Scarborough boys continue to round into form with win at Cheverus

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Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team celebrates one of its four goals during Tuesday’s 4-0 win at Cheverus in a regional final rematch. 

Joe Carpine photos.

More photos below.

PORTLAND—Reports of the Scarborough boys’ soccer team’s demise were premature.

The Red Storm, who suffered two home losses in their first four games this fall, have come to life and are again making life miserable for the opposition.

Just ask the Cheverus Stags.

Tuesday afternoon at Boulos Stadium, Scarborough controlled play virtually throughout, but it took awhile to put the ball in the net.

After several close calls, Scarborough broke through with 2:04 to play in the first half when out of a scrum, senior Noah Stracqualursi  finished for a 1-0 lead.

In the second half, the Red Storm quickly ended all doubt.

In a 2 minute, 18 second span, Stracqualursi set up senior Garrett King for a goal, then finished a feed from senior Marc Guerette to make it 3-0.

The Stracqualursi-to-King combination struck again with just over eight minutes to go and the Red Storm went on to a 4-0 victory.

Scarborough made it three straight wins, improved to 5-2, beat Cheverus for the third consecutive time and dropped the Stags to 4-5 in the process.

“We’re playing better,” said longtime Red Storm coach Mark Diaz. “We’re more composed now. Cheverus is well organized. They’re a good team, so we’re happy with the result today.” 

Coming alive

Over the past 13 seasons, the Red Storm beat the Stags in 13 of 15 meetings with Cheverus winning once and the other ending in a tie. Scarborough has outscored Cheverus, 39-8, in the process (see sidebar, below).

After the Stags shocked the Red Storm in the 2014 regional final en route to their improbable state championship, Scarborough got back on track last fall, winning at home in the regular season, 4-2, then downing Cheverus in a regional final rematch, 2-0.

“That (2014) loss has been motivation for the past two years now,” King said. “We’ve worked from that ever since.”

This fall, both teams have had their ups and downs.

The Stags opened with 1-0 losses to visiting Portland and host Marshwood, then beat host Massabesic, 3-1. After a 4-2 home loss to Westbrook, Cheverus defeated visiting Noble (5-0) and host Windham (4-1). The Stags lost at Thornton Academy, 2-0, last Thursday, then blanked visiting Biddeford, 3-0, Saturday.

Scarborough opened the 2016 campaign with a 1-0 home loss to Deering, then enjoyed wins at Sanford (4-1) and Bonny Eagle (3-0). After letting a 1-0 lead slip away in a 2-1 home loss to Gorham, the Red Storm beat host South Portland (1-0) and visiting Biddeford (9-1). 

“Gorham was a big wakeup call,” Stracqualursi said. “We had to get people on the field who really wanted it.”

“Losing was humbling,” said King. “We have a lot of seniors, but not a lot of them had a lot of playing time. They learned that they had to want to win.”

Tuesday, on a very pleasant afternoon (especially considering the dreary and rainy morning that preceded it), Cheverus hoped to beat Scarborough for the second time ever, but the Red Storm carried play almost throughout.

The first chance came just 32 seconds in, when Guerette managed a shot from the side, but Stags senior goalkeeper Will Peterson made the save.

A little over a minute in, a nice run form junior Alex Dobecki resulted in a cross to King, but King’s one-timer was just wide of the near post.

After King headed a corner wide, Scarborough senior goalkeeper Chris Franklin’s free kick from midfield bounced off the head of junior Jared Greenleaf toward a streaking King, but Peterson got to the ball first.

After Guerette shot high and wide, Peterson beat senior Cam Thibault to a through ball from junior Brandon Wasser. 

With 15:28 left in the first half, the Red Storm sideline was apoplectic as after a throw from the side landed in the box, it was cleared in large part because King was pushed in the back with no call being made.

In the 31st minute, senior Justin Perry set up senior Alex Giles for a one-timer just wide. A minute later, Stracqualursi set up Perry, whose shot forced Peterson to go sprawling to come up with the ball.

With 5:11 left, King set up Perry for a shot just wide.

King then missed high and Stracqualursi, after taking a pass from sophomore Noah Drapeau, was robbed in front.

The goal came with 2:04 to go and it wasn’t a thing of beauty, unless you cheer for Scarborough.

The ball came in front, bounced off King, deflected off a Cheverus defender and found its way to Stracqualursi, who buried it for a 1-0 lead.

“Everyone was in the box,” Stracqualursi said. “Garrett flicked it on to me and after missing shots, I wanted nothing more than to put it in the net and I hit it as hard as I could.”

“Noah picked his spots today,” Diaz said. “He was patient. He was great today, no question.” 

The Stags earned a corner kick as time wound down, but couldn’t manage a shot (they didn’t have one all half) and the contest went to halftime with the Red Storm clinging to the lead.

In the second half, Scarborough kept the pressure on and pulled away.

