BOX SCORE

Scarborough 14 Cheverus 4

S- 8 6- 14
C- 3 1- 4

First half
23:23 S Bilodeau (Donovan)
22:35 S Bilodeau (free position)
21:47 S Bilodeau (Donovan)
20:08 S Donovan (Bilodeau)
19:58 C O’Mara (unassisted)
19:17 C O’Mara (unassisted)
17:53 S Bilodeau (Murphy)
15:29 S Spooner (unassisted)
11:37 S Spooner (free position)
7:41 S Stolz (free position)
7:28 C O’Mara (free position)

Second half
23:45 S Grondin (unassisted)
22:55 S Spooner (Bilodeau)
18:45 S Henderson (free position)
11:27 S Bilodeau (Spooner)
6:55 S Bilodeau (O’Brien)
3:46 C O’Mara (Ackerly)
3:15 S Bilodeau (free position)

Goals:
S- Bilodeau 7, Spooner 3, Donovan, Grondin, Henderson, Stolz 1
C- O’Mara 4

Assists:
S- Bilodeau, Donovan 2, Murphy, O’Brien, Spooner 1
C- Ackerly 1

Draws (10-10)
S- Stolz 8 of 17, O’Brien 2 of 3
C- Belanger 10 of 18, O’Maray 0 of 2

Ground balls:
S- 54
C- 33

Turnovers:
S- 21
C- 27

Shots:
S- 30
C- 15

Shots on cage:
S- 23
C- 10

Saves:
S (Murphy) 6
C (Cawley) 9

PORTLAND—Improved doesn’t even begin to describe the Scarborough girls’ lacrosse team.

The Red Storm, who expected to return to their familiar perch among top Class A contenders this spring have been simply unstoppable the first quarter of the 2021 season and Thursday afternoon, in the rain at Boulos Stadium, they made the Cheverus Stags their third straight victim to begin the year.

Junior Natalie Bilodeau scored three quick goals, then set up classmate Meagan Donovan for a fourth goal to set the early tone.

After the Stags countered with a pair of goals from talented junior Riley O’Mara, Bilodeau scored an improbable goal off a pass from senior goalie Kathleen Murphy, then senior Paige Spooner scored twice and junior Darby Stolz added another goal before O’Mara’s third goal cut Scarborough’s lead to 8-3 at halftime.

The Red Storm quickly ended all doubt in the second half, as sophomore Stella Grondin, Spooner and sophomore Molly Henderson all scored once and Bilodeau added two more goals to induce a 10-goal mercy rule running clock.

O’Mara momentarily stopped it with her fourth goal, but Bilodeau scored one final time and Scarborough went on to a 14-4 victory.

Bilodeau scored seven times, Spooner added three goals and the Red Storm stayed undefeated while dropping Cheverus to 1-2 in the process.

“I really think this has been a long time coming,” said Emily Field, Scarborough’s third-year coach. “I think we’ve had talent and we’ve played the strongest teams and we did well, but it didn’t show up in the win column. I feel like it’s three years of these girls working together and wanting to be a winning team and it’s finally turned the corner for us.”

Rebirth

Scarborough, a four-time Class A champion, hasn’t posted a winning record since 2015 and over the past two seasons, 2018 and 2019, won a total of just three games, but the Red Storm came into the 2021 campaign believing they’d be vastly improved and that’s proved accurate, as Scarborough opened by downing visiting Gorham (14-5) and Thornton Academy (12-7).

Cheverus, meanwhile, had a very strong season in 2019, winning nine games and nearly upsetting eventual repeat champion Falmouth in a thrilling Class A North semifinal. This year, the Stags have a new coach in Sarah Varney and began by winning at Westbrook, 15-2. Cheverus then lost a close one at Gorham, 9-8, Tuesday.

In the teams’ last meeting two years ago, Cheverus won at Scarborough, 14-7.

Thursday, the Stags sought to beat the Red Storm for the fourth straight time, but Scarborough managed to down Cheverus for the first time since May 24, 2016 (18-6 in Portland).

The Stags had a chance to score first, but O’Mara was robbed by Murphy.

Then, with 23:23 to play in the first half, Bilodeau struck for the first time, finishing a feed from Donovan and beating Cheverus senior goalie Neve Cawley to put the Red Storm ahead for good.

Stolz won the ensuing draw and with 22:35 left in the half, Bilodeau earned a free position and buried her shot to double the lead.

After another Stolz draw win, Donovan again found Bilodeau for a goal and with 21:47 on the clock, Scarborough had a 3-0 advantage.

With 20:08 to go, after intercepting a pass, Bilodeau this time set up a goal, finding Donovan to extend the lead.

