SCARBOROUGH—The names and the faces change, but one thing remains the same.
Scarborough’s field hockey team simply doesn’t lose in league play.
Even on days the defending Class A state champion Red Storm appear ripe for the plucking.
Saturday morning, three days after an impressive opening day win at highly touted Marshwood, Scarborough brought a five-year, 62-game league unbeaten streak into action as it hosted dangerous Massabesic at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.
The Red Storm appeared en route to a relatively easy win, as junior Lily Nygren finished a feed from junior Kristen Levesque late in the first half and Levesque finished a pass from her twin sister, junior Ashley Levesque, 2 minutes, 37 seconds into the second half for a seemingly safe 2-0 lead, which still held up with less than six minutes to go.
Then, the Mustangs roared back.
Massabesic made it very interesting when sophomore Emma Rutledge banged home a rebound with 5:52 left.
Then, with 3:56 showing, sophomore Logan Champlin beat Scarborough senior goalie Alyssa Souza on a rebound and just like that, the game was tied, 2-2.
After the Mustangs nearly won it late in regulation, it was on to overtime.
A first eight-minute, “sudden victory” session didn’t produce a goal, so it was on to a second.
There, with just 2:50 left before the game would have been declared a tie, an unlikely hero emerged.
Sophomore Rachel Paradis stole a pass in Massabesic’s zone and beat Mustangs senior goalie Kelley Wescott to bring a sudden end to the contest and give the Red Storm a 3-2 triumph.
Three different players scored, Scarborough improved to 2-0, dropped Massabesic to 0-2 and extended its league unbeaten streak to a mindboggling 63 in a row.
“We’re going to battle every game,” said Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “I’m going to continue to say that. We wanted to avoid OT, but if we have to go to OT, we’ll do it. Props to Massabesic. Tremendous effort. We’ll see them in the end.”
After solving Skowhegan in dramatic fashion in last year’s Class A state final, Scarborough lost some stellar talent to graduation and was expected to come back to the pack, but by virtue of a 2-0 win at Marshwood in Wednesday’s season opener, it looks as though the Red Storm are as dominant as always.
Massabesic lost its opener, 1-0, to visiting Sanford Wednesday.
Massabesic won the first meeting between the schools, 5-2, in the 2003 season opener, but since then, Scarborough has captured all 10 encounters, including a 6-3 victory in the 2013 regional final.
Last year, the Red Storm won at Massabesic, 3-0.
Saturday, Scarborough managed to beat the Mustangs again, but it took every ounce of energy and a whole lot of heart to do so.
After nearly 12 minutes of the ball being smacked around in the middle of the field, the Mustangs had the first good chance, but Souza knocked away a shot from senior Abbie Staples and denied a rebound off the stick of Rutledge.
The Red Storm’s first good chance came in the 14th minute, but Kristen Levesque’s shot was tipped wide.
After Wescott stopped a blast by Nygren, junior Liz Callahan got to the rebound, but Wescott kicked that aside too. Nygren fired one more shot on goal, but again, Wescott stood tall.
In the 19th minute, a Callahan rush was broken up.
With 7:05 left in the half, Kristen Levesque’s long hit was tipped just wide by senior Grace Bailer.
Finally, with 3:01 to go before the break, Scarborough took the lead.
The goal came on a bang-bang sequence, which saw Kristen Levesque, playing up top, passing to Nygren to her left, and Nygren one-timing a shot past Wescott for a 1-0 lead.
The Red Storm had a 4-2 shots advantage and a 2-0 edge in corners in the first half.
Early in the second half, Scarborough appeared to get the insurance goal it needed, but it wouldn’t prove to be enough.
With 27:35 to go in regulation, the Red Storm earned their third corner and it produced a terrific give-and-go by the Levesque twins, as Kristen passed to Ashley, who fed the ball back to Kristen, who beat Wescott for a 2-0 lead with 27:23 left.
Massabesic finally got some offense going after the goal, but a couple corners didn’t result in anything.
While Souza was knocking aside the few shots she saw, the Mustangs eventually got on the board with 5:52 showing when Rutledge fired a shot which Souza saved, but Rutledge got to the rebound and finished to make it 2-1.
With momentum clearly on their side, the Mustangs pulled even with 3:56 remaining, as out of a scrum, Champlin managed to get a stick on the ball and send it into the cage to tie the score, 2-2.
With just over a minute left, Massabesic had a chance to win it in regulation, but a Champlin rush was broken up.
