Scarborough junior Darby Stolz battles Portland sophomore Elizabeth Littel in the draw circle during the Red Storm’s 13-4 victory Thursday. Hoffer photo

BOX SCORE

Scarborough 13 Portland 4

P- 2 2- 4
S- 7 6- 13

First half
24:27 P Littel (unassisted)
22:03 S Stolz (unassisted)
20:22 S Stolz (Donovan)
17:02 S Stolz (free position)
14:04 P Littel (Dana)
11:23 S Spooner (unassisted)
9:11 S Donovan (Spooner)
8:25 S Spooner (Donovan)
31.6 S Conley (unassisted)

Second half
20:05 S Bilodeau (unassisted)
19:57 S Spooner (unassisted)
14:42 S Bilodeau (Spooner)
13:56 P Littel (Dana)
8:01 P Schwartz (unassisted)
7:26 S Bilodeau (free position)
6:15 S Bilodeau (Donovan)
2:34 S Conley (unassisted)

Goals:
P- Littel 3, Schwartz 1
S- Bilodeau 4, Spooner, Stolz 3, Conley 2, Donovan 1

Assists:
P- Dana 2
S- Donovan 3, Spooner 2

Draws (Portland, 11-8)
P- Littel 4 of 6, Stein 4 of 6, Marvin 1 of 4, Merrill 2 of 2, Seavey 0 of 1
S- Stolz 3 of 11, Spooner 3 of 4, O’Brien 2 of 4

Ground balls:
P-  29
S- 51

Turnovers:
P- 35
S- 22

Shots:
P- 17
S- 34

Shots on cage:
P- 14
S- 25

Saves:
P (Doiron) 10 (Hyunh) 3
S (Murphy) 10

SCARBOROUGH—If some early, decisive victories weren’t enough to convince you that Scarborough’s girls’ lacrosse team was back, the fact that the Red Storm can recover from a close loss against a top team and remain on schedule has to do the trick.

Thursday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Scarborough, two days removed from a down-to-the-wire, one-goal loss to perennial contender Massabesic, answered back with a vengeance against visiting Portland, thanks once again to balanced offense and a defense that never let the Bulldogs get comfortable.

Portland struck first on a goal from sophomore Elizabeth Littel, but Red Storm junior Darby Stolz scored three times in five minutes to put Scarborough ahead to stay.

After Littel scored a second goal, senior Paige Spooner, junior Maegan Donovan, Spooner and senior Kayla Conley tacked on goals to make it 7-2 Red Storm at halftime.

Scarborough didn’t only score prolifically in the first 25 minutes, it also forced 19 Bulldogs’ turnovers.

The Red Storm were never seriously threatened in the second half, as junior Natalie Bilodeau and Spooner scored quick goals and Bilodeau capped a 7-0 run for a commanding 10-2 advantage.

Littel and senior Sadie Schwartz answered for the Bulldogs, but Scarborough finished strong, as Bilodeau scored twice more and Conley added one more goal for good measure as the Red Storm went on to a 13-4 victory.

Bilodeau paced a balanced attack with four goals and Scarborough, which won only one game in 2019, improved to 5-1 and in the process, dropped Portland to 2-3.

“Not being perfect is OK, but this is a pretty good feeling,” said Red Storm coach Emily Field. “We’re working on being a team and passing up and down the field and tonight we played a beautiful game. The girls have worked so incredibly hard.”

Bounce back

Scarborough started the year with four straight victories, over Gorham (14-5), Thornton Academy (12-7), Cheverus (14-4) and Bonny Eagle (14-3), then couldn’t hold a second half lead Tuesday in a hard-fought 8-7 home loss to perennial power Massabesic.

The Red Storm chose to look at that loss as a blessing in disguise.

“We learned we need to keep our composure and that we have to stay tough,” Stolz said.

“I’m not happy that we lost, but it was a tremendous game for us,” said Field.

Portland, meanwhile, defeated visiting Westbrook, 16-1, to start the year, then, after a 17-2 home loss to two-time reigning Class A champion Falmouth, downed visiting South Portland (8-4) before falling at home to undefeated Kennebunk Monday, 14-2.

In the teams’ last meeting, April 27, 2017, the Bulldogs eked out a 9-8 home win for their first win over the Red Storm in 13 years.

Thursday, on a very pleasant 61-degree evening, Scarborough returned the favor.

Portland couldn’t have asked for a better start, as senior Lydia Stein won the opening draw and 33 seconds into the game, Littel finished unassisted for the lead.

But that would be as good as it got for the Bulldogs.

