SCARBOROUGH—The schedule is just getting tougher, but Scarborough’s girls’ soccer team appears very much up to the challenge.

Tuesday evening against Falmouth at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, on the Red Storm’s Senior Night, it was Scarborough’s youngsters who set the tone, as in the game’s fifth minute, freshman phenom Ali Mokriski buried a long shot to put her team on top to stay.

Mokriski then set up sophomore Caitlin Noiles in the 16th minute and the Red Storm were in control.

Scarborough’s always-tough defense allowed just three shots from there and the Red Storm went on to a 2-0 victory.

Scarborough won its 12th game in a row this fall, its 27th in succession in the regular season and in the process, dropped the Yachtsmen to 7-2-3.

“I think we grinded it out,” said Red Storm coach Mike Farley, who won his 202nd game with the program. “We hit two wonder shots. Ali hit that missile and then Caitlin hit a full volley from the top of the box. Two really good goals. We moved the ball around and did a good job keeping (Falmotth) under pressure because they’re a solid defensive team. We opened them up a little bit and that was helpful the rest of the game.”

Two top title threats

Falmouth and Scarborough are annually among the finest teams in the region and 2019 is no different.

The Red Storm, who have only failed to solve Camden Hills the past two seasons, opened this fall with shutout wins over visiting Kennebunk (2-0) and Deering (3-0), host Biddeford (11-0), visiting Thornton Academy (1-0), host Westbrook (10-0) and visiting South Portland (3-0). After downing visiting Portland (4-1), Scarborough blanked host Sanford (5-0) and Massabesic (6-0), then gave Farley his 200th victory with the program, 3-0, over visiting Noble. Last Thursday, in their most recent outing, the Red Storm edged host Marshwood, 2-1.

The Yachtsmen held off visiting Sanford, 2-1, in their opener, then won at Massabesic (6-1) and Gorham (2-1). After a 1-1 home tie versus Kennebunk, Falmouth blanked visiting Deering, 4-0, and played host Bonny Eagle to a 1-1 draw. The Yachtsmen fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a last-minute, 3-2 home loss to Cheverus before tying host Windham (2-2) and beating visiting Biddeford (2-0), visiting Thornton Academy (1-0, in overtime) and host Westbrook (1-0).

Last year, Scarborough opened with a 1-0 win at Falmouth. The Red Storm also beat the Yachtsmen, 2-1, in 2017 and 6-0 in the 2014 Western Class A quarterfinals.

Tuesday, on a chilly evening (54 degrees at kickoff, 46 degrees at game’s end), Falmouth sought its first victory over Scarborough since Sept. 27, 2001 (3-1 at home), but the Red Storm pounced early and didn’t look back.

Scarborough got good pressure out of the gate and after senior Madison Blanche had a shot in front denied by Yachtsmen sophomore goalkeeper Jordan Wolf, the hosts took a 1-0 lead with 35:26 left in the first half, as junior Grace Pettingill got the ball to Mokriski, who bent a picture-perfect shot with her left foot over Wolf’s right shoulder and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“I got a great ball from Grace,” said Mokriski. “I first touched it with my right foot, then I hit it with my left foot and somehow it curved in. I’m naturally a lefty, so I’m comfortable with my left foot.”

Mokriski, who already holds the Red Storm’s freshman goal-scoring record by a large margin, has made her impact felt in quick order this fall.

“It’s been a really great experience,” said Mokriski. “There’s a lot of pressure, but the girls treat me like I’m their age and make me feel comfortable.”

“Ali makes a huge difference as the target player for us,” Farley said. “It allows everyone else to move into their natural positions. It’s not just the goals she scores, but challenging the center backs. She fights with players bigger than her, but mixing it up allows us to press.”

After senior Sarah Callahan and Noiles missed just high, the Red Storm doubled their lead.

With 24:02 to play in the first half, Mokriski, in transition, passed to Noiles, who one-timed a shot past Wolf and into the goal for a 2-0 lead.

“I just one-timed it to (Caitlin) and she had a great shot that went right by the goalie,” Mokriski said.

“Our plan coming into this was to make them take shots from distance, but Ali and Caitlin just hit two unbelievable shots,” said Falmouth coach Andrew Pelletier.

Late in the half, Scarborough nearly added to its lead, but Wolf denied Blanche and Callahan and Mokriski missed just high, keeping it a two-goal game at the break.

In the first 40 minutes, the Red Storm out-shot the Yachtsmen, 9-0.

Falmouth looked to answer right out of the break, but a through-ball from junior Allie Cunningham to senior Gabi Esmond was snared by Scarborough senior goalkeeper Nikki Young.

After Wolf saved bids from Blanche and Pettingill, the Yachtsmen got their first good chance, as Bugbee counter-attacked and found yards of open space before firing a low shot which Young had to bobble before saving with 25:20 to play.

“We got so deep attacking-wise, our midfielders squeezed down and (Lexi) did a good job coming out to get it,” Farley said.

After Noiles had a header saved by Wolf and senior Ashley Sabatino shot just high for the hosts, Bugbee set up sophomore Natalie Murray for a good look, which was saved by Young.

After Red Storm senior Emily Johnson skimmed a shot off the top of the crossbar, Falmouth had two final chances to get back in the game, but a long, low shot from Bugbee was saved and a Bugbee free kick was cleared, allowing Scarborough to close out its 2-0 victory.

“We moved the ball well, but we just missed from distance,” Farley said. “When we got the two goals, I think we let up a little bit, but we’ll take the goals we got.”

Scarborough finished with a 15-3 shots advantage and got three saves from Young.

Wolf made 13 saves for Falmouth, which just couldn’t generate enough offense on this night.

“I was happy with 40 minutes,” Pelletier said. “We just have to figure out a way to put together 80. Lexi has six goals and 18 assists and then we have 11 girls after that who have one. We don’t have a player who can change a game for us up front. We don’t generate too many chances.”

Each team had a pair of corner kicks.

Season-ending gauntlet

Falmouth (now sixth in the Class A South Heal Points standings) returns home Friday to face South Portland, then closes the regular season at Portland Tuesday of next week.

“I think if we’re able to get a result in the next couple games, we may be in position to finish fourth,” said Pelletier. “We’re trying to just worry about playing good soccer. We’re 30-40 minutes away each game from putting that together.”

Scarborough (second in Class A South), meanwhile, continues to face the region’s best teams to finish up, as it goes to Gorham Friday, then closes at undefeated, top-ranked Cheverus Tuesday.

“I think we’re ready,” Mokriski said. “We’ve grown as a team. I think we have a really good chance if we work hard and focus.”

“I’ve been impressed with how we’ve played all year,” Farley said. “We’re better than I thought we’d be and Ali’s a big reason for that. We’ll be battle-tested, so now it’s a playoff-type atmosphere. When its Gorham-Scarborough, throw records out, its who wants it more, and Cheverus will be gunning for us. They’re a quality team and they’ve played a harder schedule than we have.”

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

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