The game would go to overtime where teams play 7-on-7 for up to 16 minutes. If no one scores, the game’s declared a tie, but despite being backed up against the ropes, the Red Storm would answer like the champions they are.
With 4:50 to go in the first OT, the Mustangs earned a corner, but Souza blocked shots by Staples and Rutledge.
At the other end, with 2:23 remaining, Kristen Levesque had a shot kicked away by Wescott, but it resulted in a corner. The ball came to Kristen Levesque up top and she had a great look, but shot just wide.
In the final minute, Ashley Levesque had a chance to end it, but her shot through a screen was denied by Wescott.
Early in the second and final overtime, Ashley Levesque appeared to have room, but Staples broke up her rush. Wescott then kicked away a feed from Kristen Levesque from the side.
After Nygren had a shot cleared and Kristen Levesque shot high only to be denied by Wescott, the hosts earned a corner and saw Ashley Levesque shoot just wide.
With 4:29 to go in the game, Massabesic had its last chance, but junior Emma Desrochers sent a shot wide of the cage.
Scarborough returned to offense and after failing to get the ball in close, gave it up.
The Mustangs got possession and tried to clear, but in the blink of an eye, a surprise hero emerged and delivered the winning goal.
Paradis, new to varsity this year, anticipated a pass, intercepted it, then got around a defender. That set her up one-on-one with Wescott and her low, solid shot got past the goalie and rattled the cage.
“It’s unbelievable,” Paradis said. “It was my first time in overtime. It was just a diagonal pass and I happened to intercept it and had a 1-v-1 with the goalie. I was just trying to get it anywhere. It felt amazing. I’ll never forget that moment.”
“We had an unsung hero,” Mariello said. “Rachel had her opportunity and took advantage of it. What a clutch goal. That will give some confidence to a young sophomore.”
With 2:50 left, the Red Storm had escaped and prevailed, 3-2.
“We knew this was it,” said Paradis. “It was a big deal to get this win to keep the target on our back. We do well under pressure and obviously it showed today.”
“It came down to who could last longer,” Souza said. “We work so hard in practice. It’s good to see that pay off. We controlled our nerves and focused on the game and the moment. (Rachel’s) a great player. We’re happy to see her work so hard and have it pay off.”
“Going into overtime, I said, ‘We can’t lose this game,'” Mariello added. “We possessed most of the game and we should have won. We had a couple defensive lapses and they’re a great team. Defense is a key ingredient to our success this year.”
Scarborough finished with an 11-7 shots advantage and a 5-4 edge in corners. Souza made five saves.
“I’m excited to have more shots,” said Souza, who often sat and watched for 60 minutes in previous seasons. “I won’t be bored. I’ve worked really hard and I think our defense has as well and I think we’re ready for it.”
Valiant Massabesic got eight saves from Wescott.
While Massabesic looks to get in the win column is back in action Tuesday when Noble pays a visit, Scarborough plays at Deering. Friday, the Red Storm are home against Gorham.
Scarborough remains the team to beat, but the Red Storm know they need to improve to be able to continue to fend off their rivals.
“We’re trying to just get to know each other as a team,” Paradis said. “We have a smaller team this year. We’re trying to bond and learn how each other plays. We have to work hard during practice and focus.”
“We have to put 110 percent into every practice and play every game as if it’s like a state game,” Souza said. “We have to focus on every ball and every play.”
“We’ll continue to work hard and hope the offense did what they did today,” Mariello added. “I knew we had two tough games, but it’s a great way to start our season. The confidence has to continue to build in these young players and this is the way to do it.
“We get the other team’s best effort, it doesn’t matter who we play. That gives us that much more pride in ourselves when we play our best and we capitalize and win. It’s just a matter of time. We have to grow each game. Hopefully in the end, we’ll be as strong as we need to be.”
Scarborough sophomore Rachel Paradis gets a high five from coach Kerry Mariello after scoring in the second overtime to allow the Red Storm to escape upset-minded Massabesic, 3-2, Saturday morning.
Bruce Feeley photos.
Scarborough senior Grace Bailer pushes the ball down the field.
Scarborough junior Liz Callahan fights Massabesic senior Sebastiana Mosher for possession.
Scarborough junior Lily Nygren handles the ball. Nygren had the game’s first goal.
Scarborough junior Ashley Levesque looks to create offense.
Scarborough junior Cara Reynolds rushes up the field.
Scarborough junior Kristen Levesque bangs home the game’s second goal.
Scarborough junior Lily Nygren (5) is congratulated after her goal.