SCARBOROUGH – Scarborough High’s defending Class A championship field hockey team may not dominate opponents as they did last year in an undefeated season.

But this year’s version of the Red Storm showed in its opener that it still knows how to win.

Stephanie Felt scored two goals and the Red Storm defeated Portland 5-1 in a sweltering opener Thursday. Both teams took mandatory water breaks midway through each half. The temperature was 95 degrees at the start; it cooled off by about 15 degrees by the end of the game.

“It was hot,” said Kelsey Howard, who scored for Scarborough, “but our preseason practices were hot. And all that running Coach had us do really paid off.”

That coach, Kerry Mariello, was pleased with what she saw.

“You start with a win like this, and carryover from last year, it can give them that confidence and this group, that’s what they need right now,” she said. “To play and develop that confidence. They’re playing well and communicating.

“And the experienced players are really taking the younger players under their wing and that helps, too.”

Last year Scarborough beat Portland 12-0 in the opener. But that Red Storm team featured 14 seniors, including some of the best players in the state. Felt said it was important for this team to establish its own identity.

“It just felt nice to win today,” she said. “It really starts off our season with confidence. We’re not going to blow anyone out of the water this year. But we really showed ourselves that yeah, we can tack on some goals and yeah, we can do it without 14 seniors.”

Felt scored the first goal on a rebound with 13:27 left in the first half.

Just 2:04 later, Kristen Felt swept a pass to an open Lindsay Dobecki at the left post and she scored to make it 2-0.

Rachael Millett scored with 6:25 left, getting a loose ball behind goalie Kathleen Dalbec (who had 14 saves in a strong effort), to make it 3-0 at the half.

Howard scored just 3:32 into the second half, assisted on a nice pass from Sarah Bunting, to make it 4-0.

“We played 48 really solid minutes but it’s a 60-minute game,” said Portland Coach Beth Arsenault.

“We were weak for two six-minute periods and that’s exactly when they scored.”

But overall this was a strong effort by the Bulldogs, who had just one win last year. Portland got a goal from Raechel Allen, assisted by Ellen Taffere, late in the game.

Effie Drew, Eleni Anderson and Mackinleigh Isherwood played well for the Bulldogs.

“We’ll definitely take some confidence away,” said Arsenault.

As will the Red Storm. Any doubts they might have had coming in were quickly dispelled.

“Coming in here, it was a little bit of not sure how it was going to go, hoping for a win,” said Howard. “Believing that we could do it but making sure we could pull it off.

“I think that we’ve started to learn to work together. We just have to learn to use the team to get the goals and not rely on any one player.”

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

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