Top-ranked Scarborough holds off Falmouth in quarterfinals

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Scarborough celebrates the lone goal of Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Falmouth in a Class A South quarterfinal. The Red Storm will host Biddeford in the semifinals Friday.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—One year after being ousted in the semifinals, far earlier than it is accustomed, Scarborough’s top-ranked field hockey team has just one goal in mind this postseason.

To win.

With no style points necessary.

The Red Storm didn’t exactly produce a thing of beauty Tuesday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex against No. 9 Falmouth, but when the final horn sounded, they were satisfied and eager to move on to their next challenge.

Scarborough came out strong and earned multiple penalty corners. On the fifth, the Red Storm broke through, as senior Rachel Paradis set up classmate Lucy Malia for a 1-0 lead.

Despite ample opportunities to extend the advantage, Scarborough couldn’t do so and took a one-goal lead to the half.

The Yachtsmen, who didn’t have a shot on goal in the first half, then showed life in the second half, earning three straight penalty corners, but they couldn’t answer.

Falmouth made things interesting late as well, earning another corner and getting a good look at the goal, but the Yachtsmen couldn’t solve Red Storm senior goalie Sam Carriero and Scarborough held on for a 1-0 victory.

The Red Storm improved to 14-1, ended Falmouth’s season at 7-9 and advanced to host No. 4 Biddeford (13-2) in the Class A South semifinals Friday at 6 p.m.

“It’s playoffs and I told the girls at the start that there are no such things as seeds, that everyone is even,” said Red Storm coach Kerry Mariello. “The score doesn’t matter, as long as we come out on top.”

Midnight strikes

Both teams have had interesting and historic 2017 campaigns.

Falmouth’s first season as a member of the Southwestern Maine Activities Association had its ups-and-downs (see sidebar below, for previous game stories). The Yachtsmen began 0-2 and were 3-7 at one juncture, but closed with victories in three of their final four games to wind up 6-8 and earn the No. 9 seed in Class A South. Along the way, they gave longtime coach Robin Haley her 200th career victory with the program.

Saturday, Falmouth went to eighth-ranked Marshwood, took an early lead on senior Stone Carmichael’s goal and after the Hawks tied the game and forced overtime, senior Grace Soucy won it for the Yachtsmen in the second OT.

Scarborough, meanwhile, had its typically dominant campaign (see sidebar, below, for previous game stories), winning its first 11 contests and after an overtime loss at Cheverus, downing Kennebunk and Massabesic (the latter victory was the 200th of Mariello’s career) to wind up 13-1 and earn the top spot for the playoffs.

Back on Sept. 1, the Red Storm beat the host Yachtsmen, 3-0, behind goals from Malia, Paradis and sophomore Carrie Timpson.

The teams had met just once previously in the postseason, a 1-0 victory for Scarborough in the 2015 Class A South quarterfinals on a late Paradis goal.

This time around, on a chilly (53-degrees at the start and it plummeted from there) evening, the Red Storm again scored only one goal and again Paradis played a part in it as Scarborough advanced.

The Red Storm started with the intensity you’d expect from a top seed, as after Malia missed wide in the fourth minute, Scarborough got four corners in four minutes, but couldn’t generate a shot.

Then, after a long shot from Timpson was saved, setting up a fifth corner, the Red Storm struck.

With 19:05 to go before halftime, the ball found its way to Paradis, who passed it over to Malia, who sent a shot past Falmouth junior goalie Caitlyn Bull for a 1-0 lead.

“We came out strong,” Malia said. “We usually come out hyped up. We were all in position. Everyone has to be ready since the ball can be anywhere. I was just in a good spot.”

Scarborough then looked to double its lead, but off a corner, a Paradis shot was tipped just wide by senior Cat Taylor and Malia just missed.

The Yachtsmen barely managed to get the ball across midfield in the first half, but they made some noise when the second stanza began.

In a 55-second span, Falmouth earned three corners, but couldn’t put a shot on cage.

Not long after Bull robbed Timpson in close with 24:23 remaining, Mariello called the game’s lone timeout to implore her charges to finish strong and they would do so.

After Bull saved a bid by senior Lucy Bogdanovich off a corner, she stopped a shot by Paradis off a subsequent corner opportunity.

With 12:29 left, the Yachtsmen pushed again and junior Liberty Ladd sent the ball into the circle, but it was swept away by a Scarborough defender. 

With 2 minutes on the clock, Falmouth got its final chance, a penalty corner, and the ball came to Soucy on the side, but Carriero cut off the angle and blocked the shot and that allowed the Red Storm to hold on and prevail, 1-0.

“(Falmouth) came out in the second half trying so hard and we could feel their intensity,” Malia said. “It pushed us. We had to amp it up and try to keep it our tone. They were hard to hold off.”

“(Falmouth) had an advantage of being a turf team and that made a difference,” Mariello said. “They played great defensively. I was surprised we didn’t get more than one (goal), but they have a strong midfield and our defense held strong. It was back-and-forth and we happened to score one.”

Scarborough wound up with a 10-4 edge in penalty corners, a 10-3 shots advantage (4-1 on cage) and got one big save from Carriero.

Building block

Falmouth got three saves from Bull, but couldn’t put the ball in the goal.

“We were nervous coming in because Scarborough is such an incredible team with a rich field hockey history,” Haley said. “We knew they’d score a goal and I told the girls at halftime that they did and that we had to settle down and play the way we’re capable of playing. Finishing has been a challenge this year. We had opportunities, but we couldn’t score today.”

While the Yachtsmen wound up with a sub-.500 record for the first time since 2010, they came a long way in a short time and will look at their win at Marshwood as the highlight.

“I’m pleased how we’ve played from the beginning of the season until now,” Haley said. “We saved our best for last. Marshwood was great. It gave us confidence coming into this game.”

With many key players returning next year, the Yachtsmen should be very much in the hunt again in 2018.

“Hopefully we start from a stronger place next year,” Haley said. “We know what we need to do to be better prepared going into preseason.”

Step two

Scarborough now prepares for Biddeford (which survived No. 5 Kennebunk in overtime, 4-3, in its quarterfinal Tuesday). The Red Storm and Tigers didn’t meet in the regular season. Scarborough has played Biddeford four previous times in the playoffs, winning all four, including a 4-1 decision in last year’s quarterfinals.

“We’ll do what we do best and keep practicing hard,” Malia said. “The biggest thing for our team is playing with heart and being united. That’s hard for other teams to beat. We want it and we’ll put in our all.”

“That’s going to be a very exciting game,” Mariello said. “Having homefield might be a bit of a difference. We’ll have our work cut out for us for sure. They’re a very fast and high-scoring team.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports

Falmouth junior Liberty Ladd plays the ball.

Scarborough senior Lucy Malia gets a step on Falmouth sophomore Parker Spence. Malia scored the game’s lone goal.

Scarborough senior Rachel Paradis fires a shot.

Scarborough senior Lucy Malia shoots on Falmouth junior goalie Caitlyn Bull.

Previous Scarborough stories 

Season Preview

Scarborough 3 South Portland 1

Scarborough 1 Westbrook 0

Cheverus 3 Scarborough 2 (2 OT)

Scarborough 2 Kennebunk 1

Previous Falmouth stories

Season Preview

Westbrook 4 Falmouth 1

Cheverus 4 Falmouth 0

Previous Falmouth-Scarborough playoff result

2015 Class A South quarterfinal
@ Scarborough 1 Falmouth 0

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.