Scarborough girls hold off improved Biddeford in opener

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Scarborough junior goalie Sami Shoebottom makes one of her 12 clutch saves during the Red Storm’s 11-9 win over Biddeford in the teams’ mutual season opener Tuesday.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 11 Biddeford 9

B- 5 4- 9
S- 6 5- 11

First half
24:22 S Emma Smith (free position)
23:23 B C. McKeown (Hout)
23:32 B P. McKeown (unassisted)
21:47 S Sargent (Neelon)
21:23 S Corbin (Nygren)
11:17 S Corbin (free position)
9:14 B Huot (unassisted)
8:55 S Sargent (Ellie Smith)
7:58 S Corbin (Emma Smith)
5:44 B Turgeon (unassisted)
4:32 B Turgeon (unassisted) 

Second half
24:14 B Turgeon (unassisted)
21:12 S Corbin (Nygren)
17:37 S Emma Smith (free position) (MAN-UP)
15:29 B Huot (unassisted)
11:15 Turgeon (unassisted)
10:26 S Ellie Smith (Levesque) (MAN-DOWN)
8:13 S Ellie Smith (free position)
7:01 S Ellie Smith (free position)
3:16 B Allen (unassisted)

Goals:

B- Turgeon 4, Huot 2, Allen, C. McKeown, P. McKeown 1
S-Corbin 4, Ellie Smith 3, Sargent, Emma Smith 2

Assists:
B- Huot 1
S- Nygren 2, Levesque, Neelon, Ellie Smith, Emma Smith 1

Draws (Biddeford, 13-9)
B-C. McKeown 11 of 17, Turgeon 1 of 2, Laverriere 0 of 2, P. McKeown 1 of 1
S- Emma Smith 4 of 13, Ellie Smith 5 of 9

Ground balls (Biddeford, 40-28)
B- Guay, Laverriere, C. McKeown 6, P. McKeown 5, Huot, Turgeon 4, Laflamme, Speight 2, Allen, Chantigny, Fitzgerald, Lamoureux, Reissfelder 1
S- Ellie Smith 5, Emma Smith 4, Jamieson, Nygren 3, Crovo, Lacognata, McCown, Shoebottom 2, Corbin, Hassler, Levesque, Neelon, Stolz 1

Turnovers:
B- 21
S- 19

Shots:
B- 30
S- 21

Shots on cage:
B- 21
S- 15

Saves:
B (Gilliam) 4
S (Shoebottom) 12

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s promising girls’ lacrosse team got a stern test in its regular season opener Tuesday afternoon, but it served notice that its immediate future is bright by passing with flying colors.

The Red Storm hosted upstart Biddeford at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex and needed all 50 minutes to escape the improved and upset-minded Tigers.

Scarborough got three first half goals from senior captain Abby Corbin and two more from senior Jamie Sargent, but Biddeford refused to wilt and when senior Taylor Turgeon scored her second goal, the Tigers only trailed by just one, 6-5, at halftime.

Were it not for five saves from Red Storm junior goalie Sami Shoebottom, Biddeford might have had the lead.

Sturgeon pulled the visitors even 46 seconds into the second half, but goals from Corbin and senior captain Emma Smith made it 8-6 in favor of the home team.

Again, the Tigers responded and when Sturgeon scored her final goal, with 11:15 to play, the score was 8-8 and it was anyone’s contest.

Enter Red Storm sophomore Ellie Smith, who put her team on top for good with 10:26 remaining and added two goals in quick succession for a three-goal cushion.

Biddeford fought hard to the end, but Shoebottom stood tall and Scarborough managed its 12th straight season-opening victory, 11-9.

Corbin scored four times, Ellie Smith added three goals and Shoebottom made 12 huge saves to spark the victory.

“I’m so happy with how the girls performed,” said Red Storm first-year coach Stephanie Belanger. “The girls gave 100 percent and played with their hearts. Biddeford has improved. We had to stay mentally checked into the game the whole time. We just had to go with the flow of the game. It’s not always how you plan it.”

High hopes

Scarborough got to the Western A Final a year ago before losing to eventual state champion Marshwood, 16-3. The Red Storm then suffered their customary graduation losses of several standout players and for the second straight year, underwent a coaching change as well, as Belanger replaced Michaela Wipfler. 

Biddeford went 7-5 a year ago and was ousted by Marshwood in the quarterfinals.

The teams first met in 2014, a 12-1 home victory for the Red Storm. Last season, Scarborough won at Biddeford, 13-6. 

Tuesday, on a quintessential New England spring day (stick around five minutes and the weather will change), the Red Storm got their season off on the right foot.

Emma Smith won the draw to open the game and Scarborough parlayed that into the first goal of the season, as Smith converted a free position 38 seconds in for a 1-0 lead.

The Tigers answered, as senior Camryn McKeown won three successive draws and after senior Missy Huot set up McKeown for the tying goal, an unassisted tally from sophomore Peyton McKeown made it 2-1 Biddeford with 22:32 to play in the first half.

The Red Storm tied the game on a pretty transition goal, as sophomore Maegon Neelon fed Sargent and with 21:23 left in the half, junior Lily Nygren set up Corbin for her first goal and a 3-2 advantage.

Neither team would score for the next 12 minutes. 

Shoebottom hinted at her big game to come when she denied free positions from Camryn McKeown and senior Dominique Chantigny to preserve the lead.

