Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Windham U12 girls win New England Invitational Soccer Tourney - By Jason Dakin and Leo Tinkham

On Sunday, November 13, the Windham U12 Girls Soccer team competed against state champions from Vermont, Rhode Island and New Hampshire for the regional title. 

Windham opened the tournament on fire with three goals, all by Elizabeth Talbot, in the first five minutes of play. From there, Windham coasted to a 6-0 win over the Vermont State Champion Nordics from Essex, VT. 

The second match, against the Rhode Island State Champions from Warwick, RI, was an evenly contested tilt between two talented and determined opponents. After battling to a scoreless tie at the half, Rhode Island struck in the second half converting a long, pop up, wind assisted, lost in the sun, wobbler off a corner kick. 

It was 1-0 Rhode Island. 

With their backs against the wall, the Windham girls acted on their team rally cry “Now we just play harder!” and dominated play in the Rhode Island zone. After several minutes of intense pressure, the Rhode Island defense cracked by pulling down a Windham striker inside the penalty box. Abbey Thornton converted the penalty kick for a 1-1 tie, which is how the game ended. 

The final match, against the New Hampshire State Champions from Concord, was the match to determine the tournament title. If Windham won the game, it would win the tournament. If they lost, then New Hampshire would win the tournament. And if they tie, then Windham must go cheer for Vermont to beat or tie Rhode Island, an outcome which would enable Windham to win the tournament on points. Coaches Dakin and Bell took time between matches to ensure the team understood the situation and to plot strategy for the championship matchup. 

In another evenly contested match between two very tough teams, this time with a championship on the line, Windham scored first on a long hard shot from a steep angle by Abbey Thornton. Windham 1-0 at the half. Early in the second half, Elizabeth Talbot added a second goal to extend the lead to 2-0. Shortly afterward, Windham coaches dropped more defenders back to preserve the victory. 

With this win, the Windham U12 girls completed the Triple Crown of the fall season: Falmouth Columbus Day Tournament Champions, State of Maine Champions, and New England Invitational Champions. The team suffered only one defeat all season, back in early September, in a scrimmage; and the team rallied to win from behind in five games this fall. The team players are: Sarah Bell, Ashley Clarke, Monique Dakin, Kylie Garrison, Morgan Hammond, Elizabeth Leveque, Rianna Mattox, Elizabeth Talbot, Ali Tetrault, Abbey Thornton and Emma Tinkham. Coached by Jason Dakin and Matt Bell.

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