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Scarborough’s Jared Greenleaf lines up a shot during the Red Storm’s 3-1 loss at Gorham in a Class A South semifinal.
Cape Elizabeth’s Prezli Piscopo brings the ball up the field during the Capers’ 3-1 loss at Yarmouth in Saturday’s Class B South semifinal round.
Scarborough’s girls were the last soccer team standing at press time after the Greater Portland Christian School girls fell in the quarterfinals and the Cape Elizabeth girls and Scarborough boys suffered painful semifinal round losses.
The Red Storm, ranked second in Class A South, blanked No. 10 Sanford (2-0) in the quarterfinals, then shut out No. 6 Windham by the same score in the semifinals.
Against the Spartans, Leah Dickman and Natalie Taylor scored first half goals. In the win over the Eagles, Dickman scored two more goals to help Scarborough reach the regional final for the fifth time in seven years.
The Red Storm went to No. 1 Gorham (15-0-1) in the Class A South Final Wednesday (see theforecaster.net for game story). The teams played to a scoreless draw Sept. 13 in Gorham. Scarborough held a 3-2 all-time record in the postseason versus the Rams, although Gorham prevailed, 2-1, in last year’s semifinals.
“Gorham’s undefeated for a reason,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “They have dangerous forwards that can beat you on the dribble or by stringing passes together. Their midfield players get up and down the field. Their backs are strong in the air and can defend one-on-one and their keeper is one of the best in the state. It hard to find a weakness for them. We’ll look to put a full 80 minutes or longer together on our end and if we do that, we’ll live with the result. The Gorham-Scarborough rivalry is always intense and I imagine this year will be the same. It should be a good one.”
If the Red Storm managed to advance to the Class A state final Saturday at 10 a.m. at Fitzpatrick Stadium, they would play either Bangor (16-0) or Camden Hills (15-1) for the Gold Ball. Scarborough has never played the Windjammers. The Red Storm has beaten the Rams in two of three prior state games, including a 2-1 double-overtime triumph in 2012, the most recent.
Cape Elizabeth’s young girls’ squad came of age as the season progressed and earned the No. 4 seed in Class B South. The Capers ousted No. 5 Morse, 3-0, in the quarterfinals behind two goals from Prezli Piscopo and another from Karli Chapin.
That sent Cape Elizabeth to top-ranked Yarmouth for the semifinals Saturday. Piscopo hit the post in the first half and the Clippers scored for a 1-0 halftime lead, but early in the second half, Piscopo set up Mariah Deschino for a tying goal. Yarmouth would answer, however, on a rebound, then score again to end the Capers’ season at 8-6-2 with a 3-1 decision.
“We had them on the ropes for awhile,” Cape Elizabeth coach Craig Fannan said. “We didn’t give them a game last time, so we wanted to come in and put them under pressure. We wanted to get them riled up and we did. We started to believe. It’s unfortunate that a set piece and a rebound did us in, not free-form football. We had some bad fortune, but we made them work for it.”
Despite a big roster turnover and a lot of youth, the Capers made great strides over the past two months.
“I have nothing but pride for our girls and what we’ve done this season,” Fannan said. “I don’t know if anyone expected this, myself included. They’ve been outstanding. To get to the semis was about right. If we had a little better fortune in the season, we might have been 2 or 3 and gotten Greely or York today. I’d have liked to have seen Yarmouth in the final instead.”
Cape Elizabeth graduates five seniors, led by Deschino.
“Mariah is a superstar and she has been since she came in as a freshman,” Fannan said. “She’s been a great captain for us. She demonstrates what we’re about as a team, hard work and staying positive. She had a great performance to finish up her high school career. I’ll look forward to seeing her play in college.”
The Capers will be a force to be reckoned with in 2017, as an abundance of players return who saw valuable minutes this fall.
“Next season looks bright,” Fannan said. “A lot of girls are more experienced now. I look forward to it already.”
Greater Portland Christian School earned the seventh and final playoff spot in Class D South, but was ousted, 4-1, by No. 2 Buckfield in last week’s quarterfinal. Elise LaSalle had the goal, but the Lions finished the year 4-8-2.
Scarborough’s boys’ team, which got to the Class A state game a year ago, only to lose by a goal to Lewiston, wound up fourth in Class A South this season. The Red Storm edged No. 5 South Portland, 1-0, in the quarterfinals, then went to No. 1 Gorham for the semifinals Monday night (after rain postponed the contest 48 hours).
After Scarborough dominated the game’s opening minutes, Gorham counter-attacked and took a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute, when Ethan Orach floated a shot into the goal. Rams standout Jackson Fotter then eclipsed the 30-goal plateau for the season when he scored in the 21st minute for a surprising 2-0 advantage.
The Red Storm came close to cutting into the deficit before halftime, but failed to do so and with 33:52 left in regulation, Gorham took a commanding three-goal lead when Ryan Firmin finished. Scarborough refused to go quietly, however, and earned some life when Marc Guerette scored with 25:08 to play, but the Red Storm couldn’t get another to make things truly interesting and the Rams held on for a 3-1 victory, beating Scarborough in the playoffs for the first time since 1977.
“We couldn’t finish,” lamented Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “We had opportunities. They played good defense too. They finished the ones they had and that was the difference.”
Gorham had a 9-8 edge in shots. Chris Franklin made six saves for the Red Storm, who had an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.
“I thought we played well and had more chances,” Diaz said. “My guys didn’t deserve the score, but that’s soccer. Credit to Gorham. The chances they had, they made count. I’m so proud of this group. Down, 3-0, they played the same as when it was 0-0. It’s a great group of guys. I was lucky to coach them. We played our best soccer at the end.”
Scarborough has to part with 18 seniors, including several who have led the Red Storm deep into the playoffs on multiple occasions.
“Give credit to my seniors,” Diaz said. “They rallied us. I asked for more and they gave it to me. We really improved. It was wide open this year. In the end, we played with class and I’m glad for that.”
The Red Storm’s cupboard won’t exactly be bare. Many other key players return and as always, this program will reload.
Expect Scarborough to advance deep in the playoffs again in 2017.
“I hope everyone comes back hungry next year,” Diaz said.