distributes the ball extremely well,” Manson said. “Our midfield is difficult to get through – so just the midfield in general. Lauren Green, my center-back, is pretty dominating back there, and cleans up a lot of mistakes and messes and gets the ball back up the field.”

Gorham traveled to No. 2 Massabesic on Saturday morning, Oct. 26; unfortunately, that’s where the Rams’ season crashed to a halt. The Mustangs won the bout 3-2, thus ending Gorham’s 2019 run at 10-6.

Jillian Morrill controls for the Rams. Adam Birt / American Journal

Lydia Gaudreau unwinds into a drive near the sideline. Adam Birt / American Journal

Sophie Gagne wheels away from a Falmouth opponent. Adam Birt / American Journal

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