Scarborough finally broke the drought when Corbin converted a free position, but the Tigers snapped their 13 minute, 18 second drought when Huot scored unassisted with 9:14 to go in the half.

The Red Storm appeared to get some breathing room when Ellie Smith set up Sargent for a transition goal and Emma Smith fed Corbin to make it 6-3 with 7:58 remaining in the half, but Turgeon put back her own miss off a free position and Turgeon added an unassisted goal to make it very much a game, 6-5, at halftime.

In the first half, Biddeford won eight of 12 draws and had an advantage in ground balls and shots, but five Shoebottom saves kept Scarborough on top.

There was little separation in the second half as well.

Just 46 seconds in, Turgeon continued her dominance with an unassisted goal to make it 6-6.

After Corbin hit the post and Emma Smith had a shot denied by Tigers sophomore goalie Eliza Gilliam, Nygren set up Corbin for a 7-6 lead with 21:12 remaining.

After Biddeford senior Dominique Chantigny was sent off for two minutes with a yellow card, the Red Storm added a goal when Emma Smith scored on a free position to make it 8-6.

Undaunted, the Tigers roared back behind an unassisted goal from Huot and an unassisted goal from Turgeon to re-tie the contest, 8-8, with 11:15 to play.

Scarborough faced a crossroads and in an auspicious sign, the Red Storm responded in impressive fashion.

Ellie Smith’s first goal came with 10:26 left (Amelia Levesque had the assist) and Scarborough was on top to stay, 9-8.

Biddeford freshman Paige Laverriere almost tied it off the ensuing draw, but Shoebottom wasn’t about to let it happen and made the save.

Ellie Smith extended the lead to 10-8 with 8:13 to go, finishing a free position, and Tigers coach (and former Red Storm standout) Caitlin Albert called timeout.

It didn’t help, as Smith again got a free position opportunity with 7:01 left and beat Gilliam again for an 11-8 advantage.

“I picked a corner and just bounced it low,” Smith said.

“Ellie has played a lot of different midfield positions and she’s stepped up as a sophomore,” Belanger said. “She’s showed a lot of skill. She’s a key player for us.”

Scarborough wasn’t about to close it out easily, as Biddeford kept the pressure on.

With 3:16 remaining, Haley Allen scored unassisted to pull the Tigers within two.

Then, after Camryn McKeown won the ensuing draw, Huot ran in free with a golden opportunity to cut the deficit to a single goal and make things very interesting, but Shoebottom made her biggest save of the game to slam the door.

“As a goalie, you have to come up big,” Shoebottom said. “I couldn’t let the team down. That was a save I had to make.”

“Sami has come a long way,” Belanger said. “We’ve worked with her. She’s a solid goalkeeper. Mentally, physically. She’s checked into the game all the time.”

The Red Storm managed to run out the clock from there and prevailed, 11-9.

“I think nobody knows about us because we lost key girls,” said Shoebottom. “The program is strong. We’re not a one-person team and we can hold our own.”

“Biddeford was great competition,” Belanger said. “This year, I think across the board, every single team we play will be strong. We kept our heads up. Jitters always happen first game. Once we got going, we bonded together.”

Scarborough got goals from four girls, as Corbin scored four times, Ellie Smith finished with three and Sargent and Emma Smith had two apiece.

Nygren had two assists, while Levesque, Neelon, Ellie Smith and Emma Smith all had one.

Shoebottom was a difference-maker with 12 saves.

“It was good to see a lot of shots,” Shoebottom said. “I don’t have my mojo going yet. I didn’t know if I was going to stop shots since I wasn’t used to it. Once I got going, everything was normal.”

Ellie Smith had a team-high five ground balls. The Red Storm overcame 19 turnovers by forcing 21. 

Biddeford’s offense featured four goals from Turgeon, two from Huot and one apiece from Allen, Camry McKeown and Peyton McKeown.

Huot had an assist. Gilliam made four saves.

The Tigers had a 13-9 edge in draws (Camryn McKeown won 11 of her 17 opportunities), a 40-28 advantage in ground balls (Laverriere, Camryn McKeown and junior Rebekah Guay all had six) and outshot the hosts, 30-21 (21-15 on frame).

Many tests ahead

While Biddeford returns to action Monday at Portland, Scarborough is idle until next Thursday, when it too hosts the Bulldogs, a regional finalist a year ago. The Red Storm then go to perennial powerhouse Waynflete April 30.

This is a team that will only get better.

“We have to get used to playing zone defense,” Ellie Smith said. “We can’t force passes. We have to look for our open teammates when we’re running down the field.”

“There are some things to clean up,” Belanger said. “There’s a ton of potential. It’ll take a few weeks to get to where we want to be. We have the skill. We just have to push the girls to take their game to the next level.”

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

Scarborough sophomore Ellie Smith chases down a loose ball. Smith had three goals in the win.

Scarborough sophomore Elizabeth Lacognata fires a first half shot.

Scarborough senior captain Abby Corbin possesses as Biddeford senior Mia Laflamme defends. Corbin scored four times to spark the victory.

Scarborough senior Emma Smith gets some shooting space.

Scarborough senior Jamie Sargent attempts to shoot past Biddeford sophomore Serena Speight and sophomore goalie Eliza Gilliam.

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