CUMBERLAND—Scarborough might have shown up late to the party Tuesday afternoon, but once the Red Storm arrived at Greely for the teams’ first countable field hockey meeting in two decades, they made the most of their opportunities.
Scarborough, which had to contend with a bus maintenance issue before leaving school, almost lived up to the old adage, “Every corner’s a goal” in the first half, as it scored on three of its first five chances.
Junior Halle Seguin got things going with her first varsity goal, junior Maya Sellinger made it 2-0 after one quarter and sophomore Daisy Stone stretched the lead to three at the half.
With the Red Storm’s defense holding the Rangers at bay, Scarborough put it away in the fourth period, as junior Anna Borelli scored her first varsity goal on a rebound, then as time wound down, sophomore Ayden Harris’ first varsity goal, again off a penalty corner, brought the curtain down on a 5-0 victory.
The young Red Storm improved to 3-2 on the season and dropped Greely to 2-3 in the process.
“This is a no-pressure type of season, so we just showed up and we play better when we’re relaxed,” said longtime Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “I’m extremely proud of this group. They’ve come a long way.”
The great unknown
Greely and Scarborough have both enjoyed plenty of success (combining for eight regional crowns and three state titles) since their last countable meeting.
The Rangers were the cream of the Western B crop in the early 2000s, winning three straight regional titles and the 2003 state championship, while the Red Storm rose to prominence midway through that decade and have been to five Class A state finals, winning it all in 2009 and 2014.
Each team has had its ups and downs this autumn.
Greely, under new coach Burgess LePage, who was a member of the Rangers’ 2001 and 2002 regional championship teams, started with home wins over Cape Elizabeth (3-1) and Gray-New Gloucester (5-1), then lost at home to Mt. Ararat (1-0) and fell to .500 Monday with a hard-fought 2-1 setback at Freeport.
Scarborough sandwiched 3-2 overtime losses to Cheverus, one at home and one away, around 3-0 victories at South Portland and Falmouth.
Prior to Tuesday, the teams hadn’t met in a countable game since Oct. 5, 2000, a 3-0 Greely victory in Cumberland which was notable because it was called at halftime due to bad weather.
Tuesday’s game began under much nicer conditions (63 degrees at the start) and once Scarborough got to Cumberland and got warmed up, it wasn’t long before the Red Storm seized control of the contest.
Scarborough controlled possession right away and soon earned a penalty corner.
The Red Storm inserted the ball to junior Erin Bresnahan, whose cross rolled past several players right to Seguin, who sent it past Greely goalie Savanna Harvey for a 1-0 lead with 12:24 to play in the 15-minute first quarter.
“Erin passed it and it went through everyone and I just hit it in,” said Seguin, of her first-ever goal at the varsity level. “It was awesome to score. I wasn’t expecting it. We had the mindset of making the best out of what we have even though we got here late.”
Scarborough didn’t sit on its lead and with 4:45 remaining in the period, off corner number three, it doubled its lead, as Sellinger got to a rebound and sent it into the cage for a 2-0 advantage.
Early in the second quarter, the Red Storm struck again on their fifth corner, as a shot from sophomore Stella Grondin was saved by Harvey, but Stone was there to convert the rebound for a 3-0 lead with 12:30 left in the half.
“The girls have the bug to score and it’s great to see,” Mariello said. “We have a couple corner plays we run pretty consistently. If we’re in the right places and we see the ball well, we have a good chance to score.”
The Red Storm out-shot the Rangers, 5-0, in the first half and took seven corners to Greely’s one, scoring on three of them.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, as Greely had a good look, but Hannah Perfetti missed wide and Harvey twice robbed Scarborough junior Lili Stone.
Scarborough returned to its scoring ways early in the fourth period, as Borelli banged home a rebound with 12:12 to play.
That was the Red Storm’s only goal of the game that came in the normal run of play.
With time running down, Scarborough earned one final corner and made it count, as sophomore Anjali Bhatnagar fed Harris for her first varsity goal with 15.3 seconds remaining and the Red Storm closed out their 5-0 victory.
“It was helpful to move the ball the way we did,” said Seguin. “We can move the ball up the field and pass. We’re used to playing on turf, but we weren’t psyched out by playing on grass. We have a lot of players who play travel (field hockey), which helps with skills. Spending time together in the offseason is helpful. We have to much talent in the grades below us too, which is awesome.”
“You get one goal and it breaks the door down and the girls feel a rush of energy and it’s contagious,” Mariello said. “We wanted to come in here and just play our game. We knew we had to play a tighter game on grass. Possession of the ball was key and we did a good job of that.”
Scarborough out-shot Greely, 14-1, got one save from junior goalie Katie Roy and took 10 corners to the Rangers’ three.
Greely got nine saves from Harvey, but couldn’t generate enough offense to keep up.
“Scarborough came out super-strong,” LePage said. “We knew they were good. We tried to adjust and I feel like we did a fairly good job. We didn’t get scored on for awhile. Their corners are so dangerous. That’s something new for us. We hadn’t played a team with strong corners yet this year. We had to adjust.
“We came in a little tired today. Our energy wasn’t what we had in other games. We look forward to being more like ourselves when we play them again.”
The teams meet again Oct. 30 in Scarborough and have work to do in the meantime.
Greely is back in action Saturday at Cheverus. After playing Yarmouth home and away (next Monday and Wednesday), the Rangers finish at the Red Storm.
“The girls are excited to play Cheverus Saturday on their field,” LePage said. “It’s a privilege to play strong Class A teams like Scarborough and Cheverus. It’s a good learning opportunity.”
Scarborough is back in action Thursday at home versus South Portland. The Red Storm host Portland/Deering Oct. 29, then welcome the Rangers and close at home against Gorham Nov. 2.
“I’m just happy to have more time with my team,” Seguin said. “Getting to spend time with them is just awesome. I’m so grateful to have this season.”
“This group has made huge strides,” Mariello said. “It’s a great team. They have great chemistry and I’m already excited about what the future holds. This is the ideal season for us to gain confidence. We just want to play as much as we can. We’re getting playing time for these young kids. That’s huge for us.”
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