Two of the best players in Class A South, Biddeford junior Abby Allen and Scarborough senior Carrie Timpson, fight for possession during the Tigers’ 1-0 victory Thursday night. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald photos. More photos below.

SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough field hockey coach Kerry Mariello has established the Red Storm as one of the state’s perennial powers.

Now, Caitlin Tremberth, a former player and assistant coach under Mariello, has the Biddeford Tigers in a similar spot.

One year after winning the Class A state title, Biddeford is wearing the bulls-eye that Scarborough knows so well and the Tigers are rising to the occasion.

Thursday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, the Red Storm gave Biddeford fits for 60 minutes, but couldn’t find a way to knock off the defending champions.

The Tigers dominated play early, but couldn’t finish, and the game went to halftime scoreless.

Biddeford finally got on the board with 15:31 remaining in regulation, as junior standout Abby Allen set up senior Brooklyn Goff for what proved to be the game’s lone goal.

Despite pushing hard down the stretch, Scarborough never managed the equalizer and went down to a 1-0 defeat.

The Tigers improved to 3-0 on the young season, extended their unbeaten streak to 21 and in the process, handed the Red Storm their first setback in three outings.

“It’s a huge win,” said Tremberth. “I never even thought I’d ever beat (Kerry). I have so much respect for her. I love her to death. She’s my mentor. She has one of the best programs around.”

Early season barometer

Biddeford had a magical season a year ago, capped by a 4-3 win over perennial champion Skowhegan in the Class A state final.

The Tigers have picked up where they left off, downing host Sanford (5-1) in their opener, then Tuesday, rallying from two-goals down to edge visiting Cheverus, 3-2, on junior Carley Lovejoy’s third goal off a penalty corner after time expired.

Scarborough didn’t get a chance to face Biddeford in last year’s playoffs, losing to Westbrook in the semifinals. The Red Storm opened their 2019 campaign with a 3-0 win at Falmouth, then they downed visiting Portland/Deering (10-0) Saturday.

Last fall, the teams didn’t meet. The most recent encounter was a 2-1 Biddeford win at Scarborough in the 2017 Class A South semifinals.

Thursday, on a 67-degree evening, the Red Storm sought their first win over the Tigers since Sept. 29, 2016 (3-0 at home), but Biddeford remained unbeaten.

Barely.

The Tigers came out on fire and for the game’s first 20 minutes, controlled play, only to have nothing to show for it.

After an early possession resulted in a shot which deflected off the post, Biddeford kept coming and Allen had a shot saved by Scarborough senior goalie Abby Roy, Goff missed just wide, sophomore Jill McSorley had a shot saved and the Tigers went 0-for-6 on penalty corners.

The Red Storm finally kicked their attack in gear late in the first half, but senior Jillian Cote was denied by Biddeford freshman goalie Abby Nadeau and senior Carrie Timpson, who scored seven times in the team’s first two games, missed just wide.

In the final minute of the half, Allen weaved through the Scarborough defense to set up a promising chance, but her shot hit a teammate’s foot to send the game to the break scoreless.

The Tigers had a 6-0 advantage in corners and a 4-2 edge in first half shots, but had nothing to show for it.

“Kudos to Scarborough on their defense and their goalie was amazing,” said Tremberth. “It kind of got in our heads a little bit not being able to score.”

“I like to be conservative at the start and see what they can show us, then come on offensively,” said Mariello. “We didn’t allow one to squeeze through and that was a huge confidence boost.”

There would be little separation as well in the second half.

With 22:59 to go in regulation, Allen looked to give Biddeford the lead, but she redirected the shot of senior Megan Mourmouras just over the cage.

The Red Storm’s best chance came with 19:25 remaining, as sophomore Erin Bresnahan got the ball to freshman Ayden Harris on the right flank, but Harris missed just wide.

Tremberth called timeout with 17:04 to go and a little over a minute later, the Tigers finally broke the ice.

The game-winner was set up by the unstoppable Allen, who again eluded multiple defenders before sending the ball on cage. The ball would be knocked around until it ended up on the stick of Goff, who directed it into the cage for a 1-0 lead with 15:31 to play.

“It was super-frustrating (not scoring), so we needed to take a deep breath and just get it in the net,” Goff said. “Abby, of course, took it up the field. She got it in the circle, shot it and it eventually came to me and I shot it. It hit the corner. Our wing, (sophomore) Jayme Walton, made sure it stayed in there.”

“We just had to keep being persistent and do the little things right,” Tremberth said. “We had to focus play-by-play. It wasn’t a pretty goal, but Brooklyn is tenacious everywhere. She fights hard.”

Biddeford senior Brookly Goff recognizes the team’s cheering section as her teammates celebrate her go-ahead goal in the second half.

Scarborough refused to go quietly.

With 10:20 left, the hosts earned a penalty corner, but the Tigers cleared the ball.

Two minutes later, the Red Storm got another corner, but again, it was broken up.

After Roy kept the deficit at one by robbing Lovejoy and after Mariello called timeout, the Red Storm earned one final corner with 40 seconds on the clock, but Allen broke it up and Biddeford managed to clear the ball and run out the clock and celebrate its 1-0 triumph.

“It was frustrating, but fun in the end,” said Goff. “We have to stay positive. We know people don’t want us to win, so we have to push to win. As much as we like to talk about last year, and we’re using that as a motivator, we also realize it’s a new season. We want to carry on our legacy. Anything is possible if we just stick together. Scarborough’s a very good team. It was great to play them. It was good competition for us.”

“I think returning the majority of our starters from last year, they have the poise and they know what works,” Tremberth said. “They’re so intense.”

The Tigers enjoyed a 7-2 advantage in shots on frame and took eight corners to Scarborough’s three. Nadeau only had to make two saves.

Scarborough was on its heels most of the night but never buckled and fought hard for 60 minutes. Roy made six saves in defeat.

“I trust that the defense is where it needs to be,” Mariello said. “Now, we just need to develop the offense. We had our opportunities. I know it’s early in the season and we have some loose ends to tie.”

Long way to go

Biddeford returns home Monday to face Bonny Eagle, then travels to Kennebunk Wednesday.

“Every win adds to our confidence,” Goff said. “Wins in games like this make us realize how good we can be.”

“There’s a lot of pride, but at the same time, we’re just loving the journey,” Tremberth said. “Hard work is paying off. We’re trying to focus on our team. Our practices need to be way more up-tempo. We try to make every time we practice more valuable and pick up our intensity. The only way to make our defense better is for them to play our forwards and vice versa.”

Scarborough, meanwhile, is back in action Monday at Sanford. The Red Storm then have a key home test versus Cheverus Wednesday.

“The experience of this caliber of game, I get to re-emphasize that we need to play at this level day-in, day-out,” Mariello said. “To grow off of this kind of game is great. I’m glad we got to see (Biddeford) early and know what we need to be later on. I have a few core girls back and I have a lot of faith in them. The younger girls stepped up. We’ll just grow from that.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Scarborough senior Julia Booth-Howe handles the ball.

Scarborough prepares to defend on one of Biddeford’s eight penalty corners.

Biddeford junior Abby Allen gets through Scarborough sophomore Kayleigh York, right, and senior Julia Booth-Howe. 

Biddeford junior Abby Allen launches a shot on goal. 

 

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