Windham traveled to Scarborough Wednesday night for the Western Class A championship game in boys soccer. The undefeated Red Storm went into the game with 35 straight wins, and were expected to easily move into the state title game. Windham though, had other ideas.
The Eagles held their ground throughout 80 minutes of regulation and nine minutes of overtime, challenging Scarborough more than any other team had all season. It was truly anyone’s game, until Nate Tolman put the ball in the back of the net to give Scarborough the 1-0 overtime victory.
The two sides came out of the gate with a fervent energy, with both teams getting choice shots on goal early on. In the 31st minute, Windham’s Matt Coffee took a cross from the right just in front of the goal, but saw his shot soar just over the crossbar.
Just three minutes later, Scarborough’s Trevor Hoxsie mirrored Windham’s previous play and sent a cross into Tolman, but his shot also traveled just over the top bar. The game went on like this, back and forth, for the better part of the first half. Finally Scarborough settled down and was able to string together a bit more of a possession game in the final minutes of the half.
“It might’ve been our worst first half of the year,” said Scarborough coach Mark Diaz. “Windham had a lot to do with that.”
The second half started off much in the same way, with Windham coming out firing on all cylinders. The Eagles’ Patrick Ciez had a couple near misses, and one shot that was broken up by a sliding save by Scarborough keeper Tennessee Peters.
Once again, Scarborough calmed their nerves and began to regain control of the match, as they started to put up challenges to Windham keeper Nick Taylor in much greater supply and intensity.
“Maybe 15 minutes in I thought we started to get our groove a little bit, relaxed and played the way we’ve been playing,” said Diaz. “Then you’re just hoping to put one away.”
They would have to hope a little longer, as Windham seemed to have luck on their side, with misses just left of each post on shots by Tolman and Andrew Jones in the final 10 minutes.
Then with just four minutes left in regulation, Hoxsie took off on a breakaway down the middle, but just as he was about to put a shot on, Taylor came out from the goal and kicked the ball wide.
As the teams began the 15-minute overtime period, it quickly became clear that Scarborough’s steady subbing from the second half had paid off.
“I was subbing a lot because I had a feeling it’d come down to overtime,” said Diaz. “I wanted us to have another gear left.”
And they did, with the Red Storm getting the only real close opportunities to net a goal. Just two minutes in, a shot by Jones went just wide right of the net, but set the tone for the intensity Scarborough would soon bring.
With just under six minutes left, Hoxsie sent the ball into the box to Chase Beech who cut into the box to draw Windham’s defense. As they converged, Beech sent the ball over to Tolman who took a quick touch and sent the ball into the net.
“I didn’t even know what to do at first,” said Tolman. “I kind of forgot it was overtime and didn’t realize it was over. Then I realized and it was amazing.”
With the win, Scarborough advanced to the title game this Saturday to face Brunswick who won their game in double overtime on Wednesday.
Windham finished their season with a mark of 13-2-1 overall