Scarborough junior Grace Pettingill looks to pass the ball between a pair of Noble defenders during the Red Storm’s 3-1 victory in Friday’s Class A South semifinal.

SCARBOROUGH—Tuesday afternoon, Noble scored 27 seconds into the game and went on to upset Portland in the Class A South girls’ soccer quarterfinals.

Friday, Scarborough ensured that didn’t happen again by doing the exact opposite, twice starting halves with quick goals en route to victory in the semifinal round at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.

Just 67 seconds into the contest, senior Ashley Sabatino set up freshman sensation Ali Mokriski for a goal which put the third-seeded Red Storm on top to stay.

The seventh-ranked Knights hung tough the rest of the first half, thanks in large part to the heroics of senior goalie Raegan Kelly, but just 58 seconds into the second half, Mokriski finished again and Scarborough had some breathing room.

When senior Madison Blanche headed in a feed from senior Emily Johnson with 19:57 to play, the Red Storm appeared home free, but Noble battled to the end and even got a goal from sophomore Olivia Howard with 4:44 remaining.

That’s as close as the Knights would get, however, and Scarborough went on to a 3-1 victory.

The Red Storm improved to 14-2 with their eighth consecutive regional playoff victory, ended Noble’s season at 11-5-1, and of greatest importance, advanced to battle top-ranked, undefeated Cheverus (16-0) in the Class A South Final Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., at Waterhouse Field in Biddeford.

“The kids earned it today,” said Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “Noble’s a good team. They kept us under pressure until the last whistle.”

Unexpected home game

Scarborough wasn’t seeded to host a semifinal, but thanks to Noble, it worked out that way.

The Knights, ranked seventh in Class A South after a 9-4-1 regular season, edged No. 10 Marshwood, 3-2. in the preliminary round, then upset second-seeded Portland in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round, 2-1.

The Red Storm, meanwhile, posted double-digit regular season victories for the 11th consecutive season.

Scarborough opened 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), the Red Storm blanked host Sanford (5-0) and Massabesic (6-0) and visiting Noble (3-0). After edging host Marshwood, 2-1, Scarborough blanked visiting Falmouth (2-0), then lost, 2-1, at Gorham and fell at Cheverus in the regular season finale, 1-0, suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since 2001.

The Red Storm held off No. 6 Falmouth, 1-0, in their quarterfinal Tuesday.

Scarborough downed visiting Noble, 3-0, Oct. 4, as Mokriski, sophomore Caitlin Noiles and Sabatino all scored to give Farley his 200th victory with the program.

In the teams’ lone prior playoff meeting, the Red Storm prevailed, 3-1, in last year’s quarterfinal round.

Friday, on 55-degree afternoon that featured winds gusting over 20 miles per hour, Scarborough did it again, by the same score.

The Red Storm struck quickly and with 38:53 still to play in the first half, Sabatino sent the ball through to Mokriski, who got behind the defense and beat Kelly with a low shot to the goalie’s left, just inside the post for a 1-0 advantage.

“Going into it, we knew we had to come out strong early,” Blanche said. “We’ve worked in practice all week leading up this game trying to score right away. That’s the mindset we had. Ali brings so much to the team. She’s such a great kid. For someone that young, she’s so composed.”

“We’ve tried to come out strong in the first 20 minutes and get a goal,” said Farley. “That builds you up and makes the other team struggle to get back in the game. Ali had a great finish. She’s very composed.”

Noble’s first shot came in the 13th minute, but Howard missed wide.

Kelly then stepped up big, making a save on a corner kick, breaking up a rush by Mokriski, then denying Noiles to keep Scarborough’s lead at one at the half.

In the first 40 minutes, the Red Storm had a 5-0 advantage in shots on frame and took three corner kicks to none for the Knights, but nothing had been decided.

Scarborough then got some breathing room 58 seconds into the second half, as Blanche won the ball in the middle of the field, passed to Noiles on the right flank and Noiles fired a shot which Kelly managed to get a hand on, but not cradle and waiting for the rebound was Mokriski, who tapped the ball with her left foot before it struck the ground and sent it into the net for a 2-0 advantage.

“We got after them in the beginning of the second half,” Farley said. “The final pass was big and we got in behind them a little bit. (Ali’s) a difference-maker for us. She’s so dangerous. Freshmen rarely see the field at all, not to mention starting and scoring big goals. I can only imagine what she’ll be like as a senior.”

After Kelly denied a shot from Sabatino (set up by Johnson) and got to a feed from Sabatino to Mokriski, the Red Storm took a corner kick in the 55th minute and Blanche had a great look in the box, but she was robbed.

With 19:57 remaining, Scarborough scored its third goal, as Johnson sent in a direct kick from the side and Blanche was there to head it home.

“It was an amazing ball from Emily,” Blanche said. “I saw it coming and it was right to my head. I hardly had to move, just get my head on it.”

“I’ve never seen Maddie win a head ball, in practice or in a game,” Farley said. “That was an awesome goal. Their goalie is awesome, so scoring against her isn’t an easy feat. She works so hard and it’s nice to see her get rewarded.”

Mokriski nearly completed her hat trick two minutes later, Kelly denied her on a breakaway.

Noble finally generated some offense in the final moments.

After junior Maia Clark had a shot saved by Red Storm senior goalkeeper Nikki Young, the Knights earned a penalty kick with 6:22 left, but Howard sent it off the crossbar.

Finally, with 4:44 to go, off a corner kick, the ball fell in the box and wasn’t cleared and Howard was there to finish.

That’s as much offense as Noble could generate, however, and Scarborough closed out its 3-1 victory.

“We knew (Noble would) work hard no matter what,” Blanche said. “They’re a great team. We had to stay together and never let down.”

The Red Storm had a 16-3 shots advantage, got two saves from Young and took five corner kicks to the Knights’ three.

Noble got 13 saves from Kelly, but its season came to a close.

Neutral field final

Tuesday, for the first time, the Class A South Final will be held at a neutral site and not on the home field of the higher seed, which means Scarborough doesn’t have to play on Cheverus’ grass field, but instead on the turf in Biddeford.

Scarborough lost its regular season meeting at Cheverus, 1-0, but the Red Storm are 5-0 all-time versus the Stags in the playoffs, with a 3-1 victory in last year’s regional final the most recent.

“We have to play as a team,” Blanche said. “Team chemistry is so important and that’s in our favor. Coming out with intensity will be important.”

“It won’t be a picnic,” Farley said. “Cheverus is undefeated for a reason. They have some star players. It’s not going to be an easy match.

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

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