Gorham’s girls’ soccer team has figured out an unorthodox, ingenious way to get more playing time during this abbreviated season. 

Go to overtime nearly every game. 

Friday afternoon, the Rams played more than 80 minutes for the fourth time in six games this fall, and if it wasn’t for a Gorham resident who stars for Cheverus, the Rams might have returned home with a victory. 

Cheverus senior captain Mia Kratzer scored on a penalty kick with 23 minutes left in regulation, but the Rams answered three minutes later when Mikayla Martorano finished off a corner kick as the teams settled for a 1-1 tie at Boulos Stadium. 

“Another coach said (our overtimes) must be because we want to play as much soccer as we can,” said Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli. “We’ve definitely gotten some extra minutes. I was proud of our fight. I thought we dominated at the end, but we’re just not finding the back of the net as often as we’d like.” 

In a rematch of last year’s Class A South semifinal, won by Cheverus in penalty kicks after 110 minutes didn’t produce a single goal, offense was once again at a premium. Neither team had a great chance in the first half. 

Play picked up in the second half, and after a foul in the box off a corner kick, the Stags (3-2-1) were given a penalty kick with 23:13 remaining in regulation. 

Enter Kratzer, who fired a low shot that Rams goalkeeper Rachel Gross couldn’t reach despite guessing correctly that the ball would go to her right. 

Kratzer wasn’t expected to play Friday, but got into the game and made her presence felt. 

“Playing against your hometown school is always a big deal, so Mia was excited to play,” said Stags Coach Craig Roberts. “I have to give credit to Zach (Garbin), our (athletic) trainer, who cleared her. He gave her the OK and she looked good in warmups. She was extremely excited to score on that PK. 

Gorham (3-1-2) quickly pushed for the equalizer, and after the Rams earned a corner kick, senior captain Katie Kutzer sent a short, low pass in front to Martorano, who one-timed a shot past Cheverus goalie Neve Cawley (five saves). 

“Cheverus is good in the air, so we wanted to keep that on the ground,” Zarrilli said. 

“The way we defend corner kicks, especially this year with COVID where you can only have five players in there, you can’t man-mark everyone you want to,” Roberts said. “Players have to be responsible for their zone and that’s just the way it goes.” 

In overtime, Gorham got its eighth corner kick of the game but couldn’t generate a shot, while the Stags got a long shot from Sofia Pothier that was easily corralled by Gross (four saves). 

“It ended 1-1 and that was a fair result,” Roberts said. “We knew (Gorham) had most everybody back and we’re a young team, but we realized we could stay with them.” 

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