For the first time since 2006, all three local field hockey teams will take part in the postseason.
The Scarborough Red Storm, 2009 Class A state champions, are once again the team to beat despite losing an abundance of talent to graduation. The Red Storm simply reloaded in 2010 and wound up 13-1, good for the top spot in Western A.
Scarborough closed the regular season with four impressive wins in six days. After romping, 8-1, at Biddeford, the Red Storm dominated Cheverus, 6-1, in a regional final rematch, routed host Noble, 8-0, then held off host Gorham, 2-0.
Against the Stags, Scarborough fell behind 1-0, then came to life and went up 3-1 by halftime behind two goals from senior Sarah Bunting and another from senior Rachael Millett (assisted by Bunting). Bunting added a third goal in the second half and sophomore Ali Pelczar and senior Kristen Felt added tallies to finish it off.
“We’ve been waiting for Cheverus this whole time,” Bunting said. “We knew they’d bring everything. They’re a really hard team to beat. We’re both far up in the (Heal Points). It was almost like a championship for our area. After the first goal, I think it was a bit of a wakeup call for us. We knew we had to bring everything and we did. The score proved it.”
“The statement has been made,” Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello said. “It was great for us. We didn’t know what to expect and to come out like this is a huge confidence boost for us.”
Senior Chelsey Michaud, junior Lindsay Dobecki and sophomore Stephanie Felt all had two goals in the win at Noble. Senior Kristen Felt and junior Kelsey Howard scored against Gorham.
Scarborough will face the winner of a preliminary round contest between No. 8 Massabesic (8-6) and No. 9 Gorham (8-6) in the quarterfinals Wednesday of next week. The Red Storm are seeking a third straight regional crown and a second successive state championship. They downed the Mustangs, 9-1, at home on Sept. 22.
“We always had faith in ourselves that we’d be good,” Bunting said. “We didn’t expect to be as good as we are now, but we’ve stepped up to the challenge. We really want to keep the title. Homefield advantage is huge for us. We’re so much more comfortable and we don’t want anyone to beat us on our field.”
South Portland missed the playoffs each of last three seasons and didn’t win a single contest in 2007 or 2008, but the Red Riots righted the ship this spring, winning eight of 10 after dropping their first four.
South Portland enjoyed signature victories over Cheverus, Gorham and Scarborough and captured their final three games over Bonny Eagle (3-2, in double-overtime), Windham (2-1) and Deering (2-1).
Senior Felicia Farnham and sophomore Jaclyn Salevsky scored in regulation against the Scots and senior Becca Roberts had the winner in OT.
“It was a tourney atmosphere,” said South Portland coach Heather Seavey. “We were evenly matched the whole game. We might see them again. If will be a great game if we do.”
Against the Eagles, Farnham had both goals, including the winner in the second half. Sophomore Lani Edwards stopped eight shots to preserve the win. Goals from Farnham and senior Katie Murphy were enough to beat the winless Rams Tuesday as the Red Riots finished 8-6.
South Portland appears ticketed for the No. 6 seed in Western A and a quarterfinal round game at No. 3 Thornton Academy (10-3-1) Tuesday. On Oct. 4, the Red Riots lost at the Golden Trojans, 4-2.
In Western B, after a year away from the postseason, Cape Elizabeth has returned to form.
The Capers won, 2-1, at Falmouth last Friday (sophomore Lauren Steidl had both goals), then fell, 1-0, at Wells Tuesday to finish 7-6-1.
Cape Elizabeth will likely be sixth in the final Heals and could face No. 3 Greely in Tuesday’s quarterfinals. The teams split in the regular season, both winning at home (the Capers by a 2-1 score, the Rangers, 1-0).
Looking ahead, the semifinals will be Saturday, Oct. 23, on the field of the highest remaining seeds. The regional finals are Tuesday, Oct. 26 at Scarborough High School. The Class A, B and C state championship games will be at the University of Maine in Orono on Saturday, Oct. 30.
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Scarborough’s Lauren Sullivan and South Portland’s Maraka Soule could be on a collision course in the playoffs.