After Perry’s soft shot off a corner was saved by Peterson, senior Spencer Pettingill set up Stracqualursi in the box, but his header was saved.

With 36:14 to go, King had a great look in front, but shot high.

Then, the Red Storm doubled their lead.

With 35:38 to play, Stracqualursi got free on the right side, dribbled toward the goal, then crossed the ball in front to a wide open King, who buried the shot to make it 2-0.

“There’s always frustration when you miss shots, but you have to keep pushing and eventually one will go in,” King said. “Noah beats players and if he’s one-on-one, I get in the box because I know he’ll beat his defender.”

“Anyone can score, so it’s about who has the best opportunity at the time,” said Stracqualursi. “When (Garrett) has the ball, I feel good.”

“We’ve been getting frustrated in the past when we missed opportunities, but we’ve learned how to grind it out,” Diaz said. “The mental effort has improved. You have to come back and get ready for the next play. Garrett did that and that’s what we’re preaching.”

After giving, Stracqualursi got to receive with 33:20 left, as he made a nice run, took a pass from Guerette, then sent a one-timer past Peterson, who had come out to make a play and Scarborough was firmly in command, up, 3-0.

With 24 minutes left, Peterson was pulled for freshman Harrison Bell and Bell made a nice save on a long left-footed blast from Perry.

With 13:47 remaining, Cheverus got its first and only shot on goal, but Dionne’s long, low bid was snared by Franklin. 

After King had a shot blocked on a corner kick, Stags sophomore James Shimansky had his team’s best chance, but his shot went just wide. 

The Red Storm then struck again, as Stracqualursi made a rush up the middle, passed ahead to King on the left wing and King buried his shot past Bell to make it 4-0 with 8:25 to play.

Scarborough had two final chances, but junior Marco Manfra was denied by Bell and sophomore Colin McLeod was robbed by a diving Bell with just under two minutes remaining.

The Red Storm then closed out their four-goal victory.

Scarborough finished with a 14-1 shots advantage and a 6-2 edge in corners. Franklin only had to make one save. 

Cheverus got five saves apiece from Bell and Peterson.

“Scarborough’s a seasoned group and they’re ready to compete right now for a state championship and we’re not at that level,” said Stags first-year coach Matt Andreasen. “The biggest discrepancy today was physical. Their size and speed. They seem to be first to every ball. Every second ball, they seem to be there. They’re physically on another level. Obviously, they broke us down at the end of the first half, then the floodgates opened. We’re a young team. I think you’d be hard pressed a team that plays a younger core. I start seven sophomores.”

Up for grabs

While Gorham and Deering are undefeated and Falmouth figures to be a handful in the playoffs, the league is very much up for grabs this fall and Cheverus and Scarborough hope to peak at the right time.

The Stags (now 13th in the Class A South Heal Points standings) hope to bounce back Thursday at Bonny Eagle, then host Gorham and visit South Portland next week.

“It’s been a growing process, but it’s been fun,” Andreasen said. “We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there slowly. Rome wasn’t built in a day. We have good pieces here. We’re trying to be competitive this year for our seniors, but we also have an eye on the future. We hope to sneak into the playoffs and get hot at the right time. You never know what can happen.” 

The Red Storm (sixth in Class A South) visit Portland Friday and sandwich home games versus Westbrook and Noble around a visit to Thornton Academy next week.

“I think if we keep our work ethic, we’ll be a hard team to beat,” Stracqualursi said. 

“We’re still Scarborough, so we get everyone’s best game,” King said. “We have to work through that. We just want to win.”

“We’re heading in the right direction,” Diaz added. “We have to move the ball better. We’re still experimenting with some stuff. It’s a different challenge this year. I’ve had to change my mindset a little bit and that’s fine. I’ve had to get better too. The kids are buying in and that’s the key. We have to understand there will be tough moments and challenges. We have another tough one Friday. We want to play our best at the end. That’s what we’re striving for. We don’t care where we are in the standings and where to play. We’ll show up and play our best.”

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

Scarborough junior Owen Tyson skies to head the ball as Cheverus freshman Ethan Hammond looks on.

Scarborough senior goalkeeper Chris Franklin booms the ball.

Scarborough junior Alex Dobecki heads the ball away from Cheverus junior Hunter Johnson.

Cheverus junior Evan Bergeron skies to head the ball as Scarborough junior Brandon Wasser looks on.

Cheverus freshman Ethan Hammond plays the ball while Scarborough junior Alex Dobecki, left, and junior Jared Greenleaf give chase.

Previous Cheverus-Scarborough meetings


@ Scarborough 4 Cheverus 2
Class A South Final
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0 


@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0
Western A Final
Cheverus 3 @ Scarborough 2 (2 OT) 


Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 0


@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 1


Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 0


@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0


Scarborough 5 @ Cheverus 0


@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 1


Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 0


@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0


@ Cheverus 1 Scarborough 1 (tie)


Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 0


@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 0

Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.