GORHAM — Gorham’s perfect record was in danger Saturday, until a perfect play saved it.

Piper Forgues connected with Ashley Connolly on a picturesque cross and header in the closing minutes, and the second-seeded Rams topped defending state champion Windham, 1-0, in a Class A South semifinal Saturday night.

Last year, Windham took down Gorham on its way to the title. The Rams were eager to write a different ending.

“It was our time,” Connolly said. “I’m at a loss for words, honestly. I can’t even think right now, because of this game.”

The player who set her up was just as thrilled.

“It’s just a surreal feeling,” Forgues said. “We started the season as an underdog, but we’ve just continued to grow. I think we’re just going to continue showing how good we are.”


Gorham entered with a 15-0 record, including a 3-0 victory over third-seeded Windham in September. But the Eagles (13-3) won 10 straight after that defeat, and they gave the Rams all they could handle, first in a back-and-forth first half, and then in a second half that began with Windham controlling play.

In the final 20 minutes, however, Gorham began to push forward. The Rams nearly went ahead when Kathryn Gooch’s header rolled up to the goal line before being booted away.

Moments later, Forgues brought the ball down the right side of the field, pursued by Windham’s Tayla Pelletier. On the other side of the field, Connolly headed toward the left post.

It was going to take a perfect cross, and from the moment the ball left Forgues’s foot, it was clear the delivery was on target.

“When I kick a ball, I know if it’s good or not,” Forgues said. “It felt like everything stopped. Like it was me and her.”

Connolly’s header was also flawless, firm and on target, and Gorham finally had a lead with 5:31 to play.


“I saw that ball coming in, and it was just like, perfect. It was landing right at me, all I had to do was hit it a little bit and it was going in,” Connolly said. “I felt like, as soon as we got that in, we were like ‘That’s it. We just have to hold them off.'”

Gorham Coach Jeanne Zarrilli gave her players credit for coming through in the clutch.

“That was a beautiful goal,” she said. “Both girls work hard all the time, and we’ve talked about being composed in front of the goal all season. And they did. They didn’t panic. They just did what they had to do.”

Windham nearly had a chance in the 79th minute when Abbey Thornton played a through ball to Emily Talbot on the left side, but Talbot’s attempt to get it back to the middle of the field was kicked away by the Rams.

“We didn’t get many good scoring opportunities,” Windham Coach Deb Lebel said. “It came down to the team that scores first. And it happened to be them right at the end.”

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