SCARBOROUGH — Rachel Wallace of Scarborough saw the opening.

Marshwood goalie Cassidy Smith, who had just stopped two point-blank shots, never did see Wallace’s shot.

Wallace’s precisely placed goal through a sea of legs, bodies and field hockey sticks with 10:48 left in the first half proved enough Saturday for the top-ranked Red Storm to edge fifth-seeded Marshwood 1-0 in a Western Class A semifinal.

“I saw the opportunity, shot, hoped for the best and aimed for the corner, and it went in,” said Wallace, one of just three senior starters for Scarborough.

“No, I didn’t see (the shot). I just heard the clack in the back of the cage.”

Scarborough (15-0-1) advances to face second-seeded Massabesic (14-2) in the regional final Tuesday at Thornton Academy. A game time hasn’t been set.

Massabesic won its regional semifinal at home, 2-0 against third-ranked Falmouth.

In the second game of the regular season, Scarborough defeated visiting Massabesic 5-1.

Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello said she knows she’ll see a better Massabesic team this time, just as the Red Storm got a strong challenge from Marshwood.

As the reigning Western Class A champs and unbeaten in their last 33 games against regional opponents, Scarborough is used to getting other teams’ best efforts, especially in the playoffs.

“We know we’re going to get the top display from every team. They’re out to get us. From the start of the season I say, ‘yeah, we’ve got that big target but we’re going to wear that target proudly,'” Mariello said.

Wallace’s goal came shortly after Scarborough reversed a 12-minute stretch of control by Marshwood (13-4), which included two shots to the post by Lindsey Poirier that produced great tip-in opportunities. Both times, Hawk forwards were unable to connect.

“Unfortunately girls were swinging instead of just keeping sticks down,” Marshwood Coach Lisa Truesdale said. “It happens. You’re in the moment of the game and you see that and you want to put all the power behind and the swing comes in.

“Those were definitely missed opportunities.”

Mariello called a timeout with 13:02 left in the still scoreless half to settle her team. It wasn’t long before Kristen Murray’s rush up the left side eventually produced the penalty corner that led to Wallace’s goal.

In the second half, Marshwood put four shots on goal against Scarborough goalie Alyssa Souza (five saves), while Smith made five of her eight saves.

Smith twice charged out and then sprawled on the turf to rob Scarborough shooters, stopping Maggie Carbin early in the half and the hard-working Abby Walker with just 2:30 remaining.

“Cassidy Smith had a phenomenal game in goal. She really kept this team intact,” Truesdale said.

With both teams charging hard toward any loose ball, Sarah Huber of Scarborough was called for overzealous contact and given a five-minute penalty with 2:11 to play.

Despite playing one player short, Scarborough kept the ball bottled up in the Marshwood defensive zone to secure the win.

“We hung defensively very well,” Mariello said.

“To score fairly early and then hold on for that 1-0 win is exciting for us.”

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or at:[email protected]Twitter: SteveCCraig