SCARBOROUGH—In a scoreless game, pressure builds with each tick of the clock. In overtime it reaches its peak. With each throw in, every corner kick, the tension builds. Each shot could be the last.
Eventually, the balloon must pop. For one team the celebration begins and for the other the dance ends.
Scarborough senior Nate Tolman did the honors Wednesday in the Western Class A championship game, scoring nine minutes into overtime, as the Red Storm defeated Windham at home, 1-0.
The victory sends Scarborough to its second straight Class A state championship game. Saturday, the Red Storm will face Brunswick in Scarborough at 10 a.m. The game’s site was announced Tuesday by the Maine Principals’ Association. Brunswick, the second seed in the East, defeated previously undefeated top-ranked Bangor, 2-1, in overtime, Wednesday night, in the Eastern A Final.
Last year, Scarborough defeated Bangor for the state title in a game eerily similar to Wednesday’s. It was scoreless going into overtime, with Red Storm players on the sideline nervously kicking the turf with each turnover, pulling at the their mohawks or dyed red hair with each missed scoring opportunity. Eventually, then-senior Ian Philbrick ended it, just as Tolman did this time.
Wednesday, in OT, senior standout Trevor Hoxsie took the ball from the right corner and played it back to senior Chase Beech. Beech cut towards the middle, found some open space and passed back to the top of the box where Tolman was waiting.
“I just waited for the pass, took a touch and tried to go back post,” Tolman said.
And what was he thinking as he lined up the game-winner?
“Don’t miss. Don’t miss this,” he said, after the game.
Scarborough coach Mark Diaz was impressed with his player’s composure in close to the goal in such a pressure-packed moment.
“Chase saw a lane and cut inside,” Diaz said. “He had a chance to tee that up and shoot and in a game like that you usually do, but he showed a lot of composure. (Beech and Tolman) were both so composed, which is pretty amazing considering it was overtime in the Western Maine Final.”
The whole play was setup by Hoxsie. He muscled his way into the corner, gained possession under tight pressure and got the ball back to Beech.
“Teams are double and tripling (Hoxsie),” Diaz said. “We’ve been telling him, and he has been really good about it, you have to use your help. He did that and got it back to Chase.”
Both teams had multiple scoring chances in regulation but were unable to finish. The Red Storm had a free kick from just outside the box 10 minutes into the first half, but weren’t able to get it beyond Windham’s wall. Minutes later, they had a shot miss just over the crossbar.
Diaz noticed frustration in the body language of both Tolman and Hoxsie after a few close calls and quickly barked at his veterans to correct the problem. He didn’t want the Windham defense to gain any extra momentum.
Visibly frustrated or not, the Red Storm were still unable to get a shot past Windham goalie Nick Taylor until overtime.
Windham (which played much better than it did in a 6-0 home loss to Scarborough on Oct. 8) had plenty of offensive chances of its own, including three corners in a 10 minute span in the second half, but the Scarborough defense and senior goalie Tennessee Peters were up to the task.
“We haven’t had a lot of shots on us all year, so tonight was a real test for the defense,” Peters said. “I am just relieved now that it is over.”
Wednesday’s victory was Scarborough’s 35th in a row dating back to a semifinal round loss to Greely (on penalty kicks) in 2007. While Scarborough has appeared in six of the last seven Western Maine finals, and now five of the last seven State Championship games, this year’s team has a chance to do what none of the others have done-win back-to-back state titles. When the Red Storm defeated Mt. Ararat in 2005 for the championship, they lost to Bangor (in OT) the following year.
Now, they get a chance to do it on their home turf.
Scarborough junior Matt Graef kept the ball away from a Portland defender Saturday during the Red Storm’s 7-2 semifinal round victory. Scarborough repeated as regional champion Wednesday night with a victory over Windham.