WESTBROOK – Carissa Porcaro didn’t score a goal in the regular season for the Portland High field hockey team. She was obviously waiting for the right moment.

Porcaro’s goal with 8:05 remaining Saturday lifted the seventh-ranked Bulldogs past sixth-seeded Westbrook 2-1 in the Western Class A semifinals. It was Porcaro’s second goal of the playoffs, the first coming in a quarterfinal upset of Sanford.

The Bulldogs (12-4-1), who haven’t lost since Sept. 16, will make their first appearance in a regional final at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday against fifth-ranked Marshwood at Thornton Academy in Saco.

“I’m impressed,” said Portland senior midfielder Eleni Anderson, whose play in the defensive circle was impressive. “I can’t say enough about this team. You know, when you’ve lost for so long, it makes you really want it. And these girls are working really hard.”

Portland beat Westbrook 2-1 on Oct. 6 and this game pretty much followed that path.

The Blue Blazes (12-5) took a 1-0 lead with 13:46 left in the half when Katie Berry scored on a rebound.

Portland Coach Beth Arsenault called a timeout to calm her team a couple of minutes later. “I told the girls, ‘This is how the last one started, so tighten up, execute and don’t lose it. And we can go out there and come back,’ ” said Arsenault.

And 51 seconds after the timeout, Portland tied it. Alexandra Thompson pushed the ball into the circle on the right, then sent it into the middle where Catherine Flaherty knocked it in.

Westbrook pressed but couldn’t beat Portland goalie Rachel Waterhouse again. She ended with 12 saves and had plenty of help from Anderson — “She was everywhere,” said Blazes Coach Beth Murphy. “The ball always seemed to be on her stick.” — and Chelsea DePalmer.

And then Porcaro scored on Portland’s third penalty corner of the game. Anderson inserted the ball to Kylie Dalbec on the right side of the circle. She dodged a defender and crossed to Raechel Allen in the middle. Allen sent the ball to the left, where Porcaro slammed it inside the left post with 8:05 left.

“Coach just tells us to take shots because every shot counts and you never know if it’s going to go in,” she said. “It won’t go in if you don’t take it.”

Normally a midfielder, Porcaro said she likes to settle in at the left post. “I know it’s important to get on there because that’s where most shots go in,” she said.

“She was our (junior varsity) goalie last year,” said Arsenault of Porcaro, “but she’s go so much energy we said, let’s get her on the field because she can probably contribute so much more. She’s tireless and if we tell her to stand on the post and put one in, that’s what she does.”

Westbrook had a couple of runs at Waterhouse — who played soccer last year — but had difficulties with Portland’s defense.

“Give them all the credit,” said Murphy. “I thought they would tire out. But Beth does a great job subbing and they got a second wind in the second half. It was a great game. It just stinks to see it end.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH