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Scarborough sophomore Bella Turner drives the ball forward as Westbrook senior Abby Symbol defends during the Blue Blazes’ 5-0 victory in Saturday’s Class A South semifinal.
WESTBROOK—Scarborough’s field hockey team traveled to defending regional champion Westbrook Saturday morning optimistic it could spring an upset in the teams’ Class A South semifinal.
Then the Blue Blazes delivered an early haymaker and the Red Storm were never able to recover.
Just 61 seconds into the contest, Westbrook got the only goal it would need when junior Katelyn Champagne found the cage.
Even more demoralizing for Scarborough was the Blue Blazes’ second goal, which came with 1:04 left in the half, as off a penalty corner, junior Morgan LeBeau scored.
When junior Mary Keef banged home a rebound with 17:05 left, Westbrook was well on its way and while the Red Storm fought throughout and even had a few good bids denied by Blue Blazes senior goalie Kim Goddard and a pair of her defenders, they couldn’t break through and late scores from freshman Lillian Ranco and junior Kaitlyn Talbot closed out a 5-0 Westbrook victory.
Scarborough’s season ended in the semifinal round for the fourth consecutive year as the Red Storm wound up 12-3-1, while the Blue Blazes improved to 14-1-1 and advanced to meet No. 1 Biddeford (15-0-1) or No. Falmouth (11-3-2) in the Class A South Final Tuesday evening at Biddeford High School.
“It just wasn’t our day,” said Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “(Westbrook’s) an outstanding team and they came to play today. They have a solid 11. Everyone stepped up for them. We got down early and couldn’t overcome it.”
Scarborough and Westbrook are longtime contenders who have been on a collision course all season.
The Blue Blazes, the defending Class A South champs, started with a 1-1 tie at Falmouth, won 11 straight, lost, 2-0, at Biddeford, then closed with an 8-0 home blanking of South Portland. In Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, Westbrook ousted No. 7 Marshwood, 2-1.
The Red Storm, meanwhile, won 11 of 14 games, losing only to Westbrook and Marshwood and tying Windham. Tuesday, Scarborough blanked visiting Cheverus, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.
On Sept. 15, the Red Storm nearly knocked off the host Blue Blazes as an early goal from Kelby Woolverton held up until late in regulation when Avery Tucker forced overtime. Then, in the second OT, Keef won it for Westbrook, 2-1.
Scarborough had won two of three prior playoffs meetings, including a 3-0 victory in the 2012 Western A semifinals, the most recent.
Saturday, on a pleasantly warm (60 degrees) and breezy day, the Blue Blazes made an immediate statement and didn’t look back.
Westbrook gained possession, pressured, then was rewarded with 28:59 to play in the first half, when senior Alexis Witham passed to Champagne, who sent a shot past Scarborough junior goalie Abby Roy for a quick 1-0 lead.
“That was good to start strong,” Talbot said. “We knew we needed to be strong on offense today. After that goal, we just had momentum throughout the whole game.”
“Scarborough’s a great team and they have one of the best defenses around, so for us to come out and set a tone early gave our girls confidence,” said Blue Blazes coach Theresa Hendrix.
The Red Storm looked to answer in the ninth minute when junior Caroline Timpson crossed the ball to the back post, but senior Lillian Anderson couldn’t get her stick on the ball.
After Tucker missed just wide for the hosts, Roy denied a shot by Ranco and turned aside a rebound as well.
After Tucker passed to LeBeau for a shot which went just wide, Mariello called timeout.
Out of the timeout, Scarborough nearly pulled even, but Goddard stopped a shot by senior Janelle Googins.
After Roy stopped a shot by Talbot and Witham sent the rebound wide, Tucker had a shot in the circle blocked.
But just when it appeared the Red Storm’s deficit would only be one at the break, the Blue Blazes got a crucial second goal with 1:04 on the clock.
Off a penalty corner, Talbot had shot saved by Roy, but LeBeau banged home the rebound to make it 2-0, a score which would hold up into the half.
“That goal before the half really put a dagger in us,” Mariello said. “It was hard to find to that next gear.”
In the first 30 minutes, Westbrook owned a 7-2 advantage in shots on cage. Five Roy saves kept Scarborough close.
The Blue Blazes then ended all doubt in the second half.
First, Westbrook prevented the Red Storm from getting the ball into their offensive zone for nearly eight minutes.
After Roy kept the score 2-0 with a nice glove save on a blast by Champagne, the Blue Blazes got a third goal with 17:05 on the clock, as Tucker had a shot saved by Roy, but Keef got to the rebound and sent it into the cage.
Westbrook then stepped up on defense, as Erickson had a shot saved by Goddard and on the rebound, Blue Blazes junior Ella Morris made a defensive save.
With 11;37 to go, Ranco scored on a rebound, with Tucker and Talbot each getting assists.
Westbrook got its fifth and final goal with 7:36 remaining, as Talbot scored on a rebound of a Ranco shot.
Late in regulation, Witham made a defensive save and Goddard robbed senior Meghan Shaw, bringing the curtain down on the Blue Blazes’ 5-0 victory.
“We felt great going into today,” said Hendrix. “This is the first week we’ve practiced outside every day. We had three great practices. We had eight girls total contribute to our goals and we had two girls with defensive saves. That’s a tribute to how much a team we are.”
Westbrook outshot Scarborough, 13-6, got six saves from Goddard and took three corners to the Red Storm’s two.
Tuesday, Westbrook returns to the regional final to battle either Biddeford, which beat the visiting Blue Blazes, 2-0, Oct. 5, or Falmouth, which Westbrook tied 1-1, Sept. 1 in Falmouth.
“It’s so big for our team to get back to the regional final,” Talbot said. “We want to get back to states so bad.”
“We’re excited to get back to the regional final,” Hendrix said. “We know we’ll have to bring our best. The girls know how hard they have to fight.”
Scarborough got eight saves from Roy and could never get its offense going,
“We returned four starters and the experience wasn’t there compared to Westbrook,” Mariello said. “They had depth. It’s hard to explain it until you live it.”
The Red Storm made it to the semifinal round for the seventh successive season and posted double-digit victories for the 14th year in succession.
“I’m super-proud of the team,” Mariello said. “They exceeded my expectations. We had a tough schedule and to do what we did as long as we did, it was a fantastic ride.
“It would be great to make it to the end, but this experience will be something we can take into next season. We lose three starters, so we’ll be starting from a good place. Hopefully the girls will be hungry.”
2012 Western A semifinal
Scarborough 3 Westbrook 0
2008 Western A Final
Scarborough 2 Westbrook 1
2006 Western A quarterfinal
Westbrook 2 Scarborough 1 (OT)