SCARBOROUGH—Her number might be different, but Lana Djuranovic remains a player without peer.

And Djuranovic and her Scarborough girls’ soccer teammates, the reigning Class A state champions, are looking mighty strong at the onset of the 2023 campaign.

Friday morning/afternoon at the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex, Djuranovic, a senior midfielder, captain and the hero of last year’s state game, scored four goals, two in each half, and the host Red Storm defeated Falmouth, 4-1.

The Red Storm won their season opener for the 15th straight year and served notice that the road to the title again goes through them.

“The fall is my favorite season. To be with my best friends, I’m so excited for senior year,” said the University of Miami (Florida)-bound Djuranovic, who changed from the number 21 to 10 this season. “My sister (Una Djuranovic, Class of 2022) was number 10 and my best friend who graduated last year, Julia Black, was also number 10. I decided this year to wear it for my sister and my best friend.”

More of the same


Scarborough enjoyed a magical campaign in 2022, one of the finest seasons in program annals, as it went 18-0 and won the Class A state title for the first time in a decade, outlasting Brunswick in a double-overtime epic, 1-0, on Djuranovic’ header off a corner kick served up by Ali Mokriski, who is now playing at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

While the Red Storm did lose Mokriski and some other top-notch players to graduation, there’s talent enough in reserve to keep them atop the list of title favorites this fall.

Falmouth finished 9-7 last season, losing, 2-0, to Gorham in the Class A South quarterfinals.

The Navigators also lost some key players, but also expect to be in contention this season.

Last fall, the Red Storm won, 2-0, at Falmouth.

Friday, on a beautiful first day of September (72 degrees at kickoff and rising), the Navigators looked for just their second win over Scarborough since the start of the 2002 season, but instead, the Red Storm began their repeat quest in victorious fashion.


Scarborough senior Lana Djuranovic works her magic around Falmouth senior Mallory Kerr (17) and senior Morgan Adams early in Friday’s season opener. Djuranovic scored all four goals as the defending Class A champion Red Storm prevailed, 4-1. Hoffer photos.

It took just 36 seconds for Scarborough to unleash its first shot, but a bid from senior Talia Borelli was denied by Falmouth’s junior goalkeeper Madison VerLee.

After junior Delia Fravert missed just wide and Djuranovic sent her first bid high, the Red Storm went on top for good with 32:17 to play in the first half.

On a play we’ve seen before.

And would see again.

After pressure from Djuranovic forced the ball out, setting up a corner kick, Fravert served the ball toward the back post where Djuranovic soared and headed it past VerLee for a 1-0 lead.

“I didn’t even realize I had done something similar to last year until I got off the field (for a break) then I did,” Djuranovic said. “It brings back memories.”


“Lana changes the game and makes a coach feel real good,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mike Farley. “You can almost chalk up a corner goal every game. She can score in so many ways. It makes it so hard for the other team.”

After sophomore Maya Taylor missed high and Djuranovic missed just wide, she made a nice move but had a shot saved by VerLee.

Midway through the half, Djuranovic nearly headed home another Fravert corner, but sent it over the crossbar.

Her next chance would result in her second goal.

With 18:55 to go before halftime, Djuranovic got the ball in the middle of the field, found some room, made a move to get the ball on her right foot, then ripped a low blast to the right of a diving VerLee and in to make it 2-0.

“I felt like I had a lot of space behind the defender, so I decided to take her on,” said Djuranovic. “I was going to pass to a winger, but I saw space and took it. I just know I have to have confidence. Some games, I expect to be man-marked, but I know that I have to stay strong and take that on.”


Late in the half, Red Storm junior Emmie Flaker collided with VerLee on a play in the box and VerLee had to leave the game. She was replaced by sophomore Abigail Pausman, who began the game as a field player.

Pausman kept her team alive by leaping to make a terrific save on a long blast from Scarborough senior Sasha Ouellette.

Falmouth then had a chance to cut the deficit in half when freshman Hadley Perry had a good look with 7:01 to go, but she sent her shot wide and the score remained 2-0 at the break.

The Red Storm didn’t let up when the second half commenced.

Scarborough junior Megan Rumelhart boots the ball away from Falmouth sophomore Finley VanTil.

The visitors had a good chance in the second minute of the second half, taking a free kick from the side of the box, but junior Mackenzie VerLee’s shot went wide.

With 35:31 to play, Djuranovic completed her hat trick, this time scoring on a free kick.


After being fouled, Djuranovic lined up from about 25 yards out and with a little encouragement, lofted a shot over Pausman and in to make it 3-0.

“I heard the student section say, ‘Take a shot, I dare you,’ and I thought maybe I should shoot it,” said Djuranovic. “I was deciding to shoot or pass. In the summer, we had a scrimmage against Greely and there was a similar free kick and I shot it, so I shot it again and it went in.”

After junior Emma Blanchette missed wide on a header off a corner and Pausman made another pretty save, lunging to deny Ouellette, Djuranovic completed her tour de force with 12:07 on the clock, again heading home a Fravert corner kick to make it 4-0.

“Delia has great corners,” Djuranovic said. “Almost identical to Ali’s. I look where the ball is going and try to follow it and attack it.”

“Lana’s the best player in the state and it’s expected,” said Falmouth coach Ben Johnson. “I talked to the girls about how we might lose. It was Lana and set pieces and some of the other great things they do. It looks like they’re in midseason form already.”

To their credit, the Navigators played hard to the end and were rewarded with 5:50 left, as Mackenzie VerLee served in a free kick to senior Mallory Kerr, who headed it past Scarborough freshman goalie Vera DiSotto, who had just come on.


“We need to work on set plays,” Farley said. “To be fair, some of the players had just gone into the game. They hadn’t gotten a feel for it. It was a good header. We have to do better on that stuff. It’s good to see that in a game you’re winning 4-0. We have time to work on that.”

DiSotto broke up a rush from freshman Hadley Perry, then senior Gracyn Mick sent a free kick high allowing the Red Storm to run out the clock on their 4-1 victory.

“We have a lot of great returning players,” said Djuranovic. “We have a solid back line. We have speed on the wings that will help us a lot. We just hope to have a strong season again.”

“I think we played aggressively and that will help us,” Farley said. “Scoring from set plays was good. We need to be a little better in the run of play. We can’t rely on Lana getting four goals every game. It’s the beginning of the year. We’re still trying to develop rhythm. We have players playing in different spots.”

Scarborough finished with a 11-2 advantage in shots on frame and took eight corner kicks (scoring twice) to Falmouth’s one.

The Navigators got four saves from Madison VerLee and three from Pausman.


“(Abigail) filled in last year and she’d played goalie for 20 minutes in practice prior to today,” Johnson said. “The plan wasn’t to use her, but that changed. She played well.”

Back to work

Falmouth looks to get in the win column Wednesday, when it plays its first home game, versus Biddeford. The Navigators then visit Thornton Academy next Friday.

“This was a good stepping-stone to see where we’re at,” said Johnson. “We’ll play them again (at the end of the season). We’re still figuring out our shape and where everyone fits. Last year, I started late, so it was tough to find our identity. This year, we return a lot. The girls know who they are and they’ve come together. We just have to work to get better.”

Scarborough stays home to meet Noble Wednesday, then travels to Marshwood next Friday.

“We saw (Gorham) here (watching us today),” said Djuranovic. “We know we have a target on our back and we’ll wear it with confidence. We know we have to keep pushing and keep playing strong.”

“I think the girls are up for the challenge,” said Farley. “I think the girls think that people think we’re going to be a little bit down and they take that as a challenge. It’s just a matter of us playing the way we can. If we do that, we’ll be good.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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