GORHAM — After losing their last two games, the players on Gorham High’s field hockey team held a team meeting Monday afternoon before they played surging Falmouth.

“And I don’t even know what they said,” said Gorham Coach Becky Manson-Rioux.

Whatever it was, it worked. The Rams controlled play throughout and defeated Falmouth 3-0, ending the Navigators’ five-game winning streak. The goals were scored by Sydney Connolly, Hannah Bickford and Alyvia Caruso, and goalie Lauren Bachner made four saves, two in the game’s opening minutes.

“We had a really heart-to-heart conversation before the game,” said Bickford, a sophomore midfielder. “We had some upset in the last two games and we came out of (the talk) and were ready to win again.”

“We all worked together, our passes were stick to stick and we had really good energy,” added Caruso.

“We had really good chemistry today,” said Connolly. “And that will carry us. This is an awesome team to be part of.”

The victory lifted Gorham to 4-2; Falmouth dropped to 5-2.

“We didn’t get the outcomes we wanted in our last two games,” said Manson-Rioux. “But we came out today and proved we wanted it. Now it’s a matter of keeping the consistency going.”

Falmouth had a couple of exceptional early scoring chances with Bachner stopping Anna Turgeon’s in-close bid five minutes into the game being a key moment, but then the Rams’ defense began to take control. They were very aggressive in the circle and continually got their sticks on the ball to keep the Navigators from controlling the ball.

“Gorham just moved the ball around the field well and used space and we didn’t,” said Falmouth Coach Robin Haley. “And they were really patient on our defense as well, and did a really nice job defensively in the circle against us.”

Manson-Rioux said the Rams also moved a couple of players around in the midfield after that first quarter, getting better coverage matchups in the defensive end. “We were able to keep up better with their tempo,” she said.

Bachner appreciated it. She knows how important a good defense is. “They have always been so helpful, and they listen a lot too,” she said of Gorham’s defenders. “I wouldn’t be as good of a goalie without them.”

Gorham’s pressure finally broke through after a scoreless first quarter. With 6:03 remaining in the first half, Connolly scored during a scramble. Ellie Szostalo carried the ball to the left and got it to Bickford, who fired it into the circle. There it bounded around until Connolly tucked it in.

With 5:52 left in the third, Bickford scored on a rebound in front following a penalty corner to make it 2-0.

Then, 2:59 into the fourth quarter, Caruso poked in her rebound at the left post to make it 3-0.

It was Gorham’s best game of the season and it came at a good time.

“We kind of played like we know how to play,” said Bickford. “We know how to play, how to play our game and we trust each other.”

And even though they lost, the unheralded Navigators were right there with the Rams for most of the game.

“I think we showed some strength,” said Falmouth midfielder Mia Wrisley. “I mean it was a sad loss but we all worked really hard.”

And, added Haley, “It was a good learning game for us. We gained a tremendous amount of experience in this game.”


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