SCARBOROUGH—Scarborough’s girls’ soccer team was looking for a boost heading into the playoffs and Tuesday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, the Red Storm got one.

But it didn’t come easily.

Hosting Cheverus in a possible playoff preview, Scarborough put 19 shots on goal and while only one of them found the mark, it was enough for the Red Storm to get back in the win column.

With 9:13 to play in the first half, Scarborough’s talented sophomore midfielder Lana Djuranovic headed home junior Bridget Davis’ corner kick for the lead.

While the Red Storm had plenty more opportunities, they hit the frame five times, were further stymied by Cheverus senior goalkeeper Emily Bontatibus and couldn’t produce any more offense.

It wouldn’t matter, as Scarborough’s defense was dominant, frustrating the Stags from start to finish and closing out a 1-0 victory.

The Red Storm snapped a two-game winless skid, ended the regular season 12-1-1 and in the process, dropped Cheverus to 9-5.

“We’ve played the best teams in the league, except Windham, and having (Falmouth, Gorham and Cheverus) as our last three games really helps us because it gave us a sense of what playoffs is like,” said Djuranovic.

Playoff-ready

Cheverus and Scarborough have been among the top contenders in Class A South for several years and even played in the regional final two years ago, won by the Red Storm.

This season, each squad is hopeful of being the last one standing in the region.

The Stags opened with a 2-0 victory at South Portland. After downing visiting Portland (7-2) and Marshwood (7-1) and winning at Massabesic (10-0), Cheverus suffered its first setback, 3-1, at Gorham, before bouncing back for a 5-1 victory at Deering. After a 2-1 loss at Falmouth, the Stags blanked Bonny Eagle (4-0) and Kennebunk (1-0, in overtime), fell in double-overtime at Windham (2-1), then beat visiting Biddeford (7-1), lost at Thornton Academy in OT (2-1) and most recently, blanked visiting Westbrook.

The Red Storm started with an 8-1 win at Deering and a 4-0 home shutout of Biddeford. After edging host Thornton Academy, 1-0, Scarborough had its way with visiting Westbrook (17-1), host South Portland (6-1), host Portland (5-0), visiting Sanford (6-0) and visiting Massabesic (10-1). After a 2-0 win at Noble, the Red Storm downed host Kennebunk (5-1) and held off visiting Marshwood (2-1) before letting an early slip away in a 3-1 setback at Falmouth. Scarborough’s last game resulted in a 2-2 home tie against Gorham.

The teams didn’t play a year ago.

Tuesday, on a raw, windy and chilly evening (51 degrees at the start, dropping to 48 by the end), Scarborough did just enough to improve to 18-4 all-time versus Cheverus (see below, for previous results).

Red Storm junior standout Ali Mokriski tried to put her team on top early, but Bontatibus saved her first shot, then her second sailed high.

In the 10th minute, senior Una Djuranovic sent a promising rising shot on goal which Bontatibus couldn’t reach, but the ball rang off the crossbar.

Not for the last time.

After Mokriski was denied again by Bontatibus, freshman Finley Brown took the Stags’ first shot, but it was saved by Scarborough sophomore goalkeeper Mackenzie Lydon.

After saving another shot from Mokriski, Bontatibus went sprawling to keep a Mokriski shot out of the goal, but with 9:13 to go in the first half, the Red Storm finally broke through.

Off a corner kick, Davis lofted a beautiful serve in front, where Lana Djuranovic was waiting to head it past Bontatibus and into the net for a 1-0 lead.

“I just had a feeling I just had to go for it,” said Djuranovic, who broke Maureen McHugh’s single-season program scoring record (30 points, on 17 goals and 13 assists, which dated to 2000). “As soon as I saw the ball, I knew it was going in.”

“It was good to get a goal from a corner,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “We always draw it up for Lana to be in a dangerous spot on the field. She’s scored nice goals off corners this year. Getting players between the penalty spot and six-yard box is always what we want to do. Lana has the single-season record and Ali’s right behind her with 28 points. The two of them really drive us offensively. They get most of our chances. Other players help us out as well, but our goals primarily come from those two and they have to be dangerous for us to be effective.”

Cheverus hoped to answer, but senior Julia Kratzer missed wide and the game went to halftime still anyone’s contest.

Scarborough came out for the second half eager to add to its lead, but it wasn’t to be.

