Friday, November 10, 2023

Windham girls fall in varsity soccer semifinals

By Matt Pascarella

The third-ranked Windham traveled to meet second-ranked Gorham on Thursday, Nov. 2 for a repeat varsity girls’ soccer semifinal match similar to the one these two teams played a year ago with one exception, the Lady Eagles made it a lot harder for Gorham this time. Windham forced two sudden-death overtimes and after regulation play ended, it was tied at 1-1. Once it went to penalty kicks, Gorham eked out a 2-1 win.

Windham junior Stella Jarvais looks to see which of her
teammates is open during a girls' varsity soccer semifinal
playoff game against Gorham.
“This year we had a young team with only two seniors,” said Windham varsity girls’ soccer coach Deb Lebel. “This meant younger players had to step up and play a much bigger role this season. I think because we didn't depend so much on one player everyone contributed in a variety of ways. We can compete with a very talented team even though we are young. We also never gave up; all players played their hearts out ... through both overtimes.”

As time was running out in the first half, Windham junior Kyla Harvie shot the ball from the outer 18-yard line to score. Windham was up 1-0 at halftime.

“We’ve had a tough rivalry with Gorham for a while and we really wanted this win, so we went deep down,” said Harvie. “If we work together and try our hardest, anything can happen – we just have to do our best. It was a long, long game, we just kept fighting through everything. We did a good job defending, passing around Gorham and getting opportunities on the attacking field.”

Gorham responded and scored in the second half which tied the game 1-1. As the clock ran out, the game went into its first overtime. For perspective, in 2022, Gorham won 1-0 in the semifinal after regulation, and now Windham fought hard to get the win.

“Being that it was sudden death, it puts a lot of pressure on everybody,” said Windham senior and goalie Alejandra Hidell, who had 10 saves overall. “It’s extra nerve-wracking for me because I don’t want to get scored on. [My mindset was] if any ball came at me, I’d try my best to save it and do everything I can.”

Windham pressured, passed the ball well, defense kept Gorham at bay and Windham had several shots near goal. At the buzzer Windham held Gorham to another overtime.

When it came down to penalty kicks, junior Stella Jarvais scored. Unfortunately, the other kicks were saved.

“Our team is big in chemistry,” said Jarvais. “We grew as a team throughout the whole season, and I haven’t been on a team that has had that much chemistry. Everyone wanted to win, and we used our power to push us to the next level.”

According to Lebel, Windham really supported each other, cheered for one another no matter what role they played. This was one of the hardest working groups she’s had.

“I think we came out, wanting to win, wanting to get revenge, it didn’t happen, but we tried our hardest – it was very nerve-racking,” said Windham sophomore Marley Jarvais. “Our passing was really good, our pressure from the forwards was really good too. Our team bond and how focused we were during practice really, really helped.” <

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