Scarborough girls' lax makes a statement, wins, 13-9, at Yarmouth
YARMOUTH—Entering Saturday morning's rainy showdown at perennial power Yarmouth, the Scarborough girls' lacrosse team knew it was pretty good.
Now, the Red Storm have to feel invincible.
After a solid 50-minute effort in which they never trailed, the Red Storm beat the Clippers for the first time, 13-9, thanks to clutch second half goalkeeping from senior Marina Sterrer and a balanced scoring attack, improving to 4-0 on the season while handing Yarmouth (4-2) its second successive loss.
"This is the biggest regular season win we've had," said Scarborough coach Marcia Wood. "We had a good lead on them most of the time. It's huge. We'd never beaten Yarmouth."
Scarborough has been a solid program since Wood took over in 2005 and even won the inaugural Class A championship in improbable fashion (after going 6-6 in the regular season) the following year, but even though the Red Storm have remained a top Class A contender, they hadn't been able to defeat the Holy Trinity of Class B powerhouses: North Yarmouth Academy, Waynflete or Yarmouth.
Last year, Scarborough came close, losing, 10-7, at home to the Clippers. The Red Storm's year ended in disappointment, however, when they fell at Kennebunk in the quarterfinals.
This season, however, Scarborough is on a mission. Boasting a pair of players (seniors Ellie Morin and Brittany Ross) who haven't lost a game all school year while winning inaugural championships in field hockey and basketball, the Red Storm blitzed their first three foes, Sanford (18-6), Portland (17-3) and Deering (16-3).
Yarmouth (which got to the regional final in 2009 before losing to rival NYA), meanwhile, got off a great start in 2010, winning at York (13-11), avenging the playoff loss to the Panthers with a 12-8 home victory and earning wins over host Greely (11-7) and visiting Cape Elizabeth (18-8). Thursday, however, the Clippers fell from the unbeaten ranks amid a flurry of turnovers with an 8-6 setback at two-time defending Class B champion Waynflete.
Inability to hold on to the ball would doom Yarmouth again Saturday as it fell behind early and couldn't catch up.
After Scarborough won the opening draw, it set up on offense and went up 1-0 when sophomore Kat Gadbois set up classmate Kelsey Howard for a goal. The hosts answered a minute later when senior Nalini Robbins (from sophomore Claudia Lockwood) beat Sterrer, but with 20:25 to play in the first half, Ross scored unassisted and the Red Storm were on top to stay.
With 19:10 left, Morin scored an unassisted goal for a 3-1 lead, but with 15:02 remaining, Clippers junior Danielle Torres converted an unassisted goal to make it 3-2.
Yarmouth's offense then went cold as it turned the ball over on several occasions. The visitors took advantage and opened up a healthy lead.
First, with 12:28 remaining in the half, sophomore Maggie Smith fed junior Meghan Quirk for a goal. Howard (from sophomore Mary Scott) and Scott (from senior Lindsay Hagerman, playing a man-up) followed with goals in a 42-second span and with 3:06 to go in the first, Ross (from Scott) scored and Scarborough had a surprising 7-2 advantage.
With 2:11 left, an unassisted goal by Robbins ended a 12 minute, 51 second drought, but just inside the final minute, Morin (set up by Hagerman) answered and the Red Storm were in control at the break, up 8-3.
Scarborough won 28 first half ground balls, forced 14 turnovers and had a 17-12 edge in shots. The Red Storm knew that the Clippers would come out hot in the second half, which they did, but luckily for the visitors, their senior goalie would rise to the occasion.
After senior Brenna Bialek scored 15 seconds into the second half to make it an 8-4 game, Yarmouth looked to creep closer, but Torres hit the post and junior Devin Simsarian was wide on the rebound. Senior Molly Curry then had a great look in close, but Sterrer denied it.
With 22:04 left in regulation, Curry set up Simsarian to make it 8-5, but the Clippers would get no closer.
First, Torres hit the post again. Then, Curry again appeared to have an easy shot, but again, Sterrer came from nowhere to save it, keeping the score, 8-5.
"I had a lot of help on defense," Sterrer said. "The defense was there to help me. We did well as a team. They shoot fast. I just react. There's no time to think."
"Their goalie made some big saves," said Yarmouth coach Dorothy Holt. "She moves really well and came up big. (If we scored again, that) could have been a huge turnaround."
