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Scarborough Red Storm Fall Sports Preview

FOOTBALL

All eyes will be on senior Jayden Flaker this season as he leads Scarborough’s football team to big things. File photos.

Coach: Packy Malia (first year)

2020 results: No season
2019 record: 8-3 (Lost, 14-7, in overtime, to Bonny Eagle in Class A state semifinals)

Top returning players: Jayden Flaker (Senior), Ryan Kelly (Senior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 3 @ South Portland, Sept. 10 BONNY EAGLE, Sept. 17 BANGOR, Sept. 24 @ Edward Little, Oct. 1 CONY, Oct. 30 @ Thornton Academy

Coach’s comment: “I’m pretty happy with our guys and impressive how in shape they are. We have a lot of athletes. If we develop up front like I think we can, we can be right there. Everyone is in the same boat with a lot of question marks. We have to stay healthy. Our goal is always to be playing the last Saturday before Thanksgiving.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: After missing out on the 2020 season due to the pandemic, the Packy Malia Era begins at Scarborough this fall. Malia, who played at Portland High and later was an assistant at his alma mater, assisted Lance Johnson for eight seasons before replacing Johnson as the head coach. While graduation has hit the program hard the past two years, the Red Storm still have enough talent to believe they can challenge the likes of reigning champion Bonny Eagle and perennial powerhouse Thornton Academy in Class A.

Senior Sam Rumelhart takes over at quarterback. He’ll be assisted by two veteran, talented wideouts in Flaker and Kelly. Senior Andy Lancaster is a top running back. Senior Brady Reed is a lineman to watch on both sides of the ball. Flaker can make a lot of things happen with his speed and he’s a top safety as well.

Scarborough isn’t viewed at the top powers’ level as the season dawns, but the Red Storm have the type of talent that may force people to reconsider. Look for Scarborough to post a winning record for the fifth straight season and to be a squad that no one will want to face in the playoffs.

BOYS’ SOCCER

Zander Haskell has already made quite a name for himself as a freshman and sophomore. This fall, the junior hopes to play a big role on Scarborough’s run to a championship.

Coach: Mark Diaz (23rd year, 283-57-21 overall record, six state championships)

2020 results: 8-1-1 (no postseason)
2019 record: 10-3-3 (Lost, 2-0, to Falmouth in Class A South semifinals)

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Top returning players: Nick Conley (Senior), Evan Kelleher (Senior), Jeremiah Park (Senior), Finn Pederson (Senior), Noah Flagg (Junior), Zander Haskell (Junior), Parker Killiard (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 3 DEERING, Sept. 22 PORTLAND, Oct. 13 FALMOUTH, Oct. 16 @ Gorham, Oct. 19 @ Cheverus

Coach’s comment: “We’re looking good so far. We have a good group of guys who are working hard. We still have things we need to get better at, but the guys are unselfish. We need to stay focused and keep getting better. We’re all working toward a common goal.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough’s run of 17 straight seasons of double-digit victories came to a close last year, but there’s a major caveat to that, as the Red Storm only played 10 games and won eight of them, while tying another. The point is, this program has defined excellence for a long time and after being unable to participate in a postseason in 2020 due to the pandemic, Scarborough is eager to prove it has what it takes to go all the way this autumn.

The Red Storm will again be led on offense by the dynamic Haskell, who has a tremendous finishing touch. A star since his freshman season, Haskell will be the focal point of the opposition, but good luck stopping him. Kelleher, Park and Pederson are other top offensive threats. On defense, Conley, Flagg and Killiard all return and as always, Scarborough isn’t likely to concede many goals. Diaz was still figuring out who would be in goal when this story went to press.

For all the Red Storm’s success in recent seasons, they haven’t played in a regional or state final since 2015 and last won the Gold Ball in 2013. While many strong teams stand in their way, if Scarborough can click on all cylinders when it matters most, at the end of the season, this could be the team to return the Red Storm to the top.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Junior Ali Mokriski has been a goal-scoring threat since taking the pitch as a freshman.

