Scarborough’s field hockey team celebrates Monday’s 2-0 victory at South Portland, its ninth in a row.
Joe Carpine photos (365digitalphotography.com).
More photos below.
SOUTH PORTLAND—They had to play more defense than normal, didn’t score for more than a half and got all they could handle for 60 minutes, but the Scarborough Red Storm field hockey team wound up in a very familiar place Monday afternoon.
In the win column.
The Red Storm were pushed by unheralded South Portland from the onset at Wainwright Farms, but they made enough plays to extend their win streak.
Scarborough was on its heels initially, but got a huge defensive save from junior Lucy Bogdanovich in the second minute and while it couldn’t rattle the cage in the first half, it was only a matter of time.
After several close calls, the Red Storm broke through with 19:24 to play as senior Sydney Rusak scored on a rebound off a penalty corner.
Then, with 5:30 remaining, senior Ashley Levesque scored on a rebound off another corner and Scarborough was able to prevail, 2-0.
The Red Storm made it nine straight victories, improved to 9-2 and dropped the valiant Red Riots to 4-7 in the process.
“(The wins) don’t have to be pretty, as long as we finish,” said Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “Hopefully the girls know this wasn’t their best game and it’s just a one-time thing. This part of the season, it’s tough when they have all the social aspects, Homecoming and what not, to deal with, but I’m happy with where we are and hopefully we’ll shift the gear and end strong.”
When Scarborough dropped its first two games, 4-1, at home versus Marshwood and 2-1 at Massabesic, it marked its slowest start since 2003, but reports of the Red Storm’s demise proved premature as they returned to their winning ways.
The win streak started with a 12-0 home romp over Deering. After eking out a 1-0 decision at Gorham, Scarborough blanked visiting Bonny Eagle (9-0), host Cheverus (4-0), visiting Windham (6-0) and visiting Thornton Academy (2-0). After a dramatic 2-1 double-overtime victory at Westbrook last Tuesday, the Red Storm blanked visiting Biddeford, 3-0, Thursday.
“After the two losses, we focused more in practice and we’re more together,” Rusak said.
“It took a couple losses for us to get in the right mentality,” Mariello said. “We made adjustments and we stuck with it and it’s worked.”
South Portland got off to a tough start with a 6-0 home loss to Gorham, followed by a 3-0 setback at Marshwood and a 4-1 home loss to Cheverus. The Red Riots then righted their ship on the road, rolling at Deering (5-0) and Bonny Eagle (6-1). After a 1-0 home loss to Westbrook, South Portland won at Windham, 5-2. Losses to visiting Biddeford (3-1) and host Thornton Academy (7-1) were followed Thursday by a 4-1 victory at Sanford.
The neighbors have been meeting since 2003 and entering play Monday, Scarborough held a 10-2 advantage (see sidebar, below), including four wins in a row.
South Portland hoped to make a statement and beat the Red Storm for the first time since Oct. 2, 2010, but despite the Red Riots’ spirited effort, Scarborough’s train kept rolling.
The hosts immediately won possession, pressured and earned a penalty corner.
A mere 75 seconds into the game, senior Lydia Henderson took a feed, sidestepped a defender, then fired a shot that eluded Red Storm junior goalie Sam Carriero, but while those on hand waited for the ball to smack the back of the cage, it never happened, as Bogdanovich calmly swept the ball out of harm’s way.
“They came out hard and we had to have our heads up and be ready,” Bogdanovich said. “That corner was tough, but we stayed strong. I just put my stick down. We’re a good defensive team. We just have to play the ball.”
“That was an enormous save,” Mariello said. “I knew they were looking to upset us and have a spoiler game. I guarantee that woke the girls up quickly. Anytime the defense gets chances, it will help us in the end. If we have shutouts with no shots, that doesn’t help us grow.”
South Portland earned another corner and again just missed, as senior Amelia Papi steered a shot just wide of the post.
The rest of the first half belonged to Scarborough, but the visitors couldn’t break through.
The Red Storm’s first shot came with 19:37 to go in the half, but junior Rachel Paradis’ bid was kicked aside by promising Red Riots’ freshman goalie Maddie Drolet.
Over the next couple minutes, Drolet denied Scarborough junior Lucy Malia on a corner, senior Lily Nygren shot just wide and Nygren’s high shot was swatted aside by Drolet’s glove and her rebound bid was kicked away.
