SCARBOROUGH — One goal was enough for top-ranked Scarborough on Wednesday night, as the Red Storm used a suffocating defense and keeper Pat Stanton’s shutout performance to beat Greely 1-0 in a Western Class A boys’ soccer quarterfinal.

Defense was the difference for Scarborough (12-1-2), which will host No. 4 Gorham in a regional semifinal on Saturday. Eighth-seeded Greely (8-7-1) took only two shots on goal and was awarded one corner kick. Whenever a Greely attacker got loose on the outside, two Scarborough defenders quickly swarmed the ball, usually preventing a pass from being sent into the middle.

Scarborough Coach Mark Diaz said he was impressed with his players’ conditioning, and how that played a big role down the stretch

“The defense played really well, especially in the last 10 minutes. We got tired toward the end. It’s just hard to replicate this kind of pace. I don’t care how you practice or who you scrimmage, it’s hard to get that playoff pace.

“Toward the end we got a little fatigued, but they stayed together, and they were the difference in the game.”

Scarborough scored in the first half and controlled the pace for much of the first 40 minutes, but Greely possessed the ball much more often in the second half. The Rangers’ best scoring chance came with 8:31 remaining, after a throw-in. Freshmen Mitchel Donovan found himself unguarded in the box, but his shot from the right sailed just left of the far post.

Greely Coach Mike Andreasen credited the Red Storm defense, but thought inexperience hurt his team.

“In the second half our offense really came alive, and we had a lot of chances. Unfortunately for us, inexperience around the net and their defense combined to keep us out.”

Scarborough’s goal came from Trevor Sparda with 18:59 to play in the first half. He was set up by Andrew Jones, who corralled a loose ball and timed the pass perfectly for Sparda to receive it behind the Rangers’ defense.

“We made one mistake in the back, and they made none. When that happens at this level, usually it results in a goal,” said Andreasen.

Diaz applauded Sparda for his finishing touch.

“Sparda got inside a seam, and Jones got it to him at the right time in order to stay on side. From there it was pretty much (Sparda) and the keeper, and I thought he kept it low and got it underneath him.”

Scarborough is in search of its sixth regional title in nine years. Diaz says his team will need to pass the ball better and improve its finishing as it advances in the playoffs.

“We’ve got to move the ball better still. Our finishing can always get better. Were young, so hopefully the more playoff games we get the more that we’ll improve.”

Andreasen said this Red Storm team has a different style than past teams, but still retains its trademark discipline.

“Scarborough is always known for their offense, but their defense came forth tonight. Scarborough is tactically as good as anybody. Mark does a fantastic job with his team; his kids are always ready to play. Even in a year like this year when he’s got a lot of young kids, they still know the system, and the system works.”

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