SCARBOROUGH—The word coming into the season was that the Windham boys’ soccer team was going to be pretty good.

That opinion was spot-on.

The Eagles are viewed by many as the team to beat and they brought some extra incentive to the Kippy Mitchell Sports Complex Tuesday evening to battle longtime nemesis Scarborough.

The same Red Storm team that broke Windham’s heart in last year’s regional final.

The Eagles went in front for good in the game’s sixth minute when junior Luke Cuniffe snuck a shot just inside the far post.

Senior Nick Marion then showed what makes him so special, somehow scoring in traffic with 10:05 left to make it 2-0 Windham at the break.


The Eagles appeared to put it away with 15:06 remaining in the game, when junior Sam Rogers scored, but proud Scarborough refused to buckle and just 12 seconds later, senior standout Kilson Joao, last November’s hero, answered.

The Red Storm could draw no closer, however, and Windham went on to a 3-1 victory.

The Eagles improved to 4-0, won in Scarborough for the first time in a dozen years and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 1-1-1.

“We were excited to win,” said Marion. “Scarborough’s a team we want to beat. It’s tough to play here. They have a lot of talent. This was a big one, but at the same time, we have to stay humble and keep working.”

An early barometer

Last Nov. 1 in Sanford, Scarborough and Windham met up in the Class A South, where after the Eagles rallied late to tie it, the Red Storm won in stunning fashion in overtime, when a failed clear gave Joao the opportunity to bury the winning goal for a 2-1 victory.


This year, Windham started fast with wins over Kennebunk (5-3), Westbrook (7-0) and Gorham (4-1).

Scarborough was hard-hit by graduation, but remains elite. After settling for a scoreless draw in the opener at South Portland, the Red Storm blanked visiting Bonny Eagle, 5-0, in their last outing last week.

In addition to the playoff thriller last year, Scarborough also blanked the visiting Eagles in the regular season (2-0).

Tuesday, the Red Storm sought their 11th straight win in the series, but instead, on a rainy night, Windham prevailed for the first time since a 1-0 victory in the 2011 Western A Final (1-0, in Scarborough).

Windham junior Layth Jabbar runs up the field with Scarborough junior Matthew Booth giving chase during the Eagles’ 3-1 victory Tuesday night. Hoffer photos.

Marion nearly gave Windham the lead in the third minute, but missed just wide.

Three minutes later, the Eagles did find the net.


With 34:24 on the clock, Marion got the ball up front to Cuniffe, who ripped a shot to the left of Scarborough junior goalkeeper Seamus Corry. The ball bounced off the inside of the far post and in and Windham had a 1-0 advantage.

“That first goal was huge,” Marion said. “We like to jump on teams early and grind it out from there. That was really just effort.”

Marion nearly doubled the lead seven minutes later, but Corry made a nice save on his blast.

Scarborough attempted its first shot with 20:15 on the clock, but junior Cooper Mallar was just wide with his left foot.

Marion then left jaws agape as he made it 2-0 with 10:05 remaining in the first half.

After collecting a long pass, Marion had defenders in his way, but after a nice move to his left, he somehow managed to get past them and with Corry on the brink of coming out and denying the shot, Marion managed to poke the ball past the keeper and in.


“It was a really great clear to start,” Marion said. “It was a really good pass, then it was just a 1-on-1. They were on me. They’re really good at swarming. I couldn’t get much space in the final third.”

“Nick has the best shot percentage of any player I’ve had in my 30 years of doing this,” said Windham coach Jeff Neal. “He picks his moment, he knows when he wants to go and he delivers. That’s what you want in a goal scorer. He doesn’t get rattled. He’s the most humble, down-to-the-Earth guy, but when he steps on the field, he’s a terror. He’s a special breed.”

Joao tried to get the Red Storm back in the game, spinning and shooting from the top of the box, but Eagles junior goalkeeper Lukas Hammond made the save.

After Windham senior Connor LeClerc missed just high, the Eagles took a 2-0 advantage to the break.

Windham hoped to break it open when the second half commenced, by Corry dove to rob Rogers, Cuniffe missed high, freshman Caleb Hayman had a shot saved by Corry, sophomore Tyrie James just missed, then Corry went sprawling to deny a Rogers shot.

With 17:31 to go, senior Freddie Uzzi nearly pulled Scarborough within one, but he missed just wide.


After Rogers missed high, then was denied by Corry, he made it 3-0 with 15:06 to go, finishing with his left foot, near post.

“I think our strength is right up through the middle,” said Neal. “We try to play the right way. We have some experience. We’re trying to play our brand of possession soccer, but also one that’s exciting, so we don’t mind going forward. We play through (Nick) a lot and we have some guys who can step up around him and help shoulder the load.”

Instead of putting their heads down, the Red Storm immediately answered, as 12 seconds later, Joao had an initial shot blocked, but he one-timed the rebound past Hammond and in.

“We got away from our game a little bit,” Neal lamented. “We got our third goal, an emotional high, then we let one in. We have to work on our emotional consistency.”

After LeClerc stole the ball and set up Marion for a great look which Corry saved, Scarborough hoped to make things really interesting and with 5:27 remaining, Joao put a shot on frame, but Hammond made the save.

The Eagles ran out the clock from there and celebrated their 3-1 victory.


The final horn sees Windham celebrating a long-awaited victory over Scarborough.

“We don’t want to compare this year to last year, but Scarborough is a great rivalry,” said Neal. “There have been some battles. We appreciate the competition and hope they do too.”

The Eagles had possession for the majority of the time and finished with a 5-3 edge in shots on frame and a 9-2 advantage in corner kicks. Hammond made two saves.

The Red Storm got two saves from Corry and did some encouraging things as the game progressed.

“I thought we played a lot better second half,” said longtime Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “Windham’s a good team. They’re dangerous up front and we made a couple mistakes, but you have to give them credit. They capitalized. They didn’t have any cheap goals. I thought we battled back well and we’ll learn from it. If we got another one, it would have been interesting. We had some chances. We’re a young team, so that was good to see from us.”

A fun year

With Class A South showing tremendous talent and balance, nearly every game is a challenge.


Windham looks to continue its success Thursday at home versus Noble.

“This team’s mindset is really top-notch,” Marion said. “We can celebrate tonight, but we have to work hard tomorrow. Every team is competitive. It’s a fantastic group. We put it all out there every single day.”

“We just have to be consistent in playing our game and keeping our shape front to back,” Neal said. “We have to win 50-50 balls, win second balls. It’s a great group. They’re passionate and care about each other. They make my job super-easy.”

Scarborough, meanwhile looks to bounce back Thursday at Kennebunk.

“I feel like we can compete with anyone,” said Diaz. “It’s a smart bunch of guys, so we’ll get better from this. The schedule doesn’t get any easier and that’s fine.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at

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