The Stags didn’t buckle, however, and after O’Mara won the ensuing draw and raced in and scored 10 seconds later, O’Mara scored another unassisted goal with 19:17 remaining to cut the deficit to 4-2.

“Riley brings such depth to our team,” Varney said. “She’s a fantastic player all over the field providing confidence for our other players.”

Cheverus had a chance to creep even closer when senior Mia Kratzer earned a free position 53 seconds later, but her shot was saved by Murphy.

Bilodeau then returned to her scoring ways, in shocking, non-traditional fashion.

After making the save on Kratzer, Murphy held the ball momentarily, looked for an open teammate, then eschewed the short throw for a heave way down the field.

Bilodeau ran under it, then raced in and scored, with Murphy earning the assist, and the score was 5-2 with 17:53 on the clock.

“I heard (Kathleen) yell, ‘Someone cut middle,’ so I took the initiative and just ran down the middle,” Bilodeau said. “She found me and that was awesome.”

The Red Storm then opened it up, as Spooner scored her first goal, unassisted, with 15:29 left in the half and after Murphy saved shots from O’Mara and Kratzer, Spooner converted a free position with 11:37 showing to make it 7-2.

After Cawley momentarily held Scarborough at bay by denying Stolz on a free position, Stolz got another opportunity with 7:41 remaining and she converted to extend the lead.

O’Mara then got the ball off the draw and raced in and scored 13 seconds later, but the Red Storm still managed to take an 8-3 advantage to halftime.

The Stags won eight of 12 first half draws, but they turned the ball over 13 times and Scarborough enjoyed an 18-9 shots advantage in the first 25 minutes.

Cheverus tried to get closer when the second half began, but O’Mara’s shot rang off the post.

From there, the Red Storm ended all doubt.

First, Grondin scored unassisted with 23:45 remaining.

With 22:55 to go, Bilodeau set up Spooner for a goal to make it 10-3.

After Cawley denied Bilodeau on a free position, Henderson converted her free position chance with 18:45 to play.

With 11:27 remaining, Spooner found Bilodeau to make it 12-3.

Then, with 6:55 left, sophomore Olivia O’Brien passed to Bilodeau for the goal which induced the mercy rule.

The clock only ran until 3:46 showed, however, as O’Mara took a feed from freshman EmaRae Ackerly and scored her final goal, but 31 seconds later, Bilodeau scored for the final time, on a free position, to account for the 14-4 final score.

“It’s been so much fun and it feels so good to be back playing,” Bilodeau said. “My freshman year we won one game, but now it’s totally different. We have really good chemistry. We all click really well. We’ve talked for months about this season, hyping ourselves up.”

“I think that our ride was really good,” Field said. “I think that we were really strong at controlling the midfield. The defense did a nice job working together. Riley’s a phenomenal player and I think they did a nice job handling that. One thing I’m really proud of this team is that we don’t have one go-to, although today we did.”

Bilodeau had herself a game, scoring seven goals, assisting on two others and grabbing seven ground balls for good measure.

“It was our first away game and I wanted to play the best I could,” said Bilodeau. “Those early goals kept me motivated.”

“Natalie’s quick and she anticipates well,” Field said. “I think she has a high game IQ. I’m sure she walks around her house with her stick in her hands. She’s honing her skills all the time.”

Spooner added three goals and an assist while also scooping up six ground balls.

Donovan, Grondin, Henderson and Stolz all scored once.

Donovan also had two assists, while Murphy and O’Brien each added one.

Murphy made six saves.

Scarborough had a commanding edge in ground balls, 54-33 (Stolz led the way with eight), out-shot Cheverus, 30-15 (23-10 on cage) and overcame 21 turnovers.

Cheverus’ offense featured four goals from O’Mara and an assist from Ackerly.

Freshman Reese Belanger won 10 of 18 draws, O’Mara had a game-high 14 ground balls and Cawley made nine saves.

The Stags turned the ball over 27 times.

“I’m really proud of my girls,” Varney said. “We hustled so hard. We came up with ground balls well and we came up with draw controls in the first half.”

On to May

Cheverus returns to action Monday at Thornton Academy. Wednesday brings a trip to Waynflete.

“Our goal is just to have fun this season,” Varney said. “We’ve only played three games. We have a whole season in front of us and we’re going to peak at the right time. We have a lot to improve on. There’s so much potential here.”

Scarborough hopes to stay perfect when it plays at Bonny Eagle Monday. A critical home test versus Massabesic looms Tuesday.

“We just have to work on slowing it down a bit,” said Bilodeau. “Sometimes we get a little too excited and don’t settle down in the attacking end.”

“So far, so good,” said Field. “We’ve got to keep the focus and keep pushing each other in practice and making each other better. This is a whole new mentality for us coming in as a winning team, so we have to keep working on mental toughness. I’m excited for the challenge.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.