SCARBOROUGH — It’s not often that a goalkeeper is in position to win a soccer game at the offensive end of the field.

But when it comes to a penalty kick tiebreaker, the scenario can happen. And Gorham High junior Nicholas Phinney had his chance Wednesday night in the second round of five penalty kicks.

With Gorham and Scarborough tied 1-1 after 110 minutes, and with both teams having made four of five attempts in the first round of penalty kicks and then three more in the second round, it all came down to Phinney against Scarborough goalkeeper Nicholas Ouellette. Misses by Scarborough on its ninth and 10th kicks gave Phinney an opportunity to end the game and send the Rams into the Class A South semifinals.

“Coach told me if there’s 10 (kicks), you’re the 10th one, and I was thinking to myself, this is the moment. This is what I’ve been dreaming of,” Phinney said. “I just stepped up and put it in the bottom corner.”

While Phinney was mobbed by his teammates in celebration, players and coaches from No. 2 Scarborough (13-3) could only console each other.

“PKs are a really difficult way to try and decide a season,” said Gorham Coach Nick Viola. “These were two great teams who slugged it out all game long.”

Scarborough Coach Mark Diaz, noting his teams have won games in similar fashion, said, “You should win the game on the field. I’m not a rules guy, … but there’s got to be a better way. It’s just a terrible way to end a game, a season. You just feel bad. Sometimes you feel bad when you win those.”

Gorham, which opened the season with high expectations, only to lose its first three games, improved to 9-5-1. The Rams will next face No. 3 South Portland, which beat No. 11 Bonny Eagle. It is scheduled for Saturday in South Portland.

“We know what we have with this group. There’s 14 seniors and a ton of experience,” Viola said. “We had a rough start to the season and we’ve overcome a lot and these boys have battled adversity all year. They deserved this one tonight.”

Scarborough led 1-0 at the half, thanks to a ninth-minute goal by Kilson Joao, who was unmarked near the right post and banged in a rebound after Phinney had to dive to stop a hard, well-placed direct kick from Zander Haskell.

Gorham tied it early in the second half after Josiah Irish made a strong run up the left side and sent an entry pass to Cole Bishop in the box. With Bishop pressuring, Scarborough’s attempt to clear was misdirected and went in for an own goal in the 49th minute.

“The way the wind was blowing, you could count it as my goal,” Irish said. “It went in, that’s all I know.”

Both goals were scored when the offenses were playing into a strong, gusty wind. Through 80 minutes, Scarborough had 10 shots, while Gorham took eight.

Playing with the wind in the first 15-minute overtime, Scarborough’s Curtney Odhiambo and Ashton Blanchard keyed control of the midfield that led to six shots and three corner kicks, but nothing on frame. Gorham’s best chances in the second overtime, when it had the wind and controlled play, also missed the target.


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