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KENNEBUNK—Revenge was a dish served perfectly by the Scarborough girls’ lacrosse team Thursday night.
The Red Storm capped a 12-0 regular season by earning a small measure of payback for painful playoff losses from the past two years by winning 12-9 at nemesis Kennebunk.
Scarborough got three goals each from senior Ellie Morin and sophomore Kelsey Howard, rode a stellar effort on defense and won a majority of ground balls, thanks in large part to senior sparkplug Brittany Ross. as it twice held host Kennebunk scoreless for spans of 15-plus minutes before holding off a late Rams’ surge to cap the finest regular season in program history.
“Last year was awful and this is payback,” Morin said. “Kennebunk’s always been a rival. To come and win this game was huge. We wanted to be undefeated. We really want a state championship. In years before, some people wanted it, but this team, this year, everyone wants it. It’s our time.”
A perfect dozen
Scarborough won the initial Class A state championship in 2006 in stunning fashion, but since then, the Red Storm have known plenty of playoff heartbreak. They lost in overtime, at home no less, to Kennebunk in the 2008 regional final, then last year, after the Heal Points necessitated a showdown in the quarterfinals, two rounds sooner than the teams should have met, the Rams spoiled Scarborough’s season again, 13-9.
This year, the Red Storm entered as the Western A favorite and haven’t disappointed. Featuring a pair of players, Morin and Ross, who haven’t lost a game this entire school year, whether the sport was field hockey, basketball or lacrosse, Scarborough rolled over most of its foes and also earned inspirational wins over perennial power Yarmouth (13-9 on May 8, marking the Red Storm’s first-ever victory over the Clippers) and a 17-15 home triumph over standout Mia Rapolla and Gorham last Saturday.
Kennebunk, meanwhile, the two-time defending Western A champion, won eight of 11 coming in, falling only to two-time defending Class B champion Waynflete, Thornton Academy and Cheverus.
Thursday, Scarborough overcame an early start, took control late in the first half and held on to win at Kennebunk for the first time in program history.
The hosts scored first when junior Camille Auger set up senior Brooke Worcester for a goal less than two minutes in. The Red Storm got their first goal with 20:43 to play in the first half when Howard (from sophomore Laura Pryzbylowicz) beat Kennebunk junior goalie Kellie Renk with a shot. The Rams won the ensuing draw and went back on top 15 seconds later when junior Emily Kessel grabbed a ground ball and sent a shot past Scarborough senior goalie Marina Sterrer.
The Red Storm tied the game at 2-2 on a goal from senior Meghan Quirk (assisted by Morin) with 19:30 to play in the first half. After the hosts took their third and final lead, on junior Taylor Crowley’s unassisted goal with 14:23 remaining before halftime, Howard tied the game with a shot that was stopped a by a defender but sent past the goalie on a backwards pass.
Scarborough went ahead to stay with 9:33 left in the half when Ross set up Przybylowicz. After Red Storm senior standout Lindsay Hagerman was twice denied in close by Renk, Morin scored an unassisted goal for the the game’s first two-goal lead. Before halftime, the visitors got goals from Quirk (assisted by Ross, after a turnover) and junior Dani Foster (from Howard) to enjoy a 7-3 halftime bulge.
“Everyone on the team is giving it 100 percent effort,” Morin said. “Everyone wants to win. Tonight we prepared ourselves mentally.”
First half stats were very close, but Scarborough would eventually get some breathing room in the second half.
First, the Rams made things interesting as sophomore Kate Graydon scored unassisted 45 seconds in (ending a 15:08 drought) and Kessel (from Auger) followed with a goal to make it 7-5 with 21:49 to play.
With 20:21 to go, Crowley had a great opportunity to pull Kennebunk even closer, but after taking a pass from Kessel, she shot wide of an open net and the Red Storm would answer with five straight goals.
With 15:46 to play, Prybylowicz scored unassisted as her pass toward the goal trickled through the defense and Renk into the net. Scarborough then won the ensuing draw, got the ball to Ross, who passed to Hagerman, who scored for a 9-5 lead.
Free position goals from Morin, Morin again and Howard made it 12-5 with 8 minutes to play, causing Kenenbunk to call timeout.
The Rams would rally, but ran out of time.
An unassisted goal from sophomore Allison Bush with 5:49 left ended a 16 minute lapse. Crowley (from Kessel) followed with a goal a minute later to make it 12-7. Kessel scored on a free position with 3:41 left, but Sterrer came up with two big saves, denying junior Molly Centore in close and Kessel on a free position. With 28.6 seconds remaining, Auger set up Worcester for a goal, but that’s as close as the hosts would get and Scarborough won the ensuing draw, ran out the clock and celebrated the 12-9 victory.
“We lost here last year when we expected to go further,” Ross said. “It feels good to win here and finish our season undefeated. It’s amazing. I haven’t lost a game since my junior year.”
“This field is a little different,” Wood said. “It’s hard when you’re so used to turf. It’s a rough field to play on, but they wanted it. They remembered from last year what it felt like. We went back and forth for a little while, then we possessed the ball.”
While Howard and Morin both had three goals and one assist, Przybylowicz (one assist) and Quirk had two goals each and Foster and Hagerman each scored once.
“We play well as a team,” Morin said. “When we wait for the right shot and pass and play to win, it takes us to the end. (Lindsay and I) know we’ll get marked, but we have other girls who can shoot. We’re all even players. We don’t count on just me and Lindsay. We have a lot of depth on the team. A lot of good players coming up. We’ll be good next year too.”
Ross added three assists.
“I’m not really a scorer,” Ross said. “I just feed it to people.”
“Brittany puts in her effort and it shows and helps us a lot,” Morin said.
Sterrer made nine saves.
Scarborough won 15 of 23 draws, had a 25-21 advantage in shots on goal (22-18 in shots on frame), forced 25 turnovers (while committing 28) and won 47 ground balls to 35 for the Rams. Morin had a game-high eight, Quirk grabbed seven and sophomore Kat Gadbois, Hagerman and Ross all had six.
“Brittany had a fantastic game today,” Wood said. “Our goalie was on, our defense was communicating, our transition and offense were working. That’s when we’re really good. (Ellie and Lindsay) both know they can score. They need to learn to set other people up. Not just for this team, but to get the girls ready for seasons to come.”
For Kennebunk, Kessel finished with three goals, Crowley and Worcester each had two and Bush and Graydon added one each. Kessel had an assist and Auger finished with three. Renk stopped 10 shots.
The Rams wound up 8-4 and project to be the No. 4 seed for the Western A playoffs, which will mean a home quarterfinal round game on June 9 and if victorious, a trip to Scarborough for the semifinals three days later.
The Red Storm, meanwhile, will be first in the region, but won’t play again until June 12, although they do plan to scrimmage some top Class B teams, including two-time defending state champion Waynflete next Thursday at 4 p.m., at Scarborough High.
This team, for good reason, has very high hopes.
“Lacrosse isn’t really my sport, but I hope to go all the way and win another state championship,” said Ross. “We’ve meshed well together as a team this year. We know where each other are. We’d much rather play on turf than on grass. It’s an advantage for us. We need to stay focused and play as a team.”
“We have to practice hard and keep it going,” said Morin. “I’ve won in field hockey and basketball, but lacrosse is my sport. I want it more than anything.”
“I wanted to be part of something magical,” Wood added. “We try not to talk too much about the undefeated thing. We want to win a state championship. We have a long time until our next game. We need to stay focused and keep our eye on the prize.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org