Coach: Mike Farley (17th year, 211-34-16 overall record, two state championships)

2020 results: 6-3-1 (no postseason held)
2019 record: 15-3 (Lost, 2-1, to Camden Hills in Class A state final)

Top returning players: Savannah Beaulieu (Senior), Natalie Bilodeau (Senior), Gwen Diaz (Senior), Una Djuranovic (Senior), Julia Black (Junior), Ali Mokriski (Junior), Lana Djuranovic (Sophomore), Natalie Ryan (Sophomore)

Pivotal games: Sept. 21 @ Portland, Oct. 11 @ Falmouth, Oct. 14 GORHAM, Oct. 19 CHEVERUS

Coach’s comment: “We lost seven starters to graduation and those players were big parts of our team. Over a third of our goals from last year and our starting back four that were instrumental to our success over the last couple years are gone. We’ll most likely have some growing pains in the beginning of the season with some younger players assuming starting roles and we’ll have to sort things out in the back and try to find roles and an identity as a team defensively. Our group of attacking players has tons of potential, but we’ll have to see how things come together and hope this group can live up to potential. Our goal is to quickly get up to speed on what we are trying to do as a team and have them embrace the new roles and responsibilities we lay out for them. We need to find our defensive identity which could take some time and we may need our attacking group to carry us through the beginning part of the season and they certainly have that potential. By the end of the year, hopefully we’ll have built a level of consistency on both ends of the field making us tough to deal with. I think the South is wide open this year and we know that our opponents will give us their best games, so we’ll have to embrace that pressure and rise to the challenge.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough saved its best for last a year ago, but wasn’t able to parlay that surge into a postseason run, as there were no playoffs due to the pandemic. Graduation hit the program hard, but as always, the Red Storm return plenty of talent and will be mixing in some new promising players as well as they figure to stay near or at the top of Class A South.

Mokriski has been a scoring machine since first taking the field as a freshman. She scored five goals and added a pair of assists a year ago. She’ll pace what should be a dangerous offense. She’s joined up top by Una Djuranovic. Lana Djuranovic is the middle and Bilodeau, coming off a terrific lacrosse season in the spring, along with Diaz, will be on the wing. They’ll all figure in the goal-scoring. Senior Darby Stolz, another lacrosse standout, will be in the mix as well. Defensively, the Red Storm feature Black and Ryan, along with sophomores Talia Borelli, Maeve Davis, Avery Pettingill and Natalie Ryan, in front of Beaulieu, who returns in goal after posting five shutouts a year ago. Junior Mackenzie Lydon will also see time between the pipes.

The Red Storm will need some time to hit their stride, but they have a favorable schedule to do so. The toughest games come at the end of the season, when Scarborough should be its usual formidable self. The Red Storm are the three-time reigning Class A South champions and this year, they would love to take that final step and win their first Gold Ball since 2012. If everything falls into place, that could be the end result.

FIELD HOCKEY

Senior Lily Finley is one of many top returners this fall for Scarborough’s field hockey team.

Coach: Kerry Mariello (20th year, 229-63-8 overall record, two state championships)

2020 results: 7-2 (no postseason)
2019 record: 9-5-1 (Lost, 1-0, to Falmouth in Class A South preliminary round)

Top returning players: Bella Bateman (Senior), Erin Bresnahan (Senior), Lily Finley (Senior), Stella Grondin (Senior), Katie Roy (Senior), Lily Stone (Senior), Kaylee York (Senior), Anjali Bhatnagar (Junior), Anna Cavanaugh (Junior), Adin Harris (Junior)

Pivotal games: Sept. 11 @ Biddeford, Sept. 16 @ Cheverus, Sept. 18 GORHAM, Sept. 30 @ Windham, Oct. 6 @ Noble

Coach’s comment: “We’re a senior-heavy team, so we’re pretty experienced. We’re super-excited to be out there and have some normalcy. We’re a work in progress. There seem to be a lot of quality teams this year. We hope to be there at the end. Our expectations are high.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough should have high expectations, it’s been a dominant program for a decade-and-a-half and there’s no end in sight. This season, with a fair amount of parity in the league, the Red Storm could soar to the top if all goes well.

Up top, look for Bhatnagar, Harris and Stone to be top scoring threats. Midfielders Bresnahan, Finley, Grondin and York will also be heard from. The defense is led by Bateman and Cavanaugh. Roy returns in goal.

Scarborough has plenty of experience and talent and is primed to go a long way. The Red Storm’s last regional or state final appearance was way back in 2014. That drought could come to an end this season.

VOLLEYBALL

Senior Maddie Strouse will soar above the net for Scarborough’s volleyball team this season.

