Thursday, December 12, 2013
By Steve Craig email@example.com
Karli-An Gilbert was a freshman junior varsity player when she sat in the stands watching Scarborough High beat mighty Skowhegan in the 2009 state field hockey final.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Lauren Steidl, Cape Elizabeth senior: Earns her second selection for scoring all three goals in Saturday’s 3-2 preliminary- round win against Oak Hill. Cape trailed 2-0 before Steidl scored twice in the final 87 seconds of the first half.
Jane Coffrin, Cape Elizabeth senior: Assisted on two of Steidl’s playoff goals and scored twice in a 2-1 season-ending win against Yarmouth for the 7th seed and a home playoff game.
Charlotte Smith, Gorham sophomore: Scored one goal and assisted on another in the No. 7 Rams’ 3-0 preliminary-round playoff win Saturday against Deering.
Mikey Richards, Falmouth junior: Scored two goals and helped set up another in 5-0 preliminary-round win against Poland on Saturday. Also had a goal and assist in a 4-0 win vs. Wells on Wednesday.
AREA TOP FIVE
5. (tie) Lake Region, Fryeburg
It was Scarborough's second straight trip to the final and with plenty of talent coming back, many happy returns seemed assured.
"I couldn't wait to be on that team the next year that would get back there," Gilbert said.
Scarborough was the top seed in Western Class A in both 2010 and 2011 but was upset in the playoffs both years. Last year they were shocked in the quarterfinals by Windham, a team that won five games in the regular season.
"To have two awesome seasons and having that taken away from us; having that feeling that we should have been that team to go to the state final, it's sparked us from the beginning of the preseason," said Gilbert, a senior center midfielder.
Gilbert and fellow captains Mikaela Gove, goalie Shannon Hicks and Grace Whelan agree that spark is now a red-hot flame. Scarborough, again the No. 1 seed, is 14-0 entering Wednesday's quarterfinal against No. 8 Thornton Academy.
"We are extremely motivated, just to redeem what we should have done last year," said Whelan, also a center midfielder in the Red Storm's four-line formation.
"I think that idea started the day after we lost last year. We all looked at each other and said never again, we're doing it next time."
Scarborough has not been scored upon this season, giving it a chance to tie the 1998 Winslow team's national record of zero goals allowed in a complete season. Its 14 consecutive shutouts already ranks in the all-time top 10.
Of course Scarborough's season isn't over yet. Four more shutouts would be a tall order, especially if it was to meet Skowhegan (117 goals, 1 allowed) in the state final.
"We look at (the scoreless streak) as a regular-season thing. That's done and over," Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello said. "We know we'll probably get scored on. The question is, 'How do you respond when it happens?'
"We got knocked out early the last two years so we've felt a pretty significant sting from those losses and we know it's a whole new game."
The defense is backed by the goaltending duo of Hicks, who has started every game, and senior Carly McLellan, who usually plays the second half. Scarborough plays smart, positional field hockey.
Aided by a deep bench (Mariello routinely went 20 players deep), midfielders and forwards are quick to recover and make it a priority to keep teams out of the circle.
"I can speak for a lot of us when I say we worked very hard over the summer but I don't think we ever imagined we'd go the whole season with no goals being scored on us," said Gove, the center defender, "but with our team and how we work together it's becoming less surprising."
Scarborough is scoring 4.2 goals per game with optimal balance. Twelve players scored in just the first three games.
"I was quite impressed with that," Mariello said. "When I looked at the stats I was like, holy cow, what's a team going to do against us if we have 12 different scorers?"
"We don't have one superstar," Hicks said. "Each girl is equally as good as another."
Whelan said when Scarborough is really on its game, "It looks like an interconnected web of vines. ... When we pass we know where each other (will) be and it just kind of weaves itself up the field."
Scarborough's motto this year is "Head. Heart. Stick."
"Stick comes third because you can have the most skilled players on the field but unless you have a team that is unified in their passion and knowledgeable, the skills aren't going to mean anything," Gilbert said.
"I do think we're a really skilled team but the fact that we have the desire to go farther than we have in past years and to get back to the championship is what's most important."
TALKING ABOUT potential records, if Skowhegan (14-0, No. 1 in Eastern Maine) continues to score at its current pace (8.35 goals per game), it would be the second-best single-season scoring average according to the National Federation of State High School Associations record book.
The Indians' streak of 14 consecutive shutouts was stopped in a 3-1 win in the regular-season finale on Oct. 8 against Messalonskee. It was Skowhegan's 49th straight win.
Dexter Regional holds the Maine record with 63 straight, seventh-longest nationally.
Staff Writer Steve Craig can be contacted at 791-6413 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org