First, Bontatibus saved shots from Mokriski and senior Natalie Bilodeau.

With 25 minutes to go, it was Mokriski’s turn to hit the crossbar.

Three minutes later, Bontatibus made a terrific save on a point blank shot from senior Evelyn Boardman.

With 17:51 to play, Una Djuranovic fired a shot that Bontatibus tipped off the underside of the crossbar before saving.

Boardman then missed wide.

The Stags tried a quick counter-attack with 13:46 on the clock, but Lydon barely beat Brown to Kratzer’s through ball.

The Red Storm came the other way and Una Djuranovic had a nice look, but Bontatibus saved that shot as well.

Back came Cheverus with its best chance, as Kratzer set up Brown for a breakway down the left flank, but her shot was cradled by Lydon to preserve the lead.

With 10:45 on the clock, Davis took a long free kick which nearly resulted in an own goal, when it deflected off a Stags’ defender’s head, but Bontatibus reacted quickly, tipped the ball off the crossbar, then grabbed it.

“Our shots were pretty good and if we keep shooting like that, they’ll go in,” said Lana Djuranovic. “Hitting the crossbar is lucky because it means we’re on-target. It motivates us to keep shooting and go for the goal.”

After Lana Djuranovic had a shot saved, it was senior Darby Stolz’s turn to be flustered, when her bid hit the post with 8:18 remaining.

Bontatibus made one more memorable save, diving to rob Lana Djuranovic, but her teammates couldn’t generate another rush and the clock ran out with Scarborough on top, 1-0.

“We beat a quality team,” said Farley. “They played defensively most of the game, but they made it tough for us. The last two games, I think we’ve played pretty well.”

The Red Storm got a pair of saves from Lydon and had a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.

Bontatibus stole the show for the Stags, making 18 saves.

“(Emily’s) a good keeper and with the wind, it was really hard too,” said Lana Djuranovic.

“Emily was focused,” Cheverus coach Craig Roberts said. “This is her first year as a starter and she’s kept us in our big games all season long. She was huge against Windham. Against Gorham, she made some key saves. She’s a basketball player and she has really good hands. She catches everything in her fingers and in front of her. She can cover everything high. She covers the whole space. You’re always worried when there’s a shot on goal, but we’re pretty comfortable she can make those saves on high shots.

“We had some new players in new positions and I thought they held their own really well, but in the final third, we have to work on getting behind the backs. A lot of penetrating passes went right to the feet of (Scarborough’s) backs instead of into those gaps. That will be a point of emphasis in practice.”

Chasing gold

Cheverus projects to the be the No. 6 seed in Class A South.

“If we play like this, I feel very good about our chances in the playoffs,” said Roberts. “I think (our opponent is) going to be either Portland or Biddeford, depending on how things go. We’ll have a home game. Regardless of opponent, there are things we can work on to be better. Earlier in the season, we wanted to win, but we didn’t have everybody willing to do what we needed to win. I think we have that now. Now, it’s just getting newer players to be comfortable and they should feel comfortable after tonight.”

Scarborough will likely be ranked fourth for the postseason, which means it will be in undefeated, top-ranked Windham’s bracket.

“I’m really excited,” Lana Djuranovic said. “We have really talented players and we just want to play our game. There’s a lot of pressure, but having my sister, who’s my best friend, will really help me. It’s about how we play and we connect. If we just settle the ball and play like we always do, we’ll have success.”

“This gives us a feel of what the playoffs will be like,” Farley said. “We have a young team, three sophomores starting in the back. It’s different than most years. Windham’s a great team and you have to play them sometime. We’re not scared of anybody. We’ll go out and play like we play and see what happens.”

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

Previous Scarborough-Cheverus results

2019
@ Cheverus 1 Scarborough 0
Class A South Final
Scarborough 2 Cheverus 1

2018
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 1
Class A South Final
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 1

2017
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 0
Class A South semifinals
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0

2016
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 1

2015
Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 1 

2012
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 0

2011
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 1 (tie)
Western A quarterfinals
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0

2010
Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 0
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 1

2009
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0 (OT)

2008
@ Cheverus 3 Scarborough 2

2007
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 0

2006
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 0

2005
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 0

2004
@ Cheverus 3 Scarborough 2 (OT)
Western A semifinals
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0 (2 OT)

2003
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 1

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