There was playoff action aplenty for local soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams over the past week. Here’s a glimpse:
The biggest news was the triumph of the Scarborough volleyball squad, which made it to the state final for the first time.
After a 12-2 regular season, which gave it the No. 3 seed in Class A, the Red Storm dispatched No. 6 Ellsworth, 3-0 (25-12, 25-15, 25-13) in the quarterfinals. Brittany Bona had 11 kills, five aces and four digs. Emily Robbins added 14 assists and Meghan Bickmore finished with 14 service points, four aces and four digs.
“We were very excited about where we finished in the regular season,” said Scarborough coach Jon Roberts. “I thought we struggled a little getting focused at the beginning of the match but quickly found our rhythm.”
The Red Storm then got a break when No. 2 Mt. Desert Island was upset by No. 7 Gorham, meaning Scarborough didn’t have to make a three-hour bus ride for the semifinals and instead, got to host the Rams, a team it beat, 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-16) on Sept. 27.
This time, the Red Storm again got it done in three games, 25-15, 25-18, 26-24. Bona again dominated with 13 aces, 14 kills and three digs. Robbins finished with 21 assists and four digs and Amber Bowen added six digs.
“Gorham had played us well during the year and we knew they would be really excited coming off their win over MDI,” Roberts said. “I thought we came out very aggressively and had one of our best matches of the year.”
Saturday at 5 p.m., at Windham High School, Scarborough meets 15-0 Greely, the No. 1 team and winners of seven of the past eight state championships, in the finale. The Rangers took both regular season meetings, but they were competitive. Greely won, 3-1 (25-20, 28-26, 13-25, 25-19), at Scarborough and 3-1 (25-20, 25-16, 23-25, 25-20) at home.
“All year long we have found ways to win against everyone except Greely,” Roberts said. “We’re excited to have another chance to play Greely. They’re a great team and it would be amazing to finish with a win over them. We were a little disappointed in how we played against them the last time. We never gave up, but we definitely did not play to our potential either. We are focused and ready and it should be a great match.”
Scarborough’s field hockey run didn’t end as happily.
The Red Storm was the top seed in Western A with a 13-0-1 record and hosted No. 8 Windham in a rainy quarterfinal last Wednesday. Scarborough beat the host Eagles, 2-0, Oct. 1 and dominated the playoff game, but despite a huge edge in shots and penalty corners, could not score. The game went to “sudden victory” penalty corners and in the 11th round, Windham finally struck. The Red Storm had one final chances, but couldn’t get a shot off and was eliminated with the 1-0 loss, as the season ended at 13-1-1.
“What a rough way to finish a season,” Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello said. “It’s extremely hard to wrap your head around circumstances like this. I will give props to Windham’s goalie, she took a lot of shots and handled things with great confidence. Windham fought hard and should be proud.”
Scarborough has now gone 75-7-2 over the past five seasons and penned another memorable chapter of excellence this fall.
“These girls gave the Scarborough field hockey program everything they had on a daily basis and have not once disappointed me as a coach,” Mariello said. “The seniors are truly special group of young ladies, each of them left a mark and made so many positive things happen is so many ways. Their journey through life will be impressive. We’ll be back.”
Scarborough’s girls’ soccer team began its title defense Tuesday with a 2-0 home win over Cheverus in the Western A quarterfinals. The Red Storm, 11-1-2 in the regular season and ranked third, got a goal from senior Meghan Tyson (assisted by classmate Kaitlin Reynolds) in the ninth minute. In the 29th minute, Scarborough had back-to-back bids hit the crossbar as a header from junior Jessica Meader and shot from Reynolds both clanked away. In the fourth minute of the second half, Tyson scored again, this time on a long free kick and the Red Storm cruised to victory.
