Gray-New Gloucester’s Jordan Grant, right, and Freeport’s Abby Brier chase down the ball Thursday in Freeport. The Falcons won, 2-0.
FREEPORT — After a sluggish first half, the Freeport girls’ soccer team showed a little more pep in their step, breaking a scoreless tie and blanking Gray-New Gloucester, 2-0, in Western Maine Conference action Thursday afternoon.
The Falcons got a pair of goals from Catriona Gould and outstanding play in the net by freshman goalkeeper Carly Intraversato in the victory.
The first half started physical, with each team being aggressive going after loose balls. Gray-New Gloucester’s Alexa Thayer kept the pressure on the Freeport defense, seemingly showing up where every loose ball was. More than midway into the half, the Patriots missed an opportunity to score when Jordan Grant took a pass and shot on net with a header but was stopped by Intraversato.
“We knew they were very good with their high game. We were prepared to see some of that,” Freeport coach Elayna Girardin said.
Another save by Intraversato off a Thayer header with 20 seconds remaining in the half secured the scoreless half. The Falcons outshot the visitors by a 10-6 margin in the opening half.
“I thought we played very lethargic in the first half. It didn’t seem like we wanted it. We were watching and weren’t participating in the game,” Girardin said. “I told them at halftime, I don’t really care what you do at this point but play hard, play with heart, play like you want to be here, and play with some passion. If we do that, I told them everything will fall into place.”
The Falcons needed less than a minute to put one on the scoreboard to open the second half. Gould picked up a loose ball on the right side of net, crossed it to the far post on the left side, where it hit the post and bounced in for the game’s first score.
“She had a great shot there, hitting the post,” Girardi said. “She works hard at her skills.”
“I love her. She’s amazing. She’s come so far and improved so much over the years. I can always count on her working her (tail) off,” Intraversato said.
Gray-New Gloucester nearly tied the score 12 minutes later by lofting a shot over the defense and Intraversato, but the ball hit the crossbar flew over the net, resulting in only the second (and last) corner of the game for the Patriots.
“It really helps not giving up many corners as we have in the past. We only gave up two today. Lately we’ve been giving up so many of them,” Intraversato said. “I was so relieved for them.”
“We had an insane amount of corners against Yarmouth and Greely. It’s getting to that comfort level on defense where you get comfort and confidence that you can do it and not to just kick it out of bounds,” Girardin said. “I have skilled players that can clear it out and kick it quite well, and we managed to do that today.”
Gray-New Gloucester (1-4) put forth another strong effort at the 25-minute mark, but a focused Intraversato came up big, making one of her 12 saves.
“She’s very experienced. She was not a goalie in middle school soccer and was my leading scorer in summer soccer this past summer. She does play soccer year-round and goalie is her thing,” Girardin said. “High school soccer has been an adjustment for her. She’s had to adjust as she’s found out that these girls are bigger, stronger and older than what she’s used to playing against. The shots coming from the outside are way different at this level.”
On the ensuing possession, Freeport carried the ball down field where Tara Migliaccio and Gould pressed against the defense. Migliaccio crossed to Gould, catching Patriots goalie Chelsea Davis off-balance and the sophomore tapped it in for her second goal of the contest, putting the Falcons up 2-0.
“One of my defenders cleared off the line from a corner kick and after a couple of give-and-gos from Tara, we were able to pull it off in the end and score,” Gould said.
“Those two girls have played together for a long time. They played together in town soccer, middle school, travel teams and now. So they’re pretty familiar with each other and where one another is going to be,” Girardin said. “Not only these two, but we have a strong group of girls that have been doing this together for a long time. It’s all about comfort.”
Freeport (3-2) almost scored its third goal of the game when Jessie Driscoll fired a shot out of traffic in front of the net, but Davis was able to make the save. Davis finished with 10 saves in the loss.
The story down the stretch was the Freeport defense and Intraversato, minimizing offensive chances for the Patriots. The visitors managed just six shots on goal in the second half.
“I was really proud of our defense today. Their communication was good, they were talking, backing each other up,” Intraversato said. “It definitely helps me with my job.”
Gray-New Gloucester’s Nicole Cobb, left, and Freeport’s Allison Greuel vie for the ball during the Falcons’ 2-0 win Thursday.