Scarborough girls fall at home to Massabesic
SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough's girls' lacrosse team, along with the rest of us in Cumberland County, learned Thursday just who is the favorite to win the Class A state championship in a little over four weeks.
The Massabesic Mustangs.
The Mustangs, who just happen to be the reigning Western A champion, came to their personal house of horrors, the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, where they had never won, and proved once and for all just how special they are.
The Red Storm, needing a win to keep their faint hopes of a top seed in the upcoming playoffs alive, hung tough throughout, but their inability to solve Massabesic's defense proved too much to overcome.
The Mustangs, behind sophomore Maquila DiMastrantonio, who's as tough to stop as her name is to spell, took a 4-2 lead at halftime, then gradually stretched it to 8-2 as Scarborough suffered through a 27 minute, 19 second scoring drought.
The Red Storm didn't go quietly, however, as, after senior Abby Mills broke the spell, sophomore Abby Corbin and junior Kaitlin Prince both scored to make things interesting, but Massabesic slammed the door from there and went on to an 8-5 victory.
DiMastrantonio had three goals, sophomore Delia Sylvain scored twice and senior Rayne Whitten continued to cement her claim as one of the state's special players as the Mustangs made it eight wins in a row, improved to 8-1 and dropped Scarborough to 5-4 in the process.
"We just didn't have the scoring opportunities because their defense was stellar," said Red Storm coach Marcia Wood. "The girls were trying to get the passes inside, but their sticks were in the air. We found the only way to beat them was to try and do a fastbreak, but we threw the ball away. We just could not put one in."
The Western Class A Heal Points standings showed Massabesic first and Scarborough second heading into Thursday night's affair and the winner knew it would have the inside track on homefield advantage for the playoffs.
Both teams have had their share of impressive wins so far.
After opening with a 10-7 home loss to Kennebunk, the Mustangs beat visiting Thornton Academy (12-6), host Portland (13-7), visiting Marshwood (7-6), host Deering (16-2), then gained a measure of revenge by holding off visiting Cheverus, 12-10, before winning in the final minute at Greely, 7-6, and eking out a 6-5 home win over Windham Tuesday.
The Red Storm got their season off to a fast start with a 9-7 home win over Yarmouth. Wins at South Portland (15-3) and at home over Windham (12-4) followed, but Scarborough then lost three straight for the first time in eight seasons, falling at Waynflete (12-7), at home to Gorham (14-13) and at Thornton Academy (9-5). After getting back in the win column Saturday against visiting Portland (12-5), Scarborough got a huge victory Tuesday, 13-11, over Marshwood.
Entering Thursday's meeting, since the teams started playing regularly in 2005 (see sidebar, below), the Red Storm had won nine of 11 games, including six in a row.
Last year, Scarborough won at Massabesic, 10-6, but the Mustangs still went on to play in the state final.
Thursday, Massabesic hoped to end the skid and beat the Red Storm for the first time since the 2007 Western A Final (9-8) and not only managed to do that, but the Mustangs also won in Scarborough for the first time.
Massabesic controlled possession early and after Scarborough sophomore goalie Regan Mars stopped a Whitten free position, the Mustangs broke the ice when DiMastrantonio scored unassisted with 20:18 to go in the first half.
Back came the Red Storm and they pulled even three minutes later, when senior Ainsley Jamieson scored unassisted.
Scarborough took a short-lived 2-1 lead, when Prince scored unassisted with 14:38 remaining before halftime, but less than two minutes later, the visitors tied it on a free position goal from DiMastrantonio.
Both goalies then stepped up, as a Whitten shot was saved by Mars and at the other end, Mustangs junior goalkeeper Megan Hill cut off the angle and forced Corbin to fire a shot that ricocheted off the post. Mars then twice denied DiMastrantonio, but with 4:13 left, DiMastrantonio put her team on top to stay, weaving through the defense before tickling the twine for a 3-2 lead.
After Hill robbed Red Storm junior Maddy Dobecki and Prince, the visitors had to survive a two-minute stint down a player.
They didn't just survive, they scored.
With 33.6 seconds to go before the half, in transition, Whitten threw a long pass ahead to Sylvain, who had gotten wide open behind the defense, and Sylvain finished for a 4-2 advantage.
Scarborough thought it cut into the deficit as time expired, but Prince's shot was ruled to have gone into the goal after the horn sounded.
While the Red Storm had a statistical edge in draws and ground balls, it didn't translate into goals.
That frustration would continue in the second half.
Just 72 seconds in, Massabesic stretched its lead to 5-2, as senior Jackie Guillemette converted a free position.
