Scarborough gives coach milestone win in come-from-behind fashion
SCARBOROUGH—It wasn't the way she might have envisioned it, but Scarborough girls' lacrosse coach Marcia Wood will take her 100th career victory, no questions asked.
So will her team, which was in desperate need of a win.
Tuesday evening, at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, the Red Storm, coming off close and painful losses to Cheverus and Cape Elizabeth over the past five days, once again dug an early hole, trailing visiting Thornton Academy at halftime, then finding itself down, 6-3, with under 13 minutes to go.
This time, Scarborough managed to rise off the deck and complete a rally, but it wasn't easy.
The Red Storm tied the game, 6-6, when senior Avery Pietras scored unassisted with 8:36 to go, but the Golden Trojans retook the lead 41 seconds later. Undaunted, Scarborough tied the score for a second time when sophomore Bailey Adams scored unassisted with 7:25 left and just over five minutes later, junior Ainsley Jamieson completed a tremendous individual play to put the Red Storm on top for the first time.
Thornton Academy pushed for the equalizer, but Scarborough senior goalie Meg Kirsch and the Red Storm's defense stood tall and after a serious injury to a Golden Trojan with 7.3 seconds left, the game was called and Scarborough was awarded the one-goal decision.
"It's been a rough couple weeks," said Jamieson. "It's taken awhile to get our feet underneath us, but we're finally starting to come together as a team. We've tried to get (the 100th win) for her the last couple games. We've been discouraged. We had to pick ourselves up. It feels good to get it this game. We haven't really played a full 50 minutes. it feels good to get our feet underneath us and rally back for the win."
Wood, a field hockey and lacrosse player at both Sanford High and Plymouth State University, took over the Red Storm for the 2005 season and won the inaugural Class A state championship in her second season. She tacked on titles in 2010, 2011 and again last year and came into the 2013 campaign with 95 victories.
Scarborough started fast with easy wins at McAuley (17-2) and Bonny Eagle (12-3), then let a five-goal second half lead slip away in a stunning 8-7 home loss to Yarmouth. The Red Storm quickly bounced back with a 15-1 home romp over South Portland, then earned its biggest victory to date, 10-6, at Massabesic, putting Wood at 99 victories.
Last Thursday evening, the Red Storm trailed visiting Cheverus, 7-2, at halftime, but roared back to tie the game and force overtime, only to see the Stags score the only two goals of the extra session in a 9-7 loss. A night later, Scarborough held an 8-6 second half lead at Cape Elizabeth, but again suffered a tough defeat, 10-8.
Thornton Academy lost its opener by a goal to Kennebunk, then won six in a row coming in.
Last year, Scarborough eked out a 7-6 decision at Saco and Tuesday night's affair was just as close.
Once again, the Red Storm was hindered by a slow start, as the Golden Trojans jumped to a 2-0 lead behind goals from seniors Allison Milliard and Katelyn Pierson in the first two minutes, 24 seconds.
"They all know it, but for some reason, we don't come out on fire," Wood said. "I've tried a little bit of everything, talking about it, just letting it happen."
Scarborough broke the ice when sophomore Kaitlin Prince scored unassisted with 16:02 to play in the first half, but an unassisted goal from senior Audry Puleio put Thornton Academy ahead, 3-1.
With 3:15 to go before halftime, senior Jess Meader scored an unassisted goal to again pull the Red Storm within one, 3-2, at the break.
The second half didn't start very promising for the hosts when the Golden Trojans got a goal from junior Hannah Wuerthner (set up by junior Carly McKenna), but Jamieson answered with an unassisted goal with 15:23 to play, making the deficit one again, 4-3.
Thornton Academy answered 39 seconds later, playing man-up, as Pierson scored unassisted and with 13:09 left, McKenna struck unassisted to make it 6-3 and put Scarborough in danger of going down to defeat again.
But this time, the Red Storm answered the challenge.
The rally began with 12:44 showing, as do-everything senior Maiti Kent set up sophomore Bailey Adams for a goal. Kent then got in the scoring column with exactly 11 minutes to play, taking a pass from Prince before beating Thornton Academy senior goalie Allie McCarthy.
After Kent had a shot saved by McCarthy and Jamieson shot just over the cage, Pietras brought Scarborough even with an unassisted tally with 8:36 left.
"I feel like sometimes we don't warm up a well as we should, or don't have our heads in the game," Jamieson said. "Our offense didn't play the way we usually play in the first half. We were slow and sloppy. We didn't have a lot of energy. We talked at halftime about picking it up."
The deadlock only lasted 41 seconds, as again man-up, the Golden Trojans converted to take a 7-6 lead when Puleio set up senior Amanda Cook.
Again, the Red Storm roared right back and made it 7-7 with 7:25 to play when Adams scored an unassisted goal.
This time, Scarborough wasn't content tying the score, the Red Storm pushed to win it.
First, freshman Emma Smith was denied on a free position. Pietras then had a good look, but McCarthy made the save.
After Pietras shot high on a free position and had another shot saved, Scarborough finally broke through.
With 2:23 to play, Jamieson got the ball up top, found a hole in the defense, had a momentary good look at the goal and launched a low rocket that McCarthy couldn't handle. It tickled the twine and put the Red Storm ahead for the first time all evening, 8-7.
"I got the ball and I saw a quick opening," said Jamieson. "I knew there wasn't much time left, so I knew I should take it. I barely got it past the goalie, who played so well all game. Props to her. I saw the seam and just went for it."
"I've told the girls, it's going to be hard, but how do we persevere?" Wood said. "They all have a role. Ainsley's been working on that shot. She works hard all the time to get better and better. She and Kaitlin work well off each other."
Then, Scarborough just had to hold on.
Prince won the ensuing draw, as senior Sarah Martens scooped up a ground ball, but with just under a minute to play, the Red Storm turned it over.
The Golden Trojans would get one final look to tie, but with 13.9 seconds remaining, a shot by Pierson was turned aside by Scarborough senior goalie Meg Kirsch (nine saves).
In the ensuing scrum, Pierson was knocked to the turf field and stayed down. For precautionary purposes, she was removed from the field by paramedics as players from both teams watched with concern (Pierson's condition was not known at press time).
With just 7.3 seconds to go and after the players had been standing around for the better part of 15 minutes, the officials decided to call the game.
The Red Storm had an 8-7 triumph and Wood joined Waynflete's Cathie Connors (244 wins and counting) and Kennebunk's Annie Barker (who went past the 100 mark in 2008) as coaches in the century win club.
"It's exciting," Wood said. "It reminds me that every year, I had girls who contributed to this. My girls from 2005, who are now married and having kids, they were part of this. It's really cool to think of all the kids in Scarborough who helped build the program and who contributed to this. It was a little anti-climactic at the end there. It's unfortunate it had to end with an injury. I can understand whey they didn't want to finish."
Scarborough got two goals apiece from Adams and Jamieson and one each from Kent, Meader, Pietras and Prince. Kent and Prince had one assist each.
Thornton Academy was paced by two goals from Pierson. Cook, Puleio, McKenna, Wells and Wuerthner all had one goal. McKenna, Pierson and Puleio each had an assist.
Back on track
With Scarborough back in the win column, it hopes to finish the regular season strong. The Red Storm (third in the Western A Heal Points standings) goes to Gorham Thursday. After home games against top contenders Marshwood and Kennebunk, Scarborough closes at Windham May 29.
"We can't play 50 or 75 percent of a game," Jamieson said. "We have to play 100 percent and that has to come in the next game."
"That schedule is perfect for us," Wood said. "We need those tight games. Hopefully more will go our way. The playoffs will be interesting."
So should the next 100 victories.