Scarborough then transitioned and got a measure of breathing room when Hagerman (from Quirk) scored to make it 9-5. After a free position goal from junior Becca Bell again drew the Clippers within three, 9-6, with 17:33 to go, the Red Storm exploded for three goals in under four minutes to essentially sale it away.
With 15:30 left, playing a man-down, Hagerman scored on a free position. Hagerman (unassisted) and Morin (from Scott) followed with goals and with 11:46 to play, Scarborough was in control, up 12-6.
A Simsarian unassisted tally with 10:34 to go made it 12-7, but Hagerman (from Quirk, playing a man-up) countered with 3:03 left to push the lead back to six. Goals in the final minute from Simsarian (unassisted) and Torres (assisted by Bialek) proved cosmetic and accounted for the 13-9 final score.
"It was a big win," Sterrer said. "We needed it. We came off the field and coach said, 'I feel like we just won a state championship.' It was that big a game. It feels good."
"We're really excited," Quirk said. "This was awesome. It was so fun. It makes it so much more intense to have a close game. We were definitely nervous, but we did have confidence. We know we have the potential to do this. It was important to get off to a hot start. It's always nice to get that confidence and roll with it."
"We've had an easy schedule so far and we needed a game like this to boost our confidence and show we're the real deal," Wood added. "We're very evenly matched. Yarmouth's a very good team. Dorothy does a fantastic job with those girls. Danielle Torres and Becca Bell are amazing players. Their transition is great. I told the girls it would come down to who outhustles and outplays and makes the right decisions."
Six different players scored for the Red Storm and two others added assists. Hagerman (who also had three assists) and Morin both had three goals, Howard, Quirk (one assist) and Ross had two goals apiece. Scott finished with one (and three assists). Gadbois and Smith also set up a goal.
"We have a good offense," said Quirk. "All groups. All ages."
"What I liked the most was all the different people who scored," Wood added. "Other girls stepped up. We had great balance."
Scarborough finished with a 13-11 edge in draws and a 51-42 advantage in ground balls (Morin and Ross had eight each). Sterrer (who has split time with freshman Meg Kirsch this spring) helped seal the deal with 14 saves.
"Marina was incredible," Quirk said. "I've never seen her perform like that. It was amazing."
"Marina was huge," Wood added. "I had a pep talk with her at the beginning of the year. Ever since that talk, she's stepped up and done an amazing job."
Yarmouth (which did have a 30-28 advantage in shots) was done in by 24 turnovers and its slow start.
"(Scarborough's) a good team," Holt said. "We have some learning to do. We're young. We still have to work on shot selection, ground balls and not turning the ball over. I have a couple sophomores in key spots. We got a couple goals at the end to make it respectable. That was good for us. They caused 19 turnovers. I'm not upset about that. We'll eventually stop dropping the ball."
Simsarian led the Clippers with three goals, while Robbins and Torres (one assist) had two apiece. Bell and Bialek (one assist) each had one goal. Curry and Lockwood added one assist apiece. Prior to the game, Yarmouth's junior starting goalie, Carlie Woodson, was hit with a ball and wasn't able to play. Junior Stephanie Moulton stepped in and made six saves.
"We had to make a few quick adjustments prior to the game since Carlie couldn't play," Holt said. "Stephanie stepped up huge in goal. She made some key saves too. It wasn't easy for her with three minutes of warm up. Jeanna Lowery, a sophomore, came up big on defense."
The Clippers finished with 42 ground balls. Bell (eight) and Torres (seven) led the way in that category.
Yarmouth is back in action Tuesday at Freeport, then goes to Marshwood next Saturday. The Clippers still have second meetings upcoming with NYA and Waynflete, as well as a game at home against up-and-coming Falmouth.
"We have some big games coming up," Holt said. "Freeport, Marshwood, then we start all over again with NYA and Waynflete. I think this team has a ton of potential. It's going to take a little bit to get there. I think we're all really close. It's anyone's game on any given day."
Scarborough is home with Massabesic Tuesday and plays at Cheverus Thursday. It's likely the only other big test the Red Storm have remaining on the schedule comes in the finale, May 27, at nemesis Kennebunk. Scarborough is sitting pretty, but knows it can't rest on its laurels.
"Depending on how the girls play, we just have to keep them focused," Wood said. "They really want it. Even if we come out slow in a game, I know they'll do what they need to do to win it."
"We know what we have now so we can't do anything less than this," Quirk added. "We have to push ourselves and get the top position. We feel like we're on top, but we're not too confident. We know we'll have to work for it."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at email@example.com