GRAY — It was one of those fortuitous bounces that made it clear it was a good day for the Poland girls’ soccer team.

“Honestly, right then, I knew we had this game,” said Poland junior forward Emily Bolduc. “We came back from a 1-0 deficit.”

It was a Bolduc corner that deflected off Gray-New Gloucester defenders in front and landed in the net with 15:49 that lifted the Knights to a 2-1 comeback win over the Patriots.

Poland (3-2-1) and GNG (2-4-1) were tied in the Western B standings and Saturday’s matchup was a game both teams needed for playoff positioning.

“We were both tied to the thousandth decimal in the Heal Points,” said Poland coach Andrew Pelletier. “It’s definitely a huge win for our program. We have three home games coming up. So hopefully we can take our record even higher.”

Bolduc had a goal and an assist for Poland. Emma Turton had the other Knights goal. Ashley Moreau had the lone tally for the Patriots, which have lost four straight. Gray-NG coach Kiaran McCormack, who earned a yellow card in the final minutes of regulation, was unavailable for comment following the game.

Down 1-0 after Moreau’s goal in the first half, Poland produced a strong second half. The Knights started to get stronger play in the back and did a nice job defending the Patriots and transitioning the ball the other way.

“We raised our pressure up  a little bit,” said Pelletier, whose team has won two straight and 2-1-1 in its last four. “Our backs slipped up into the play a little bit more. I think that was the difference.”

Bolduc set up the equalizer with 23:34 left. Her free kick was on net. When Gray-NG keeper Sam Wilkins couldn’t maintain hold of the ball.  Turton was right there to put it in.

“That brought us back,” said Bolduc. “This is a huge game for us. It could be a deciding factor for us in the rest of the season. So once we got that goal, we were back in it.”

Then with just 15:49 left, Bolduc had another chance to make something happen. She had a corner kick from the left side. She put the ball in front. Two Gray-NG defenders were there to play it, but the ball deflected in off them for the game-winner.

“I have a pretty good hook shot,” said Bolduc. “I have a pretty good team there to back me up if it doesn’t hook.”

The Patriots tried to rally in the final minutes. Hayley Cote had a dangerous shot from the outside that seemed destined for the top left corner. Poland goalie Haley Whitworth made a nice leaping one-handed save with 12:30 left. Cote had another shot saved later in regulation while Moreau had a rush broken up by Whitworth and defender Sadie Pelletier with 1:31 remaining.

“As long as we don’t give up any easy goals, we’re confident in our ability because we have a great goalkeeper,” said Pelletier. “If they take shots from 25-plus yards out, I know as a team, we’re happy about that.”

Gray-NG came out strong in the first half and outshot the Knights 11-5. Moreau, Sarah Giggey, Cote and Taylor Darnell each had quality bids early as Gray-NG possessed and put the pressure on the Knights defense.

“We came out really flat in the first half, offensively and defensively,” said Pelletier. “I knew Kiaran was going to have them well prepared for us.”

The Knights had a few quality shots in the first half.  Courtney Cunliffe had a nice redirection and Turton dribbled in for a shot. But it wasn’t until the second half that Poland began to play a little harder and won possession on a consistent basis, taking away the advantage Gray-NG had in the first half.

“I think we owned the second half,” said Bolduc. “We had the ball the majority of the time. I think we played flat at the beginning. We realized we needed it and played with a lot more heart.”

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