News Article
Scarborough boys erupt early to down South Portland

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s boys’ soccer team believes it’s as good as anyone this fall and while the Red Storm won’t have an opportunity to measure themselves against the likes of reigning Class A state champion Falmouth in a traditional tournament setting, the Red Storm can do their best to excel every time they take the pitch.

Scarborough couldn’t have asked for a better start Tuesday night when it hosted South Portland at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex and two quick goals spelled another victory over their neighbor.

In the fifth minute, senior Alan King scored the game’s first goal and two minutes later, sophomore Zander Haskell finished as well.

The Red Storm took a 2-0 lead to the second half where the Red Riots came to life and had some good looks to answer, but they couldn’t do so and when junior Nick Connolly scored with 13:58 to play, that proved to be the final nail as Scarborough went on to a 3-0 victory.

Three different players tickled the twine as the Red Storm improved to 5-1-1 and stayed undefeated all-time against South Portland, which fell to 1-6.

“We’ve had some very good teams here and this is a very good team,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “We would have been one of the teams going for it all this year.”

Early storm warning

Scarborough entered play having won 18 of the previous 19 meetings in the series (see below), with the other game ending in a tie.

In the teams’ first meeting this fall, Oct. 14 in South Portland, senior Jarrod Glidden had two goals for the Red Storm in a 4-0 victory.

That win was part of another strong campaign for perennially powerful Scarborough.

The Red Storm started with home victories over Cape Elizabeth (2-0) and Bonny Eagle (1-0) and after tying host Gorham (1-1), won at South Portland. After a 2-0 home loss to Gorham last Tuesday, Scarborough bounced back last Thursday with a 3-0 victory at Bonny Eagle.

South Portland, meanwhile, dropped a 2-1 home decision to Deering in the opener, then after winning at Westbrook, 4-1, lost at home to Portland (2-0) and Scarborough (4-0), at Cheverus (1-0) and at home to Cape Elizabeth (3-2).

Tuesday, the Red Riots hoped to finally break through and beat the nemesis Red Storm for the first time in 20 tries, but instead, on a chilly, 45-degree evening, Scarborough made an immediate statement and didn’t look back.

The Red Storm nearly broke the ice just 27 seconds in, when Haskell ripped a shot, but South Portland senior goalkeeper Paul Zechman dove and made the save.

Scarborough didn’t miss on its next chance, as with 35:08 left in the 40-minute first half, senior Zach Chaisson got the ball to King, who ripped a low shot into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“We came out strong and it was a great team effort,” King said. “We just took over. I was just trying to put (the ball) toward the net. I’m just happy to be out here, even with all the masks and rules.”

“We came out nicely and moved the ball well,” Diaz said. “We haven’t been starting great. It takes us 15, 20 minutes to get going. We talked about that and the guys really came out with some energy. It was a big night for (Alan). He’s played well all year. He’s consistent. He’s worked really hard to get to this point. The seniors are playing hard, with effort and desire. It means something to them, I think on all the teams.”

It took only two minutes for the Red Storm to strike again, as King got to a failed clear, then set up Haskell, who wouldn’t be denied and just like that, less than seven minutes in, Scarborough led, 2-0.

“(Alan) got me the ball and I found a corner and buried it,” Haskell said.

Scarborough had a 5-1 edge in shots on frame and a 6-1 advantage in corner kicks in the first 40 minutes, but couldn’t add to the lead by halftime.

South Portland then threatened to get back in the game in the second half.

First, sophomore Divin Mpinga dribbled through the defense, then sent a rocket just over the head of Red Storm senior goalkeeper Peter O’Brien and the crossbar.

After Mpinga got to a turnover, he missed just wide.

Junior Alberto Kissaka then had a look, but it was blocked and Mpinga missed twice more.

With 15:10 remaining, Mpinga got a pass from Kissaka and ripped a promising low shot, but O’Brien sprawled to make the save.

“South Portland has some good players,” said Diaz. “They’re a solid team. They came out strong in the second half.”

With 13:58 on the clock, the Red Storm ended the competitive phase of the contest, as Haskell got to a ball off a corner kick, drew the defense to the far side, then passed to Connolly, who sent a one-timer past South Portland sophomore Thomas Caouette, who had replaced Zechman at halftime, for a 3-0 advantage.

Connolly then punctuated the goal with a celebratory pose.

“Zander took it in the corner, absolutely diced a kid, put it right on my foot and it was easy,” Connolly said. “All credit to him on that one. I did the Heisman pose. I’ve been waiting for that.”

“Zander really sets us up well,” Diaz said. “His decision-making has been great this year.”

Scarborough slammed the door from there and closed out its 3-0 victory.

“It’s going great,” Diaz said. “As good as it can go. The kids have been great. They’ve worked hard and I’m really happy for them.”

The Red Storm out-shot the Red Riots, 11-3, got three saves from O’Brien and took 12 corner kicks to South Portland’s three.

Caouette stopped five shots, while Zechman made three saves for South Portland.

Looking to the future

South Portland goes to Portland Saturday morning, then will join the Bulldogs, along with Cheverus and Deering in the “City Cup” tournament next week.

Scarborough is at Cape Elizabeth Friday, then takes part in a four-team tournament, along with Falmouth, Gorham and Windham, next week.

“We didn’t know we’d have a season, so it’s been a relief,” Haskell said. “Hopefully, we’ll just keep building and grow throughout next summer.”

“Hopefully, we can win out and I want to get guys experience too,” Diaz said. “We hope to do both at the same time. For the kids coming back, this is a great experience. They’ve gotten to see what it’s like to play varsity, so that should help us.”

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

Previous Scarborough-South Portland results

2020
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 0

2019
Scarborough 2 @ South Portland 0

2016
Scarborough 1 @ South Portland 0
Class A South quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 1 South Portland 0

2015
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 1

2014
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 1

2013
@ Scarborough 5 South Portland 0
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2012
@ South Portland 2 Scarborough 2 (tie)

2011
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2010
Scarborough 3 @ South Portland 0

2009
@ Scarborough 4 South Portland 1
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 4 South Portland 0

2008
Scarborough 2 @ South Portland 0

2007
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 1

2006
Scarborough 4 @ South Portland 0

2005
@ Scarborough 2 South Portland 0

2004
@ Scarborough 6 South Portland 0

2003
Scarborough 1 @ South Portland 0