Scarborough gets defensive, blanks Cheverus in quarterfinals

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Scarborough junior goalie Abby Roy, senior Tegan Tanner (arms raised) and junior Ainslie Allen, right, celebrate at the final horn of the Red Storm’s 2-0 win over Cheverus in Wednesday’s Class A South quarterfinal.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Press Herald photos.

More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—If it’s mid-October, Scarborough’s field hockey team must be off to the regional semifinals.

Wednesday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, the third-seeded Red Storm hosted No. 6 Cheverus in the Class A South quarterfinals and thanks to a superb effort at both ends of the field, Scarborough managed to advance to the semifinals for the 11th time in the last dozen years.

The Red Storm got off a fast start when sophomore Bella Turner scored just 87 seconds into the game.

Scarborough was then put to the test as Stags senior standout Sophia Pompeo put on a ball-handling show, but with juniors Ainslie Allen and Hannah Dobecki leading a solid line of defense and junior goalie Abby Roy coming up huge when she was tested, the Red Storm protected their 1-0 lead into the half.

Dobecki then produced a huge insurance goal with 20:51 to play and Scarborough wasn’t about to relinquish that lead as it went on to a 2-0 victory.

The Red Storm improved to 12-2-1, ended Cheverus’ season at 9-7 and advanced to visit No. 2 Westbrook (13-1-1) in the semifinals Saturday at 11 a.m.

“We’ve had a great defense all season,” said longtime Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “That’s gotten us where we are. It was outstanding job by all of them. Just when (Cheverus) had a glimpse of hope, we stopped them, or Abby made a save.”

Worth the wait

Between 2009 and 2012 Cheverus and Scarborough matched up in three memorable playoff games, but the rivals hadn’t met in the postseason since, despite consistently being among the top teams in the region.

This year has been more of the same (see sidebar, below, for links to previous stories).

The Red Storm produced their 13th consecutive double-digit regular season, going 11-2-1, good for the No. 3 seed in Class A South.

The Stags went 8-6 in the regular season and wound up sixth. Saturday, Cheverus outlasted No. 11 Massabesic in a preliminary round thriller, 5-4, in overtime, on Pompeo’s goal on a penalty stroke, her third of the contest.

On Oct. 3, host Scarborough downed Cheverus, 2-0, behind two goals from Turner.

Entering play Wednesday, the Red Storm had won two prior playoff meetings to the Stags’ one (see sidebar, below). 

This time around, on a chilly (48-degree) evening, Scarborough protected its home turf and advanced.

Unlike two weeks ago, when the Red Storm were on the defensive from the start, they forced the action and with 28:33 on the first half clock, Turner got to a loose ball in front and sent it past Stags junior goalie Hannah Woodford and into the cage for a quick 1-0 lead.

“We were so pumped up and ready to play,” Dobecki said. “We knew Cheverus was a talented team, so we knew we had to work that much harder and have that much more energy.”

“That was enormous,” said Mariello. “When you get the sense of being in the driver’s seat from the start and get the jitters out right away, that helped our team for sure.

“Bella has come a long way. She’s only a sophomore and she has a great future. She’s improved her game, especially in the circle.”

After Allen broke up a rush by Pompeo, Scarborough junior Caroline Timpson had a great look with a reverse shot, but it went just wide of the goal.

That led Stags coach Sally Cloutier to call timeout.

“I have a very young defense and I think a few girls were really nervous in the backfield and we were off our game right out of the blocks,” said Cloutier. 

Cheverus responded and began to pressure.

First, Pompeo dribbled through four defenders, but when she got into the circle, Allen knocked the ball away again.

With 16:29 left in the half, the Stags produced their first shot, as Pompeo set up senior Haylee Hinkle, but Roy made the save.

Cheverus kept the ball in the circle and got two more shots on cage, but Roy dove and knocked them both away.

After Dobecki broke up a Pompeo rush. Pompeo took a shot from the side which Roy kicked away.

“(Sophia’s) so incredibly talented and is so cool to play against,” Dobecki said. “We knew we had to slow her down and block her to make it a close game.”

With 8:04 remaining before halftime, senior Tegan Tanner blocked Pompeo’s shot on a corner.

Dobecki then twice blocked shots by sophomore Lucia Pompeo off corners.

“I just tried to read where they were trying to go,” Dobecki said. “We played so well as a team. We work hard on defense and we have a great offense to practice against.”

As time expired in the half, the Stags earned another corner and after a Scarborough violation, Cheverus got one more chance and Lucia Pompeo got a shot off, but it bounced off the outside of the far post to keep the score 1-0 Red Storm at the break.

“You can never trust one goal, especially against Cheverus,” said Mariello. “They can score goals in a short amount of time. I was glad the defense pulled through.”

In the first half, the Stags had a 6-5 advantage in penalty corners and a 4-1 edge in shots on cage, but Roy stopped them all.

When the second half began, Sophia Pompeo tried again to pull her team even, but at the last second, senior Anna Walker broke up her rush.

Scarborough then doubled its lead with 20:51 remaining, as off a penalty corner, Dobecki got to a rebound and finished to make it 2-0.

“The ball came across and had my stick ready to get the ball in,” Dobecki said. “I knew someone had to score to give us some breathing room. That goal felt incredible.”

The Stags refused to go quietly, but Roy saved a shot by Lucia Pompeo, Dobecki cleared away a Cheverus corner and Roy denied a bid by senior Bella Booth bringing the curtain down on the Red Storm’s 2-0 victory.

“It was nice to see them two weeks ago and see their game plan,” Mariello said. “We knew Sophia is the nucleus of that team and everything is distributed from her. She was a focus and it was a challenge.”

Scarborough had an 11-10 edge in corners and got eight saves from Roy.

Cheverus finished with an 8-5 advantage in shots on cage. Woodford made three saves.

“We worked hard and I’m proud of everybody on our team, but we just couldn’t finish,” said Sophia Pompeo, who plans to play at Providence College next year. “(Scarborough’s) a great team with a great defense.

“I’m just glad I could play at a program  like Cheverus. Everyone was so supportive of each other. I had great coaches and I’m really going to miss it.”

“It was a tough loss,” Cloutier said. “We were ready, but unfortunately, their defense was really, really strong. They stopped everything. Even when we were in the circle, we couldn’t get through. Credit to them. They stood tall.

“The girls had a great season. We had a lot of great games. I’m proud of them. These girls have worked super-hard for me. They’re great kids.

“I’m proud of my seniors. All of them. It’s sad to see them go.”

Winging it to Westbrook

Scarborough dropped a 2-1 overtime home decision to Westbrook Sept. 15.

The Red Storm have won two of three prior playoff encounters, with a 3-0 victory in the 2012 Western A semifinals the most recent.

With most pundits focusing on a possible Biddeford-Westbrook regional final, Scarborough is primed to crash the party.

“We were so upset about how last game ended up,” Dobecki said. “We’ll have to push that much harder this time because we want it so much more. We’ll give our all because we want to win.”

“We played a good first game against Westbrook and we know a lot of their strengths,” Mariello said. “Granted, it’s on grass, but we’ll make adjustments and hopefully come to play. We have to continue with our momentum.”

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

Cheverus senior Sophia Pompeo races up the field as Scarborough senior Caitlin Tyrrell and Julia Booth-Howe give chase.

Scarborough Caroline Timpson races in on goal as Cheverus senior Anna Sawicki defends.

Scarborough senior Lillian Erickson knocks the ball away from Cheverus freshman Norah Slattery.

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