For the first time since 2006, both Scarborough soccer teams were one win from playing for a state championship when they took the pitch Wednesday in the regional finals (after this edition went to press).
The Red Storm boys, once again ranked first in Western Class A, blanked No. 8 Greely (1-0) and No. 4 Gorham (2-0) last week to set up a date with No. 2 Windham.
Scarborough beat the Rangers thanks to junior Trevor Sparda’s goal. Against the Rams, senior Andrew Jones and junior Dan Ornstein tickled the twine and sophomore goalkeeper Pat Stanton came up huge.
“We’re hanging in there and grinding it out,” said Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “It’s not always pretty. Greely played defensive-minded. They had one decent opportunity. We found a way to get one and it was enough. The Gorham game was pretty exciting. We got one and they came back, but my keeper made a great save and like so often happens, we got them in transition. He also made a save on a PK and that was pretty much it.”
The Red Storm (13-1-2) hosted No. 2 Windham (14-2, riding a 10-game win streak) in Wednesday’s regional final. The Eagles beat visiting Scarborough, 3-2, Oct. 1. The teams’ last playoff meeting came in the 2009 regional final, a 1-0 overtime victory for the Red Storm.
“Windham’s for real,” Diaz said. “They beat us and in my opinion, they outworked us. We have to play a lot harder than the last time. Being at home is an advantage. We didn’t want to have to go to Gorham, Portland or Windham. Hopefully it will pay off.”
If Scarborough makes it to Saturday’s state final at Falmouth High School (at a time to be determined), it will either face Hampden Academy (12-3-1) or Messalonskee (12-2-2).
The Cape Elizabeth and South Portland boys were both ousted in the quarterfinals.
The Capers, seeded seventh, survived a preliminary round game with Kennebunk, but were quickly dispatched by Windham in the quarterfinals, 5-0, ending their season at 8-5-3.
“In our final game we did not play very well against a very good Windham team,” said Cape Elizabeth coach Ben Raymond. “They were skilled players who were more athletic than many of our boys and they had numbers on us. They easily played 16 players without a significant drop off in talent. They were very well coached and well organized. We struggled a little bit in the beginning with marking and some balls bouncing in our box, but did have some decent chances. We just could not get on the end of them, we seemed to take one extra touch or we were one step too slow.
“The season overall was a good one, We may have had the most dangerous player in our conference on our team in (senior) Tim Lavallee, who moved into the top 10 of all-time goal scorers at Cape Elizabeth. Some underclassmen played very well this season particularly four freshmen who saw lots of time, Griffin Thoreck, Eddie Galvin, Noah Haversat, and Cole Caswell. I think all will be standout players in the future. The seniors did a nice job of incorporating everyone into the team and practices were competitive and I think the players improved throughout the year. We played very well all season long, especially in our biggest conference games.”
The Red Riots, the No. 5 seed, had to go to Gorham for a second year in a row for the quarterfinals and once again fell, 2-0, to wind up 10-3-3.
“We came out a bit on our heels in the first half,” said South Portland coach Bryan Hoy. “They played at a much faster pace than we were ready for. Once we settled in, we did a fine job, however, it was already too late. I have to give the boys credit, they never gave up and fought hard through the end of the game. I really felt like if we had converted one of the chances in the second half, the second goal would have been right around the corner.
“Overall, this season was great,” he added. “We followed up a strong campaign in 2010 with another. This senior group was really special. They will certainly be missed. They have had a huge impact on changing the culture of South Portland boys’ soccer.”
Look for the Red Riots to remain competitive in 2012.
“Next season, we return six players who started at some point during this year and a few others with experience,” Hoy said. “Damjan Draskovic, who was one of the top players in the league this season, will be back for his senior campaign and should be one of the more dominant players in the SMAA. (Junior) Caleb Elsemore, (sophomore) Ben Michaud, and (junior) Adam Helmke, who all saw starting minutes on defense, will be our strength next year. (Junior) Ben Burkey will finally get his chance to get the lion’s share of the minutes in goal. Midfielders Danny Fox (a sophomore) and Ryan Pelletier (a junior), who were mostly counted on as reserves this year, will have to assume a much heavier role. (Junior) Dillon Burns will be paired with Draskovic up top and can cause havoc in the defense. Though we might be losing quite a few quality players, the cupboard isn’t bare.”
On the girls’ side, Scarborough, the defending Class A champions and No. 3 seed, blanked No. 6 Cheverus, 2-0, in the quarterfinals, then moved on Saturday with a scintillating 2-1 double overtime win at No. 2 Cape Elizabeth.
The Capers took a 1-0 lead midway through the second half when sophomore standout Melanie Vangel set up senior Abby Houghton for a goal. The Red Storm drew even on senior Meghan Tyson’s tally late in regulation and the game would go to a second extra session before senior captain Jessica Broadhurst won it.
“The game was one that we prepared for all week, knowing that they would come out in a defensive posture and really make it tough for us to get in behind them,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “As much as we prepared for it, we couldn’t really replicate what it was like in the game. It was a great win against a very tough team and a very hot goalkeeper who made save after big save all game. We didn’t stop working and in the end, our players showed the heart of a champion by coming back and then winning the game.”
The Red Storm (13-1-2) earned a regional final date at 16-0 Gorham. Scarborough lost at home to the Rams, 1-0, back on Sept. 10. The teams last met in the playoffs in the 2006 regional final (won by Gorham, 1-0).
“Gorham will be very tough,” Farley said., “They have great senior leadership and they have stars all over the field. They really took it to us in the regular season so we’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game to have a chance.”
If the Red Storm was able to move on to the state game, it would face either Bangor (16-0) or Brunswick (15-1) Saturday at Falmouth High School, at a yet to be determined time. Scarborough blanked the Rams, 3-0, in last year’s Class A Final.
Cape Elizabeth’s best season since 2002 ended at 12-2-2 with the loss to Scarborough.
Scarborough junior Austin Downing heads the ball forward during the Red Storm’s 1-0 home win over Greely in last week’s Western A quarterfinals.
Cape Elizabeth senior Blake Barritt narrowly threads a pass between Windham seniors Robbie Lentine (left) and Mitch Hodge during last week’s 5-0 loss in the Western A quarterfinals.