SACO — Unlike years past, there are no givens this year in the Class A South field hockey race. As the season has unfolded, the contending teams have all beaten each other.

And that’s why Scarborough Coach Kerry Mariello didn’t hesitate to call the Red Storm’s 2-1 victory over Thornton Academy at Hill Stadium Thursday night her team’s biggest win of the season.

“Absolutely,” she said. “It’s a turning moment type of game. It’s the middle of the season, we’ve got to see where we are.”

The defending Class A state champs are back atop the Heal point standings at 7-1 record. Thornton Academy dropped to 6-2 and into seventh place in the Heal standings, its other loss to No. 2 Cheverus, which suffered its first loss earlier on Thursday.

Scarborough scored in the first minute on a goal by Lily Nygren, and led 2-0 at the half after Kristen Levesque scored on a penalty corner, assisted by her sister, Ashley Levesque. But it took a great effort by goalie Alyssa Souza (10 saves) and a frantic final 83 seconds for the Red Storm to hold on.

Thornton scored 4:04 into the second half on a nifty goal by Taylor Ouellette, assisted by Grace Pickering. And the Trojans controlled the second half, only to be continually turned back by Souza. Her best save came with 16:30 remaining when Ouellette – a teammate of Souza’s on a club team – broke in alone. Souza came out and sprawled to make the stop.

“She’s a good friend and definitely a challenging opponent,” said Souza. “It was great to just show her what I can do especially after she scored on me.”

Mariello called a timeout with 83 seconds left after the Trojans had another drive roll just wide of the goal. She stressed defense, defense and more defense. Then Thornton was awarded its first penalty corner with about 12 seconds remaining. Under field hockey rules, the corner must be played out even if the clock runs out.

The Trojans set up Pickering at the top of the circle and her drive sliced through a maze of players – right off the left post. It deflected back off a Thornton player’s leg, ending the corner and the game.

“I’m speechless about that one,” said Souza. “We played great defense and they played great offense and it just happened to miss the goal by inches. I’m thankful for that.”

Afterward, Mariello praised her team’s defensive effort, especially Souza.

“She needed a game like that, the defense needed that game,” said Mariello. “We just needed this whole package type of game to get us where we need to be at this point in the season.”

Levesque said Souza provided a huge lift. “Oh my gosh, she was fantastic,” she said. “She was aggressive and that’s exactly what we want for the rest of the season.”

It was another disappointing loss for the Trojans, who entered the season as perhaps the leading contender to unseat Scarborough. It was the second game in a row Thornton gave up a goal in the first minute.

“I think it shows we fight, we come back and we don’t give up,’ said Trojans Coach Lori Smith. “But I feel we put ourselves in the position of being behind.

“If that hadn’t happened, it might have been a different game.”