SCARBOROUGH—For the first time in weeks, Scarborough’s girls’ soccer team got pushed for 80 minutes, but the Red Storm were up for the challenge when they hosted Cheverus in a Class A South semifinal Friday evening at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex.

The top-ranked Red Storm got all the offense they would need courtesy junior standout Lana Djuranovic, who scored a highlight reel goal in the 11th minute, then rebounded home a corner kick from senior Ali Mokriski with 4;42 left in the in the first half.

But the fifth-seeded Stags, who have surged in recent weeks, got a dose of confidence with just 1:44 remaining before the break when sophomore Annie Vigue’s cross ricocheted into the goal to cut the deficit in half.

Scarborough had ample opportunity to put the game away in the second half, only to have Cheverus sophomore goalkeeper Evelyn Rush deny every shot, but the Stags couldn’t muster the tying tally and the Red Storm went on to a 2-1 victory.

Scarborough stayed perfect on the year at 16-0, ended Cheverus’ season at 12-5 and in the process, advanced to the Class A South Final Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., at Sanford High School, where it will take on either No. 2 Gorham (15-0) or reigning champion/No. 3 seed Windham (13-2).

“It was really good to have a game like this,” said Djuranovic, who is the Red Storm’s all-time single-season record holder for goals scored (26 and counting). “It was definitely a challenge for us, but it showed us what we can do and how much effort we can put in when we really have to.”


Just enough

Scarborough was expected all along to make a deep playoff run, while Cheverus’ participation in the semifinals came as a surprise to most (see sidebar for links to previous stories)

The Red Storm were only tested once, a 1-0 win at Windham early on, and outscored the opposition, 80-2, over the course of the regular season.

Tuesday, in the quarterfinals, Scarborough eliminated ninth-ranked Portland, 4-0.

Cheverus, meanwhile, overcame consecutive losses in the middle of the season and a young squad hit its stride at the right time.

The Stags opened the playoffs by blanking No. 12 Kennebunk, 4-0, in the preliminary round, then Wednesday, upset No. 4 Marshwood, 3-2, after winning in penalty kicks, 3-2.


The teams didn’t meet during the regular season, but had played six previous times in the playoffs. The most recent came in the 2019 Class A South Final, when Mokriski, then a freshman phenom, scored the decisive goal in a 2-1 Red Storm triumph.

Friday, on a chilly evening (just 47 degrees and dropping at kickoff), Scarborough came out strong and threatened to put the game away by halftime, but as it did during the season, Cheverus got up off the deck and came back to make things most interesting.

Cheverus sophomore Annie Vigue is sandwiched by Scarborough junior Avery Pettingill, left, and junior Talia Borelli early in the Red Storm’s 2-1 win in Friday’s Class A South semifinals. Hoffer photos.

The Red Storm carried play early and Djuranovic tried a couple times to beat Stags sophomore goalkeeper Evelyn Rush, only to be denied. Rush also saved a shot from Mokriski, while sophomore Emma Blanchette missed high.

Finally, with 29:25 to go in the first half, Djuranovic scored her latest highlight-reel goal, getting a little room in the middle before launching a 25-yard blast with her left foot (her off-foot) and her shot bent and sailed over Rush and into the net for a 1-0 advantage.

“Some of us watched Cheverus’ game against Marshwood and we knew they would stay back on defense, so we tried to take advantage of space in the midfield,” said Djuranovic. “Whenever I get in front of the 18-yard box, I look to take a shot because you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take. That spot is just so dangerous. I was just trying to get one for us. Usually, when I shoot with my left foot, I have a little bend in it and I knew I hit it well. Having a 1-0 lead in any game is so important for confidence. It gave us a boost.”

“Cheverus played a little low-pressure defense and that’s not something you see every day in our league,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “Most teams don’t come out and play a sophisticated low-pressure, where you have to break it down with passes through and get players free in areas where it’s tight. That made it tough, but it’s good to have players who can unbalance defenses. Lana can do whatever she wants on the field. She scored on that shot and it wasn’t even her dominant foot.”


The Stags’ first shot came in the 13th minute, when Vigue attempted to score from the side, but Red Storm sophomore goalkeeper Sophia Rinaldi made the stop.

Scarborough then went back on the attack, but Rush robbed Djuranovic after she took a feed from Mokriski, Djuranovic had another shot saved and off a deflection on a corner kick, junior Sanibel Shinners missed just high.

With just under 5 minutes remaining in the half, the Red Storm earned a corner kick where Mokriski served the ball in, it deflected off a defender and Djuranovic was there to bang home the rebound for a 2-0 advantage with 4:42 on the clock.

“I love playing with Ali,” Djuranovic said. “With her on the wing, it’s just a whole different game. I’ve never played with anyone who strives for the goal like she does. Her corners are great. It hit off a few players and I was just in the right place at the right time.”

“(Lana and Ali) have a great connection,” Farley said. “Ali plays really good corners in. They’re fairly driven, so goalies have to time it just right and luckily, it went just high enough and Lana was there. That was a big goal. That took some pressure off.”

“Lana’s a great person and a great player,” said Cheverus coach Craig Roberts. “I like her except when she’s playing us. It says something that she was the player who had to beat us.”