The Mustangs almost opened it up further, but Sylvain hit the post on a free position and DiMastrantonio had a shot saved by Mars.
With 17 minutes to play, Sylvain got another free position opportunity and this time, she finished to make the score, 6-2.
After sophomore Emma Smith hit the crossbar on a shot for Scarborough, Massabesic earned a man advantage and Whitten made the Red Storm pay with another free position tally.
Junior Bailey Adams tried to answer for the hosts, but Hill made the save.
Then, with 13:43 to play, senior Alexis Folgio finished a feed from junior Karlie Pike and the Mustangs appeared home free, up, 8-2.
It wouldn't be that simple, however.
After Dobecki had a free position saved, Scarborough finally got that elusive third goal, as Mills finished a free position, ending Massabesic's 7-0 run and a drought which lasted more than half the game.
"I'm not really sure how we did that," Whitten said. "We kind of stalled and the defense helped us out."
After Foglio rattled a shot off the pipe at one end, Corbin scored an unassisted goal and with 7:39 to play, the Red Storm were within four, 8-4.
After Jamieson and Prince both shot wide, Scarborough pulled within three with 4:48 to play, as Smith delivered a pass to Prince, who managed to send a shot past Hill while falling and suddenly things were getting very interesting.
Had the Red Storm been able to score again, the Mustangs might not have been able to hold on, but Hill made a save on a shot from Corbin and after Foglio stole the ball, the visitors were able to run out the clock and celebrate their history-making 8-5 victory.
"It's very exciting," Whitten said. "It's definitely invigorating. We needed this game. It was a really personal, mental kind of game. Last year drives us this season. We want it so much."
Massabesic's offense featured five different goal scorers. Leading the way was DiMastrantonio, who had three. Sylvain scored twice and Foglio, Guillemette and Whitten all tickled the twine on one occasion.
"We have our set, which we're comfortable in," Whitten said. "We've experimented with some other sets. It's picking and choosing our shots."
Pike and Whitten each had an assist. Whitten had a team-high seven ground balls and Hill saved eight shots.
Despite playing in a hostile environment, the Mustangs only turned the ball over 15 times.
Massabesic had a 21-19 shots advantage (19-13 on cage).
"They are the team to beat," Wood said, of the Mustangs. "They have fight. They just get better every year. They've always had an aggressive and athletic team, but now they've put it together with stick skills."
Scarborough got two goals from Prince and one apiece from Corbin, Jamieson and Mills. Smith had an assist. Prince won 11 of 15 draws and the Red Storm had a huge edge in ground balls, 52-28 (Dobecki had a game-high nine, while Adams collected seven and Corbin and Prince each grabbed six). Mars stopped 11 shots.
Scarborough only turned the ball over 17 times, but couldn't solve the Mustangs defense.
"It was a nice comeback," Wood said. "We caused some good turnovers, but we just weren't clicking on offense. They're aggressive on offense. We worked on pressuring their fastbreak. I think a lot of their goals came from free positions, from our defensive mistakes. They capitalized on our mistakes. We've talked about and practiced all these things, that's the only thing that's disappointing. We need to play good defense with our feet and get in good position instead of going for that check."
Dash to the finish
With playoff positioning still up in the air, both teams hope to finish strong.
Massabesic essentially has the top seed for the Western A tournament locked up, but still has work to do. The Mustangs are at Sanford and South Portland next week, then close the regular year at home against Gorham June 3.
"I think we're ready," Whitten said. "We have to work on our ball handling skills and communication. Last year at this time, we kind of plateaued. This year we have a lot of growing still to do. We're going at every game as if we need it, because we do. We look forward to Senior Night at home. Having homefield advantage is huge. Our crowd is amazing. We're used to our field. Other teams don't like coming to us."
Scarborough (second in Western A) has one more big test on the schedule, a trip to Cheverus Tuesday. After playing at Westbrook Wednesday, the Red Storm close the regular season at home versus Biddeford June 2.
Scarborough could wind up anywhere from second to fourth in the final standings.
"(Massabesic has) locked up the top side," Wood said. "We just want to finish strong. I don't want to have to play on grass."
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.
Recent Scarborough-Massabesic results
Scarborough 10 @ Massabesic 6
@ Scarborough 8 Massabesic 5
Scarborough 10 @ Massabesic 5
@ Scarborough 14 Massabesic 7
Scarborough 13 @ Massabesic 6
@ Scarborough 18 Massabesic 8
@ Massabesic 5 Scarborough 4
Western A Final
@ Massabesic 9 Scarborough 8
@ Scarborough 11 Massabesic 6
Western A semifinals
Scarborough 15 @ Massabesic 14
Scarborough 11 @ Massabesic 9 (OT)