With 12:05 left, Levesque almost put the visitors on top, but her point blank shot was saved.
Henderson had two more chances to break the tie late in the half, but her first rush was broken up by Red Storm senior Annika Batista and an ensuing shot was saved by Carriero.
Drolet was able to hold Scarborough at bay for awhile in the second half, but eventually, the Red Storm broke through.
With 24:01 remaining, Drolet made arguably her finest save of the season to date, as a Malia blast off a penalty corner appeared ticketed for just inside the near post, but Drolet stuck out her right foot at the last instant and kicked it aside.
“Maddie has no goalie experience and I’m excited to see her continue to improve,” Dyer said.
Scarborough finally got on the board with 19:24 remaining in regulation, off a penalty corner.
After Drolet saved an initial shot, Rusak was there to bang home the rebound for a 1-0 lead.
“We had a tough time getting our energy up, but Coach gave us a talk at the half and that got us going,” Rusak said. “I knew the shot had to be on goal, so I saw the ball and I did what I could. Their goalie is good.”
Despite falling behind, the Red Riots didn’t quit and came close to pulling even.
With 10:49 left, South Portland earned a corner and freshman Lauren DiBiase ripped a shot which Carriero saved and a rebound shot was also kicked away.
The Red Riots earned another corner and Henderson got a good look, but sent the ball just wide.
The Red Storm then put the game away.
After Drolet denied Levesque after a steal, Levesque managed to finish, as she rebounded a shot off the stick of junior Tori Timm on a corner to make it 2-0.
South Portland wasn’t able to muster a good chance from there and Scarborough earned another victory.
The Red Storm finished with a 12-5 edge in shots (7-4 on frame) and a 9-5 advantage in corners. Carriero made four saves.
The Red Riots got five saves from Drolet and did a lot right, but couldn’t spring the upset.
“We know we can hang with the big teams,” Dyer said. “We’re still working on our confidence and we’re cleaning up the little things, but it was exciting to be 0-0 at halftime and we had our opportunities. They rushed the net and finished their opportunities. We played 60 minutes. I’m happy we’re putting it together now. We had to get over some hurdles, but to play Scarborough like this, we know we can hang with top teams.”
South Portland appears playoff-bound and will likely be on the road for the preliminary round. The Red Riots (ranked 10th in Class A South at press time) still have an outside shot a .500 finish, as they go to Noble Wednesday, host Portland Friday and close at home against powerhouse Massabesic Tuesday of next week.
“Now we’ve build the foundation and we have to step up and continue to improve,” Dyer said. “We’re hoping to beat Noble and Portland and if we can put everything together, Massabesic is within reach and that would be huge for us. We have playoffs as the goal every year.”
Scarborough (second behind Falmouth in Class A South) probably won’t be able to climb into the top spot, but could secure two home playoff games if its wins out. The Red Storm visit Portland Wednesday, host Sanford Saturday and close at Noble Tuesday of next week.
“We have to keep focusing in practice and do the little things,” said Bogdanovich. “It comes down to the little things, because every team is good this year. Every game will be tough.”
“We want to finish as high as we can,” said Mariello. “Anytime we can play on turf, it’s an advantage. It’s a very strong league and it will be a tough challenge for anyone to get through to the end.”
Scarborough senior Liz Callahan plays the ball as South Portland sophomore Kaylee Whitten defends.
Scarborough junior Lucy Malia drives the ball.
Scarborough freshman Julia Booth-Howe goes all out for the ball as South Portland sophomore Kaylee Whitten closes in.
South Portland freshman goalie Maddie Drolet swats away a shot as Scarborough senior Ashley Levesque and Red Riots senior Jessica Angelova (12) and sophomore Kiley Callow look on.
South Portland sophomore Molly Walker chases down a loose ball as Scarborough junior Lucy Bogdanovich looks on.
Scarborough senior Lily Nygren and South Portland sophomore Kaylee Whitten reach for the ball.
@ Scarborough 3 South Portland 1
Scarborough 6 @ South Portland 0
@ Scarborough 10 South Portland 0
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 0
@ Scarborough 9 South Portland 0
@ Scarborough 7 South Portland 0
Scarborough 2 @ South Portland 0
@ Scarborough 3 South Portland 2
Scarborough 5 @ South Portland 2
Western A preliminary round
@ Scarborough 3 South Portland 2 (15 penalty corners)
@ South Portland 3 Scarborough 1