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Scarborough girls roll in first playoff test

Sports

Scarborough girls roll in first playoff test

SCARBOROUGH—Despite not playing a countable game for over a week, the two-time defending Class A state champion Scarborough girls' lacrosse team appeared in peak form Thursday evening in its playoff opener.

Hosting eighth-ranked Bonny Eagle in a Western A quarterfinal, the Red Storm got a goal from senior Maggie Smith 15 seconds in and never looked back, scoring the game's first 13 goals and inducing a mercy rule running clock in less than 15 minutes.

Scarborough had a 13-1 lead at halftime and put it on cruise control in the second half, clearing the bench before going on to a 17-2 victory.

Smith had four goals, while classmates Laura Przybylowicz and Mary Scott both added three and the Red Storm improved to 12-1, ended the Scots' year at 5-8 and set up a semifinal round showdown versus fierce rival No. 4 Kennebunk (8-5) Saturday at 3 p.m.

"We don't have a bye this year, which I'm thankful for, because we need to be playing," said Scarborough coach Marcia Wood. "We scrimmaged (Western B power) Falmouth this week, which was good. It's hard going this long without a game, but (the girls) were fantastic."

Over quickly

Scarborough has won the past two Class A state titles, downing Mt. Ararat, 11-7, in the 2010 final and Brunswick, 13-11, last spring.

The Red Storm slipped up just once this spring. Scarborough defeated McAuley (13-0), Bonny Eagle (16-3), Yarmouth (12-5), South Portland (11-4), Massabesic (8-5) and Cheverus (11-10) before losing to Cape Elizabeth, 11-5. The Red Storm bounced back with a 7-6 victory over Thornton Academy, then dominated Gorham (17-5) and Marshwood (11-5), squeaked out a 9-8 win at Kennebunk and closed with a 16-10 win over visiting Windham.

Bonny Eagle won the only prior playoff meeting between the schools, 18-8, in the 2002 preliminary round.

This time around, Scarborough quickly ended all doubt.

Senior Kelsey Howard won the opening draw, the ball came to Scott and she fed Smith for the goal which put the Red Storm ahead to stay, 1-0, only 15 seconds into the game.

"Anything can happen, it's lacrosse," said Smith. "We had a few close games we shouldn't have had this season. We went out there forgetting the records and just playing our game. We're good at starting out with momentum. That's our strong suit. It's all about the momentum with our team. If we have a clear mental game, we can play like we have to play. Our scrimmage against Falmouth helped get us fired up. Playing against a strong team like that and not winning kind of helped us focus on points we need to strengthen."

With 20:55 to go in the first half, Scott scored her first goal, unassisted.

Fourteen seconds later, after another draw win, Smith scored an unassisted goal to make it 3-0.

Goals from Scott (free position at 19:02) and Przybylowicz (from junior Avery Pietras at 18:00) made it 5-0 and forced Bonny Eagle to call timeout.

It didn't make a difference as unassisted goals from Smith (at 16:59), Smith again (on a free position at 14:57) and Przybylowicz (at 14:03) pushed the lead to 8-0.

With 11:17 to go in the half, Howard (from senior Gabby Fitser) tickled the twine and with 10:13 showing, a Scott unassisted goal induced a running clock.

Fitser scored unassisted at 8:52, Gadbois did the same at 4:19 and with 2:52 left in the half, Howard scored an unassisted goal for a 13-0 advantage.

An unassisted tally from Jessica MacDonald got the Scots on the board with 1:33 left before halftime.

Wood substituted liberally in the second half and the Red Storm was more selective with its shots, but still managed to score four times.

With 21:08 remaining, Pietras scored on a free position.

Przybylowicz got a gift goal with 15:33 to go, stealing a clear and finishing into an open net.

With 9:07 left, sophomore Ainsley Jamieson took a pass from junior Sarah Martens and finished to give Scarborough its biggest lead, 16-1.

Bonny Eagle got its second goal with 5:48 to play, when Sam Campobasso scored unassisted, but with 2:54 showing, junior Maiti Kent scored unassisted and the Red Storm put the finishing touches on the 17-2 triumph.

"We shared the wealth," Wood said. "The four top scorers got their goals, but they moved it around and showed we're not a four-man team. Some of the girls I brought up for playoffs, they thought they weren't going to play, but I said, 'I lied. You're going to play.' I love that. To just see their excitement. Even though the game wasn't close, they ran out and were excited."

Smith led a balanced offense with four goals. Przybylowicz and Scott both had three goals, Howard scored twice and Fitser, Gadbois, Jamieson, Kent and Pietras all had one goal. Fitser, Martens, Pietras and Scott each had one assist. Junior goalie Meg Kirsch made five saves. Howard went 10 of 18 on draws, while junior Sam Nable finished 0 of 2.

Scarborough finished with a commanding advantage on ground balls, 42-20. Gadbois, Martens, Scott and Smith all collected five. Howard and Kent both had four.

The Red Storm only turned the ball over 13 times and had a 33-14 shots advantage (27-7 on cage).

Bonny Eagle's offense came from Campobasso and MacDonald, who both scored once. Alicia Hoyt made seven saves, while Abby Ward stopped three shots. Campobasso went 9 of 15 in the draw circle, MacDonald 1 of 3. MacDonald led the Scots with four ground balls. Bonny Eagle turned the ball over 24 times.

Showdown

Scarborough now focuses its attention on a Kennebunk team it has met in each of the past four postseasons. The Red Storm lost to the Rams in the 2008 regional final (10-9, in overtime) and 2009 quarterfinals (13-9), but eliminated Kennebunk in the 2010 semifinals (11-3) and in last spring's regional final (9-6).

Saturday's game will be far more competitive than Thursday's quarterfinal and Scarborough feels it's up for the challenge.

"It's kind of like deja vu," said Smith. "I feel like it happens every year. We know their players, they know ours. We know their weak points, they know ours. It's kind of going to be who comes out and plays the game they need to play. If we play like we did today, it'll be a good game. A lot of people have a lot of confidence, but we have to make sure we don't get over our heads. It's about the fundamentals. We started out the season overconfident and fell apart. We'll practice fundamentals and play the lacrosse Scarborough is capable of playing."

"Saturday will be different," Wood said. "It's going to be closer. It's always a battle. Always exciting. We always get pumped for them. I won't have to say much."

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.