After Rush limited further damage by saving a shot from Mokriski, the Stags stole momentum back with 1:44 to go before halftime, when Vigue made a long run down the left wing and just before she got to the end line, she sent a perfect cross in front, where the ball bounced off multiple players and in to cut the deficit to 2-1.

“We had played three or four or five games in a row where we wanted to attack wide, but Scarborough’s a hard team to attack wide, so we wanted to play in front of them a little bit,” said Roberts. “Huge credit to Sofia Pothier, a junior role player, who came in and played up top for us. (Sophomore) Finley (Brown) found her up top and she opened up and played through the ball to Annie and Annie has been terrific. They had pressed high and they had to hustle back and we had some runners in the box.”

“That’s not a time you want to give up a goal,” Farley lamented. “That was a mistake. You want to get to a player before they get to the end line and cross the ball in and we had a chance to clear the ball, but we couldn’t do it. It’s a lesson learned.”

Despite a 10-2 shots advantage in the first half, the home team was only up by a slim 2-1 margin at halftime.

Scarborough senior Ali Mokriski defends Cheverus senior Caoilinn Durkin.

The Stags kept the pressure on to start the second half, earning a corner kick, but it didn’t result in a shot.

After a pass from senior Caoilinn Durkin to Brown was broken up by sophomore Delia Fravert, sophomore Sophia Monfa had a look to tie, but Rinaldi made the save.


Scarborough then had a multitude of chances to ice the victory, but Fravert couldn’t quite reach Djuranovic’s pass with an open goal in front of her, Mokriski was twice denied, Blanchette missed just high and freshman Maya Taylor had a shot saved.

With 10:37 to go, Fravert was robbed in front.

Less than a minute later, Rush denied a left-footed shot from Shinners.

Mokriski, who is the program’s record holder for career goals, assists and points, then had a couple great looks to end all doubt, but Rush stopped her left-footed shot, then after Djuranovic set her up for a breakway, Rush turned that shot aside as well.

Cheverus couldn’t answer, however, and the Red Storm were able to run out the clock and celebrate their 2-1 victory.

Scarborough celebrates its victory.

“Cheverus did a good job never giving up,” said Djuranovic. “They’re a tough team, but we’re close and we encouraged each other and kept each other going.”


“I knew we’d get pushed,” Farley said. “They’re really well-coached. I knew they’d show up and play organized.”

Scarborough finished with an 18-3 advantage in shots on frame, got two saves from Rinaldi and took five corner kicks to the Stags’ one.

Growth potential

Cheverus got 16 saves from Rush and hung tough throughout, but ultimately fell just one goal shy.

“I’m very proud,” Roberts said. “It stings right now, but this team and their coach has no regrets. I’m very happy with what we did this year. Scarborough’s well-coached and always organized. They’re just a good team. Come next round, I’ll be rooting for them because they have great girls and hard workers on their team. I thought we started the second half doing what we wanted to do, then they pressured us when we got tired. For the most part, we kept them outside the 18 with their shots. Evelyn came up big. She’s really improved and it will be nice to have her back next year.

“We had five or six girls starting who weren’t part of our group last year. I have three seniors, Lilly Hoyt, Marielle Rue and Maddy Marcisso, who I went to at the beginning of the season and said, ‘Look, we’re going to be a young team. We’re going to go nowhere if you don’t welcome them into the group.’ Those three made them feel welcome. Then you throw in Reese (Belanger), Maddie Hom and Caoilinn, who brought the competitive edge and the soccer piece, they showed the girls how to be soccer players. I tend to hyperbolize, but if they weren’t one of my best leadership groups, then they can see the front of the line. They were exactly what this team needed.”


While five key seniors graduate, Cheverus had an abundance of players see critical time this fall and that should spell a team primed to be a top contender again in 2023.

“We have a big sophomore group and in my experience, the jump from sophomore to junior year is a big one in terms of confidence,” Roberts said. “They know how to use their bodies. The game slows down a little bit. Some of our freshmen will be varsity players in other sports too, so they’ll come back next year with three seasons of varsity experience. I think with this group, soccer will be a priority next summer.”

Biggest test yet

Gorham and Windham play their semifinal Saturday night in Gorham and you can bet Scarborough will be interested bystanders, as the Red Storm know they’ll have their hands full with their foe next week.

Scarborough didn’t face Gorham during the regular season. The teams have split six prior playoff meetings. The most recent came in the 2016 regional final, a 2-0 victory for the Rams.

Scarborough got a late goal from Mokriski to beat Windham, 1-0, back on Sept. 8. The teams have played six previous times in the postseason, with the Red Storm holding a 4-2 advantage. Scarborough prevailed, 1-0, in overtime, in the 2018 Class A South semifinals, the last time the rivals played.

“I’m really excited,” Djuranovic said. “There are nerves, but I’m playing with my best friends so I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Both teams are really talented, but look at us. We have talent and passion and that’s what you need to beat a good team. It comes down to who wants it more and we want it a lot.”

“We just have to be focused for the whole 80 minutes and take advantage of the opportunities we create,” Farley said. “It doesn’t matter who we see. It’ll be a good game no matter what. Gorham’s been on a tear. They have dangerous forwards and a good, solid team all around. Windham’s very good too. Last year we should have done better. This year, the kids are motivated from that. A lot of the same players are here. We have the right mindset and as long as we play for a full 80 minutes, we’ll be tough to beat.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @foresports

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