“We probably played our most complete 80 minutes of the entire season,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “Our backs did a great job, especially in the second half really starting the attack for us when they won the ball. Our midfield was great defensively winning balls in the air and really challenging the Cheverus midfielders not allowing them time and space. We had a plan of really trying to attach the center part of the field with passes from the outside trying to expose the aggressiveness of some of the central backs. I thought our players executed that aspect of our game better than I would have hoped and it really was the difference in the game. Cheverus is a very talented team and it took our best play to win that game and hopefully we can carry that into Saturday.”
The Red Storm will visit No. 2 Cape Elizabeth in the semifinals. The Capers, after a 11-1-2 regular season, hosted No. 10 Deering in Tuesday’s quarterfinals and barely escaped an upset loss. The Rams led 1-0 until Cape Elizabeth sophomore standout Melanie Vangel completed a great individual effort to tie the game on a goal with 1:06 remaining. The teams remained deadlocked through two overtimes and the game came down to penalty kicks. Vangel and sophomore Addie Wood converted and senior goalkeeper Ali Johnson made a couple huge saves as the Capers survived, 2-1.
Saturday, at 4 p.m., Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth (who don’t play in the regular season) will meet in the playoffs for the sixth time since 1986 (the Capers hold a 4-1 edge) and the fourth time since 2005. Last year, the Red Storm blanked the visiting Capers, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.
“From the games that I have seen, Cape is a very defensive minded team that is very organized and hard to break down,” Farley said. “Melanie is one of the best offensive players I’ve seen this year. She has the ability to beat multiple players with the dribble and she is a true finisher when she gets into the box. Our team will be tested by their style and we’ll have to be on guard defensively to try to limit their chances. It should be a very good game.”
South Portland, the No. 9 seed, saw its season end at 6-7-2 after a 3-0 loss at Windham in Saturday’s preliminary round.
Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week, on the field of the highest remaining seeds. The Class A Final is Saturday, Nov. 5, at Falmouth High School.
On the boys’ side, Scarborough earned the No. 1 seed and opened its playoff run Wednesday night against No. 8 Greely (7-6-1 after a 1-0 overtime win over No. 9 Marshwood in the preliminary round). The teams don’t play in the regular season, but have met plenty in the playoffs. Since 1978, the Red Storm has a 4-3 edge over the Rangers in the seven prior meetings. The last came in the 2008 regional finals, a 1-0 win for Scarborough. If victorious, the Red Storm will host either No. 4 Gorham (11-3) or No. 5 South Portland (9-2-3) in the semifinals Saturday. Scarborough beat the visiting Red Riots, 2-0, in the opener, Sept. 3 and edged the host Rams, 1-0, five days later.
South Portland finished fifth for the second straight year and had to beat No. 12 Thornton Academy, 2-0, in Saturday’s preliminary round. Senior Nathaniel Johnson and junior Damjan Draskovic had the goals. The Red Riots downed No. 4 Gorham, 2-1, at home Oct. 8, but lost by the same score at the Rams in last year’s quarterfinals. If South Portland passed its quarterfinal round test, it would play in the semifinals for the first time since 1989.
Cape Elizabeth went 7-4-3 to earn the No. 7 seed in Western A. The Capers held off No. 10 Kennebunk, 3-0, in Saturday’s prelim. Senior standout Tim Lavallee led the way with two goals. Cape Elizabeth earned a trip to No. 2 Windham (12-2) for the quarterfinals. The teams don’t play in the regular season. The last playoff meeting came in the 2009 quarterfinals (a 2-1 win for the Eagles). If the Capers advanced, they’ll go to either No. 3 Portland (10-2-2) or No. 6 Cheverus (11-3-1) in Saturday’s semifinals.
In Western D, Greater Portland Christian School finished 8-6 and sixth in the region. The Lions went to No. 3 Pine Tree (13-0) for the quarterfinals Wednesday. The Lions lost at Pine Tree, 7-1, in the opener, Sept. 2. An upset win would likely mean a trip to No. 2 Greenville (8-4-2) in the semifinals.
Looking ahead, the regional finals are Wednesday of next week, on the field of the highest remaining seeds. The Class A and D Finals are Saturday, Nov. 5, at Falmouth High School.