The perfect Red Storm of Scarborough are just one win from their second girls’ lacrosse Class A state championship.
Top-ranked Scarborough, 12-0 in the regular season, avenged playoff losses from 2008 and 2009 Saturday when it pulled away in the second half to vanquish No. 4 Kennebunk, 11-3, then won the region Wednesday night with a hard-fought, come-from-behind, 15-14, overtime, home win over No. 3 Gorham. The Red Storm will meet surprising Mt. Ararat (10-4) in Saturday’s Class A Final (Saturday, 3 p.m., at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland).
Cape Elizabeth’s title quest ended in agony. The Capers, ranked third in Western B, led No. 2 Falmouth for most of Saturday’s semifinal, but wound up falling, 11-10, ending the year 8-5.
Fourteen down, one to go
Scarborough’s success this spring was anticipated. If it wasn’t enough that this group was angry and hungry after last year’s loss, the Red Storm also benefited from the presence of seniors Ellie Morin and Brittany Ross, who hadn’t lost a game this school year in leading both field hockey and girls’ basketball to first-ever titles. Scarborough was only tested three times in the regular season, but held off host Yarmouth (13-9), visiting Gorham (17-15) and host Kennebunk (12-9) as it wound up 12-0 and first in the region.
Saturday, at home against the No. 4 Rams, the Red Storm were tied late in the first half of their semifinal, 3-3, but with 3 minutes to go, senior Lindsay Hagerman set up sophomore Mary Scott for the go-ahead goal and Morin scored twice early in the second half as Scarborough gradually pulled away for an 11-3 triumph.
“At halftime I said to them, ‘How bad do you want it and how hard are you willing to work for it?’ said Red Storm coach Marcia Wood. “We kept them scoreless in the second half and to do that against a team like Kennebunk is just phenomenal. Our goalie, (senior) Marina Sterrer, really stepped up her game in the second half making 10 crucial saves. Our defense played strong and everyone did their part to get the win. It was a whole team effort having six different people score. Toward the end of the game, we really took care of the ball and made good decisions on when to go to goal. It feels great to be able to get past a team as talented as Kennebunk and to be able to do it as a team.”
Morin had three goals, Hagerman, Ross and sophomore Maggie Smith all scored twice.
Scarborough and Gorham met for the first time in the playoffs Wednesday night in the regional final and once again, goals were plentiful. The Rams led most of the way and were up 12-9 in the second half before the Red Storm rallied to tie the game at 12-12. Gorham went back on top, 13-12, but a Scott goal forced overtime where Morin and sophomore Kelsey Howard scored. The Rams got one back, but it wasn’t enough and Scarborough celebrated its 15-14 victory.
“I have gray hair and a shortness of breath after that one,” Wood said. “It was a shootout. I figured it would be like that. We wanted to take some time off the clock, but Gorham came out fighting. We had to make it into a track meet. Every time we scored, they scored. We had to dig deep.”
Hagerman scored four times, while Morin and Ross each had three goals.
“Brittany had some real hustle plays on a hurt ankle,” said Wood. She and Ellie don’t know how to lose.”
The Red Storm beat visiting Mt. Ararat, 14-9, on May 14. The teams have no playoff history.
Scarborough is just one win away from the pinnacle and doesn’t plan to fall short.
“Mt. Ararat makes me nervous,” said Wood. “They beat (two-time defending state champion) Brunswick twice. Obviously, they’re doing something right. They’ve improved since our last game. We feel pretty confident. We played absolutely horrendous last time, but still won. We’ll go in and play our game.”
Not this year
Cape Elizabeth, a regional finalist in 2009, entered the 2010 season as a young, untested squad, but was competitive throughout, winning eight of 12 games to earn the No. 3 seed in Western B. Back on April 29, the Capers rallied from an early deficit, took a lead, but couldn’t hold on in an 11-8 overtime loss at Falmouth. Saturday’s semifinal round contest would have a similar result.
This time, Cape Elizabeth led throughout, held a 6-4 advantage at halftime and was up 10-8 late in the second half before the Yachtsmen rallied to tie, then went up, 11-10, on junior Laura Fay’s goal with 1:13 left. The Capers won the ensuing draw, but committed a turnover and saw their season end at 8-5 with the excruciating loss.
“It was a tough game,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Kurt Chapin. “I felt like we dictated the pace of the game and played well. We had some mental mistakes that allowed them to stay in it. Then we had three girls sent off with yellow cards all within a five-minute period. The game got rough and the refs tried to dial it back in. That certainly was a momentum changer.
Sophomore goalie Elin Sonesson finished with 12 saves. Junior standout Karyn Barrett had five goals and one assist to lead the offense.
“Like I have talked about before, we had a young team and we had a great season,” Chapin said. “Eight wins is something to be proud of.”
The Capers return almost everyone in 2011 and will have a great shot to go even deeper in the postseason.
“We are only graduating two seniors and look forward to next year,” Chapin said. “The playoffs were new for a lot of our players and they will be better for playing in games like this.”
Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org