Scarborough’s hopes for a three-peat in Class A boys’ soccer state titles last season ended in the regional quarterfinals when Kennebunk upset the Red Storm in a game decided by penalty kicks.

Now the young Red Storm are building some momentum and confidence they hope will carry them deep into the playoffs. After playing to a scoreless tie against Portland last week, Scarborough (4-0-1) won at Cheverus 4-0 on Saturday. Sam Cekada and Dan Ornstein scored in the first half, and Austin Downing and John Wheeler scored in the second half.

The game was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was moved to Saturday due to bad weather

“We played well,” said Coach Mark Diaz.

“We have a pretty young team and it takes a while for them to adjust to varsity soccer. It’s a quicker pace than they’re used to. We start three seniors and that’s it. This is the youngest team I’ve had.”

After the Portland game, the Red Storm worked on getting the ball in space and being more patient. Diaz said having the Cheverus game postponed was a good thing because it gave the team two more days to work on its offense.

“We moved the ball quicker against Cheverus than we did against Portland,” said Diaz.

“Sometimes we held on to it too long against Portland. Portland is too athletic to do that.”

Getting the ball to space, being more patient and finishing are what all soccer teams strive for. Teams can practice it, but the good ones execute in games.

Diaz liked the turnaround his team showed against Cheverus, which had won its first three games.

Adam Jones was a key on offense with his ability to distribute the ball. He’s a player the defense looks to double team.

“Austin Downing’s goal was very big,” said Diaz.

With about a quarter of the season played, there are few surprises in the Southern Maine Activities Association, according to Diaz.

“It’s just the way I thought it would go at this point. Portland is very good, along with Cheverus and Gorham. We only beat South Portland, 2-0. There are five to six teams that could win it,” he said.

Scarborough is among that group of possible elite teams. The next month will sort the teams out, as it always does. The Red Storm play Kennebunk at home today, followed by a game at Bonny Eagle. 

LIKE SCARBOROUGH, Portland rebounded from its 0-0 tie with the Red Storm with a win in the next game. Portland beat Gorham 3-1 last Thursday. After a scoreless first half, the Bulldogs must have been wondering when they would score.

“At halftime we talked about the need to get back to fundamentals,” said Portland Coach Rocco Frenzilli.

“We needed to stretch out the field and stay aggressive. Against Scarborough, we tried to force our way through the middle.”

Goalie Chip Weber kept it scoreless in the first half with another clutch save, something he’s done a number of times this season.

“If that shot goes in, it’s a different game,” said Frenzilli.

Portland’s offense clicked in the second half. Tim Rovnak scored twice and Paley Burlin added a goal.

Frenzilli is hoping the team goes on a win streak like last season, when it made it all the way to the state championship game before losing to Bangor.

Starting 1-1-1 a year ago, Portland reeled off 14 straight wins in the regular season and postseason. Portland has gone five games without a loss after losing its opener to Windham.

On Tuesday, the Bulldogs made it two straight wins with an 8-0 victory over visiting Biddeford.

“It’s not easy to get back to the state championship game. When you add Cape Elizabeth and Greely to the tournament, it makes it extra tough,” said Frenzilli.

The Bulldogs play Westbrook on Friday.

“We want to be playing our best soccer in the middle of October and keep progressing. It was a tough week last week with the teams we faced. To get a tie and a win is a credit to the players,” said Frenzilli.

AFTER STARTING 0-3, Greater Portland Christian got a couple of blowout wins in the annual Chop Point tournament in Woolwich.

GPC beat Highview Christian of Charleston 9-1 on Friday, then downed Islesboro 7-1 on Saturday.

Greater Portland opened with a loss to Pine Tree Academy. Traip Academy beat Greater Portland in the next game and A.R. Gould prevailed in the third game.

“The first two losses were against tough teams,” said Coach Chris Spaulding. “We were disappointed with our loss to A.R. Gould.”

Chop Point of Woolwich won the Bear Cup. It beat out GPC in the second tie-breaker — goals against.

Greater Portland hosts Chop Point on Oct. 3.

On Monday, Greater Portland Christian lost to Buckfield 7-1 to drop to 2-4.

 

Staff Writer Tom Chard can be contacted at 791-6419 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: TomChardPPH