POLAND — The Gray-New Gloucester girls soccer team worked on having a quick one-touch and quickly shooting in practice Monday.

Defender Ali Portas put it into use Tuesday in a 1-0 victory over Poland.

Her shot from 20 yards out with 21 minutes remaining in the second half fluttered downward toward the net. Poland goalie Alyssa Hart got two hands on the ball while back-peddling before losing control of it as it rolled into the goal.

“We do things in practice to help us in games, and that’s what we try to do,” Portas said.

Patriots assistant coach Mike Foley, the acting head coach Tuesday, said the players are more accurate when they take quick shots.

“When we take too many touches, it takes our shots off target a lot of times,” said Foley, who was filling in for Marcella Francour.


Poland coach Tyler Connors said the goal was an unlucky break for Hart. He added that she played well the entire game.

“I think she played excellent,” Connors said. “Her shot-stopping was excellent, her decision-making was excellent. It was just an unfortunate goal to give up.”

The Patriots (1-3-1) earned their first win of the season and avoided a second straight tie. They tied Fryeburg Academy 0-0 last Thursday.

“At one point, I thought (we would tie), but I had faith in our team that we wouldn’t give up a goal,” Portas said.

Gray-New Gloucester goalie Isabella Ross also played well late in the match as the Knights pushed offensively as the game was winding down. Ross came out to challenge and stopped Olivia Austin’s passing attempt at the top of the box with 12:30 remaining.

“I just knew I needed to get there before their attacker, so I had a better chance of saving it,” Ross said.


Alexandra Wallingford created another offensive opportunity for Poland (0-4), but her long shot sailed over the crossbar with under 10 minutes to go in the game.

“We lacked execution in final (15 minutes) today,” Connors said. “It’s something we need to work on. Maybe on a different day, the ball bounces a little differently.”

With less than four minutes to play, Poland’s Arianna Gammon dribbled toward the box, but Ross kicked the ball away before Gammon got a shot off.

Ross, who finished with four saves, said she usually doesn’t like chasing down the ball before the opposition gets a shot off.

“I am not very comfortable, but I knew I had to do it,” Ross said.

The Patriots opened up the game by putting shots on Hart, who made 10 saves in the first half. She finished the game with 13. Hart got defensive help on the eight Gray-New Gloucester corners in the game.

“I think we stuck with our marks, and we were more aggressive than (Gray-New Gloucester) on the corners,” Connors said.

Poland had a difficult time getting the ball in the offensive 18-yard box. They tried to play the through ball to create offense, but the Patriots defended it well.

“Our center backs were great of getting back and cutting (off) those passes,” Foley said.

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