SCARBOROUGH—It’s hard to serve up a nice, cold dish of revenge when you can’t even get the ball.
Scarborough’s girls’ lacrosse team came into Thursday night’s home showdown at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex against neighbor and rival Thornton Academy with one eye on the past and one on the present.
The Red Storm suffered a frustrating playoff loss at the Golden Trojans a year ago and hoped to build on what has already been a positive season when they got a chance to avenge that setback.
But for the better part of 50 minutes, Thornton Academy frustrated Scarborough with its ability to possess the ball.
The Red Storm didn’t lead at all in the first half and found themselves down, 3-2, at halftime, but momentarily seized momentum early in the second half when goals from junior Jamie Sargent and senior Bailey Adams produced a 4-3 lead.
But back came the Golden Trojans to take a 5-4 advantage on sophomore Paige LeBlanc’s unassisted tally with 10:26 to play.
Scarborough drew even 12 seconds later when junior Abby Corbin scored, but the Red Storm didn’t earn the happy ending they’d envisioned.
With 9:11 to play, Thornton Academy junior Faith Sinclair put her team ahead to stay and after Adams hit the crossbar, Scarborough barely saw the ball again.
The Red Storm did have one final chance in the waning seconds, but couldn’t register a shot and the Golden Trojans escaped, 6-5.
Thornton Academy beat Scarborough for the third time in a row, improved to 3-3 and dropped the Red Storm to 4-2 in the process.
“It was tough for us today,” said Scarborough coach Michaela Wipfler. “I think we came out a little flat. We regained our composure, but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to win the game.”
Entering play Thursday, Scarborough had beaten Thornton Academy in eight of 12 all-time meetings, including two of three in the playoffs, but last spring, the Golden Trojans snapped an eight-game Red Storm win streak in the series with a 9-5 victory in Saco, then beat Scarborough again in the Western Class A semifinals, 11-6. Thornton Academy then lost to eventual state champion Massabesic in the Western A Final.
The Golden Trojans stumbled out of the gate this spring, losing at home to Massabesic (7-5) and at Gorham (8-4). After downing visiting Westbrook (17-1), Thornton Academy lost at Falmouth, 11-9. Tuesday, the Golden Trojans beat visiting Bonny Eagle, 8-4.
Scarborough beat visiting South Portland in its opener, 10-5, then lost at Windham, 14-12. The Red Storm bounced right back with a 17-5 victory at Portland, then beat visiting Waynflete for the first time in program history, 7-4. A 13-2 win at Gorham followed Tuesday.
Thursday, Scarborough was fired up, but it wasn’t able to possess the ball for big swaths of the contest.
The Golden Trojans scored first when sophomore Amanda Cyr beat Red Storm sophomore goalie Sami Shoebottom, but the Red Storm answered on a goal from senior standout Kaitlin Prince.
Thornton Academy went back on top, 2-1, when senior Dorina Sirois scored, but again the hosts came right back, as Corbin tied the score. An unassisted tally from Sinclair made it 3-2 Golden Trojans at halftime.
Scarborough tried to up the tempo in the second half and for awhile managed to do so, but with the game on the line, Thornton Academy returned to its frustrating ways.
Just 42 seconds into the second half, Prince had a shot saved by Golden Trojans senior goalie Allie Spinney.
After Shoebottom denied a free position shot from Sinclair, the Red Storm pulled even as Prince set up Sargent with 21:50 to play.
With 20:16 left, Prince fed Adams for a goal and Scarborough was on top, 4-3.
That proved to be the Red Storm’s one and only lead, however.
Momentum turned back to Thornton Academy with 19:02 to play, when Scarborough senior Sydney Hersey was given a yellow card. With an extra player, the Golden Trojans capitalized and drew even 52 seconds later, when LeBlanc scored.
With 10:26 left in regulation, LeBlanc scored again and Thornton Academy had a 5-4 lead, but 12 seconds later, after a Prince draw win, Adams passed ahead to Corbin, who raced in and beat Spinney to make it 5-5.
Thornton Academy again responded, as Sinclair scored unassisted with 9:11 to play, for a 6-5 lead.
When the Golden Trojans won the ensuing draw, they looked to stall, but Prince forced a turnover.
Adams then had a great look to tie, but her shot with 7:02 to go hit the crossbar and Scarborough wouldn’t get close to scoring again.
Thornton Academy ran nearly six minutes off the clock before Prince forced another turnover with just under two minutes to go.
The Red Storm gave the ball right back, however, and it wasn’t until 15 seconds were left on the clock that Scarborough regained possession.
Starting deep in its end, Scarborough hoped to push the ball up the field for one final shot, but Adams was pressured and instead of being able to go north and south, she was pushed laterally and by the time the ball got into the offensive zone, the horn sounded and the Golden Trojans held on to win, 6-5.
“We do a lot of transition drills, but it’s hard no matter how much you practice,” Wipfler said. “It’s tough to squeeze something in in the last few seconds.
The Red Storm got two goals from Corbin and one apiece from Adams, Prince and Sargent. Prince had two assists, but Scarborough was held well below its season average of nearly a dozen goals per game.
“(Thornton Academy’s) a strong team with a strong defense,” Wipfler said. “They were clobbering us on the 8 and we couldn’t seem to find that pass. We weren’t threading the needle as we usually do. It’s different from what we’re used to and it threw us off.”
The Golden Trojans got two goals apiece from LeBlanc and Sinclair and one each from Cyr and Sirois.
Thornton Academy looks to go over the .500 mark for the first time Saturday when Lewiston pays a visit. After hosting defending Eastern A champion Cheverus Monday, the Golden Trojans are at Biddeford, Portland and Marshwood, then close the regular season with a home game against Sanford.
As for Scarborough, the last time it lost, it turned around and produced three straight impressive victories. The Red Storm have no time to lick their wounds, as they go to defending Class B champion Yarmouth Friday night. Scarborough is home against Marshwood Tuesday and visits Massabesic Thursday. Home games versus Cheverus and Westbrook and a trip to Biddeford close the regular season
“The girls are disappointed, but hopefully we use it as fuel tomorrow,” said Wipfler. “I’m really proud of what the girls put out there today. They’ve turned around their mental game. I’m confident they’ll shake this off. We may see (Thornton Academy) again.”
Scarborough senior Bailey Adams races up the field.
Scarborough senior Kaitlin Prince is defended by Thornton Academy junior Tatum LeClair.
Scarborough junior Abby Corbin scores one of her two goals.
Scarborough sophomore Sydney Rusak plays tight defense.
Scarborough sophomore goalie Sami Shoebottom watches the action unfold.
Scarborough junior Abby Corbin is mobbed by her teammates after tying the score, 5-5.
@ TA 9 Scarborough 5
Western A semifinals
@ TA 11 Scarborough 6
Scarborough 7 @ TA 6
@ Scarborough 7 TA 2
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 9 TA 7
Scarborough 13 @ TA 5
@ Scarborough 10 TA 1
Scarborough 11 @ TA 7
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 11 TA 3
@ TA 11 Scarborough 9
TA 11 @ Scarborough 9
Scarborough senior Bailey Adams goes flying after colliding with Thornton Academy sophomore Paige LeBlanc during the teams’ battle Thursday night. The Red Storm hoped to avenge last year’s playoff ouster, but fell, 6-5.
Ben McCanna photos.
More photos below.