Coach: Kim Stoddard (third year, 27-6 overall record)

2020 results: No season
2019 record: 14-3 (Lost, 3-1, to Falmouth in Class A state match)

Top returning players: Gwen Dorsey (Senior), Mya Jones (Senior), Maddie Strouse (Senior),

Pivotal matches: Sept. 13 @ Cape Elizabeth, Sept. 16 @ Gorham, Sept. 23 @ Yarmouth, Sept. 25 @ Falmouth, Sept. 27 @ Biddeford, Oct. 7 FALMOUTH

Coach’s comment: “I expect our team to be near the top of the league. I look forward to a competitive season with the opportunity to once again play late in October. We have an experienced group of seniors. Combined with a strong group of sophomores and a talented freshman, I expect us to have a lot of success on the court. This team is already bonding and enjoying each others’ company. Even though we will have a relatively young team, everyone is motivated to work together as a team to compete for a state championship.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough’s last meaningful match resulted in a loss to Falmouth in the 2019 Class A state final. Hopes of revenge had to be put on hold after last season was lost to the pandemic, but this fall, the Red Storm have to be on the short list of title favorites, due to some top returners and some very promising newcomers.

Dorsey, an outside hitter, and Strouse, who plays in the middle, are captains and veterans of many big matches. Each has played varsity since freshman year and will be on the short list of the state’s finest players this season. Jones, a setter, also has experience and is a top server. Sophomores Olivia Smith and Julia Strouse are new to varsity and will play on the right side as well as see time at setter. They’ll step right in and make their mark. Freshman outside hitter Natalie Moynihan is another newcomer of note. She’s made a quick mark with her ability to serve, hit and pass.

As always, Scarborough has skill and depth. This team will benefit from a daunting schedule and won’t worry itself much about its win-loss record, which should be very good. What matters most is how the postseason will go. The Red Storm want to get back to states and win it all. It wouldn’t be wise to bet against them.

CROSS COUNTRY

Coaches:
(Boys): Jim Harmon (24th year, 10 state championships)
(Girls): Ron Kelly (49th year, five state championships)

2020 results; No state meet (boys’ team qualified)
2019 results:
(Boys) 5th @ Class A state meet
(Girls) 11th @ Class A state meet

Top returners:
(Boys) Zach Barry (Senior), Bryce Beeler (Senior), Ethan Furr (Senior), Cameron Jalbert (Senior), Will Pulvino (Senior), Adam Bendetson (Junior), Joseph Cotta (Junior), Nathan Driscoll (Junior)
(Girls) Caroline Canatsey (Senior)

Coach Harmon’s comment: “If we keep progressing and improving, we should be in the mix for a run at the state championship by the end of the season. I expect us to be one of the top five teams”

Coach Kelly’s comment: “We have a young team. Our team goal is to qualify for state meet.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough’s cross country teams both are eyeing a trip to states this fall.

The boys’ squad, which qualified a year ago but wasn’t able to compete when the meet was cancelled by a COVID surge, returns several veterans. The team is led by Barry, who was runner-up at last year’s qualifier. Also back this season are Bendetson (12th), Pulvino (25th) and Beeler (32nd). Cotta, Driscoll, Furr and Jalbert also have experience. They’re joined by promising freshmen Ethan Keller and Nicholas Koziell. When all is said and done, don’t be surprised if the Red Storm are battling for yet another state title.

On the girls’ side, Canatsey is the lone returning scorer from last year’s qualifier (she was 50th). Ava Gleason, Lydia MacDonald and Emma Saraceno are other seniors on the roster. Nearly half of the runners on the team are freshmen, so this will be a work in progress. The hope is that by season’s end, Scarborough will be at its best and qualify for the state meet.

GOLF

Coach: Mike Murphy (33rd year, two state championships)

2020 results: (2nd @ Class A state match)

Top returners: Asa Buteau (Senior), Alden Griffiths (Senior), Katherine Gross (Senior), T.J. Liponis (Senior), Harrison Griffiths (Sophomore)

Coach’s comment: “We graduated Peter Malia, who will be tough to replace. We have 10 kids fighting for six spots. They’re good kids who enjoy golf. All are shooting under 44 (for nine-holes). We want our younger kids to gain experience. Every year, our goal is to get to Natanis for states.”

The Forecaster’s forecast: Scarborough is coming off another strong season and while Malia, who shot a 79 at last year’s Class A state match to tie for seventh individually, will be missed, there is plenty of talent in reserve.

Returning are state match scorers Buteau (84) and Alden Griffiths (89). Gross and Liponis are other senior veterans. Harrison Griffiths is primed to move up. New sophomores Owen Falcon, Matthew Lemelin and Ryan Ravis and promising freshmen Keenan Buteau and Marc Twombly (who has impressed on the junior circuit) are also in the mix for spots.

The Red Storm will be pushed by some tough regular season competition, but should be primed for greatness when October arrives. Look for the team and some individuals to shine at the state level.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.