Stolz pulled the Red Storm even with an unassisted goal with 22:03 to go in the first half.

“They got the first goal and that got me fired up to get it back,” Stolz said. “I wasn’t looking to get the first goal, but it was nice that I did.”

Stolz then gave Scarborough the lead for good with 20:22 left, taking a feed from Donovan before beating Portland senior goalie Samira Doiron for a 2-1 advantage.

Red Storm senior goalie Kathleen Murphy preserved the lead by denying Portland senior Lucy Howe, then with 17:02 on the clock, Stolz scored for the third time, finishing on a free position.

After Spooner hit the crossbar at one end, the Bulldogs pulled within one, as junior Chelsea Dana set up Littel.

Scarborough then pulled away by halftime.

With 11:23 on the clock, Spooner scored unassisted.

With 9:11 to go, in transition, Spooner set up Donovan for a 5-2 lead.

Portland coach Beth Broderick called timeout, but it didn’t stem the tide.

With 8:25 left before halftime, again in transition, Donovan found Spooner for a goal.

Then, after Red Storm sophomore Olivia O’Brien and Stolz each hit the post, Conley scored unassisted with 31.6 seconds remaining and Scarborough held a 7-2 advantage at the break.

In the first 25 minutes, the Bulldogs won six of 10 draws, but they turned the ball over 19 times and the Red Storm had a 20-6 advantage in shots to hold a comfortable lead.

Scarborough put it away in the second half.

After Doiron denied Spooner, Bilodeau and junior Ashley Farrington, Bilodeau scored unassisted with 20:05 to play and off the ensuing draw, Spooner scored unassisted to make it 9-2.

With 14:42 remaining, Spooner set up Bilodeau for another goal, but 46 seconds later, Dana set up Littel for a goal to end the Red Storm’s 7-0 run and a 25-minute, 8-second scoring drought.

Portland stayed on the attack and after sophomore Emily Seavey and sophomore Lilah Green had free positions saved by Murphy and Seavey hit the crossbar, senior Ella Reagan rang a shot off the post, but Schwartz was there to finish on the rebound and the Bulldogs had a little life, down, 10-4, with 8:01 left.

Field called timeout and the Red Storm finished strong, as Bilodeau scored on a free position 35 seconds later, Donovan set up Bilodeau for her final goal with 6:15 to go and with 2:34 on the clock, Conley finished unassisted to bring the curtain down on Scarborough’s 13-4 victory.

“It’s so exciting,” Stolz said. “It’s been such a nice transition from not winning to finally getting some wins this year. I think our cohesion has been the difference. We work well together. Our defense is good. We work so well and when we do communicate, we have the slides and the double (teams).”

“We’ve worked on our mental game all year and we’ve faced our challenges, but we adapt and change and grow every game,” said Field.

The Red Storm got four goals from Bilodeau, three apiece from Spooner and Stolz, two from Conley and one from Donovan.

Donovan also had three assists, while Spooner added a pair.

Murphy made a dozen saves.

“We have a great goalie,” said Stolz. “She’s one of my favorite people.”

Scarborough had a 51-29 advantage in ground balls (Spooner led the way with eight, while junior Maya Sellinger and sophomore Molly Henderson each collected six), enjoyed a 34-17 edge in shots (26-16 on cage) and overcame 22 turnovers, while forcing 35.

“I thought we had good rides in the last game, but I thought we they were especially great tonight,” Field said. “The attack is working so hard to keep the ball in their attacking end the whole time and it’s just great for us. It’s a great morale boost for us to keep attacking again and again.”

Portland’s offense featured three goals from Littel, one goal from Schwartz and a pair of assists from Dana.

The Bulldogs got 10 saves from Doiron and three from backup goalie, junior Caitlin Hyunh.

“We had fun together tonight as a team and rallied together when we’d dug ourselves into a hole,” Broderick said. “It was really nice to see our younger players contribute, to see the energy our upperclassmen players brought on and off the field. Fewer mental errors early on would have been nice, but our goal is to get better each week and we’re really happy with the effort tonight towards that goal.”

Upcoming

Portland hopes to get back to .500 next Wednesday at Bonny Eagle.

Scarborough, meanwhile, begins the second half of its schedule by hosting Westbrook Monday. Wednesday brings a challenge, at top Class B contender Greely.

“We have to keep working together and give 100 percent in practices and in games,” Stolz said.

“We have to keep working together,” Field said. “We have to keep doing what works for us. We have to practice like we play and make each other better. There are always small areas we can work on.”

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

Comments are not available on this story.