GORHAM — At the start of the week, with Windham, South Portland and Gorham looming on the schedule, the Scarborough High girls’ soccer team was still seeking its identity.

After sweeping those rivals, it’s safe to say that the Red Storm have found it. The defending Class A state champions are the team to beat once again.

On Saturday morning, Scarborough and Gorham renewed acquaintances and in typical fashion, played a taut, low-scoring contest. But senior standout Lana Djuranovic buried a free kick with just under 28 minutes to play to produce a 1-0 victory, giving the Red Storm their fourth straight win and a 7-1 record.

“I’m really happy because the games we had this week were tough,” said Scarborough Coach Mike Farley. “South Portland is an up-and-coming team that defended really hard. Windham is Windham and beating them at their place was impressive. Coming here and winning a close game is never easy. The difference was having someone like Lana, who could have a big moment that changes the game.”

Gorham (8-1) couldn’t muster a shot on goal in the first half, but kept the Red Storm off the board, thanks in part to five saves from goalkeeper Sawyer VonderHaar.

The Rams nearly went ahead two minutes into the second half, when a ball got free in the box after a deflection, but Scarborough goalie Sophia Rinaldi fell on it.

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With 27:45 remaining, after being fouled just outside the box, Djuranovic lined up a free kick to the right of VonderHaar. She lofted it just over the defensive wall and just inside the near post before VonderHaar could react to give the Red Storm the lead.

“I knew I had to score,” said Djuranovic, who has verbally committed to play next year at the University of Miami in Florida. “I got fouled, the ball was right on the edge of the box and I knew I could get it in. Recently, when I curve it around the wall and go front post, I have more success and it worked out.”

Gorham had its chances to answer, but the Scarborough defense, led by seniors Maeve Davis and Natalie Ryan, stood tall and Rinaldi came up huge with just over five minutes left, diving to rob Bailey Hatch to slam the door. Rinaldi finished with three saves.

“We have a great defense and a great goalkeeper,” Davis said. “I was a bit nervous, but I knew if we stayed composed and didn’t give up too many free kicks, we’d hold them off.”

Longtime Rams Coach Jeanne Zarrilli lamented the tough loss, but hopes to get another shot at the Red Storm in the playoffs.

“That’s how these games go,” Zarrilli said. “It’s tough to be on the losing end, but we fought hard. We said before the game that whatever happens, this is a game where we’ll learn a lot. Defending, midfield, finishing.

“We see Scarborough a lot. They play a tough, physical game and we have to learn how to stand up to that.”

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