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Cheverus edges Scarborough in defensive thriller




PORTLAND—Cheverus and Scarborough’s field hockey teams once again played a down-to-the-wire thriller when they squared off Thursday afternoon at Shea Field, but this meeting came with a twist.

As there were surprisingly few scoring chances.

The Stags put just one shot on goal in the first half, but it was spot-on, as freshman sensation Lucy Johnson found the cage with 5:28 to go in the first quarter.

The Red Storm didn’t manage a single shot until the midway point of the third period, when suddenly, they came to life.

But Scarborough couldn’t solve Cheverus junior goalie Logan LeFevre and even with a penalty corner opportunity after time expired, couldn’t answer and the Stags held on for a 1-0 victory.

Cheverus only produced three shots, but won its fourth straight game this autumn and in the process, dropped the Red Storm to 4-1

“It was very different because we haven’t really faced that kind of intensity, but the whole team kept up the energy and the sideline was amazing and we were really positive on the field and did great,” said Johnson.

The favorites

Cheverus and Scarborough have lived up to preseason billing as Class A South powers.

The Stags opened by blanking visiting Marshwood, 8-0, then downed visiting Biddeford, the two-time reigning regional champion (6-2), and host Sanford (8-0).

The Red Storm won their first four games, all by shutout, over visiting Falmouth (2-0), at Portland (8-0) and Biddeford (2-0) and at home over Sanford (4-0).

A year ago, Cheverus won both meetings, in nearly identical fashion, 3-2, as more than 60 minutes was necessary in each game. In the first outing, the host Red Storm tied it up late before the Stags won in double-overtime. Scarborough did the same thing in the rematch at Cheverus and this time, the Stags prevailed in the first-overtime.

Despite Cheverus’ recent success, Scarborough still entered play Thursday holding a 15-6 all-time advantage, with one tie, in the series (see below, for previous results).

This time around, on a 69-degree afternoon, the Stags made it four in a row in the series.

Barely, and this time, in regulation.

Cheverus held possession for most of the first quarter, but couldn’t get the ball in the circle.

That changed with 5:28 remaining, when Johnson worked her way in, found a little room and shot through a screen and the ball trickled past Red Storm senior goalie Katie Roy and rattled the cage for a 1-0 lead.

“We worked together as a team to get the ball in the circle,” Johnson said. “I dribbled the ball in and it wasn’t my hardest shot, but I think my teammates helped screen the goalie and the ball got through.”

“Whenever the ball’s on Lucy’s stick, I trust she’ll make something good happen,” said Cheverus coach Theresa Hendrix. “Getting that first goal was great, but we knew we couldn’t let up.”

“It was a bummer that we let that early goal in,” said longtime Scarborough coach Kerry Mariello. “It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it got them on the board. It takes pressure off teams when they score early. We had to play catch up and it was a little rough without a lead.”

And shockingly, that would be it for offense.

Early in the second quarter, Johnson had another look, but her shot was deflected wide.

Midway through the frame, Scarborough finally got the ball into the circle on offense and even managed a shot out of a scrum, but it went wide and the Stags took the lead to the half.

Scoring chances increased slightly in the third quarter.

Three minutes in, Johnson managed to back-hand the ball high and on target, but at the last second, Red Storm senior defender Kayleigh York swatted it aside.

With 7:55 left in the period, Scarborough earned the game’s first penalty corner and nine seconds later, produced its first shot, as senior Lily Finley unleashed a promising bid, but LeFevre, who hasn’t faced many shots this season, stepped up huge and made the save.

“I think it’s one thing for a goalie to make saves, but when you’re just watching the game, then have to be totally in tune and face pressure, that’s shows how focused she is,” Hendrix said. “I’m really proud of her.”

In the final minute of the third quarter, the Red Storm earned another penalty corner, but a shot from senior Erin Bresnahan was blocked  by a defender.

With the intensity ratcheting up by the minute, the fourth quarter saw Scarborough with multiple chances to draw even, but fail to do so.

With 10:10 left in regulation, Bresnahan sent a promising cross through the circle, but no teammate could get a stick on it.

With 6:20 to go, senior Halle Seguin fired a shot, but LeFevre made the save.

After a Red Storm corner with 2:40 left didn’t result in a shot, junior Ayden Harris attempted to tie it with 1:15 remaining, but LeFevre stopped the shot.

Scarborough got another corner seconds later, but couldn’t manage a shot.

Then, with time winding down, the Red Storm earned one final corner and by rule, even though the clock expired, they had a chance to play it out as they hoped to force overtime.

Again, the ball came to Bresnahan on the side and again, Bresnahan had a nice cross, but a pair of teammates couldn’t get a stick on the ball.

“Those are opportunities you have to capitalize on,” Mariello lamented. “Those are the moments you learn from and hopefully, in the end, when we get another opportunity it won’t be that way.”

Cheverus managed to clear the ball and that ended it, 1-0, as the Stags celebrated their biggest victory to date this season.

“I go halfway to the stroke line on corners, watch the ball and see where my teammates are,” said LeFevre. “I looked at Lucy and knew she was going to give her all and that really helped.”

“We had great intensity on corners,” Johnson said. “(Junior) Maddy Fowler and (senior) Norah Slattery did a great job staying on the posts. I was so happy. I didn’t even know the game was over. Then I noticed everyone rushed to Logan and I realized we won and it was so great.”

“Scarborough’s defense is always top-notch,” Hendrix added. “Their girls play so well together and support each other, so nothing came easily today. My girls pushed through the end and played hard until the buzzer sounded. I’m super-proud of our defense. We talk all the time about defense starting with our forwards all the way back. Our defense has worked hard and our goalies have worked extremely hard. They trust in each other. ”

in 60 minutes of play, the talented rivals only managed three shots apiece. LeFevre stopped all three that she faced.

“I was kind of stressed out, but I knew my defense had my back,” said LeFevre. “I trusted them and it really helped.”

“Logan did an amazing job saving those shots,” said Johnson.

Scarborough had a 5-1 edge in corners and got a pair of saves from Roy, but was shut out for the first time since the 2019 playoffs.

“It’s something we’re not used to, but we’ll take the loss now and improve from it and see them later,” Mariello said. “We tend to start defensive because we like to get a feel of what (the opponent’s) like, then we start putting pressure on as the game goes on. We held strong the remainder of the game and it’s unfortunate we couldn’t get one through.”

Busy week

Both teams have a long way to go to reach their goal of being at their best for the playoffs.

Scarborough looks to bounce back with another tough test Saturday, at home versus Gorham. Next week, the Red Storm play host to Bonny Eagle, then visit Kennebunk.

“We’re not complaining,” said Mariello. “We have to turn around and play another tough game. We’ll learn from this and we’ll play a little bit irritated on Saturday and hopefully that will help us. These games are why we play. Both teams stepped up the challenge and it was fun. It’s so fun to play with these girls.”

Cheverus returns to action Monday at Bonny Eagle, then hosts Kennebunk Wednesday before visiting Westbrook next Friday.

“This helps our confidence and helps morale too,” said LeFevre. “I think we’re going to keep working hard in practice.”

“It’s about what the girls bring each day,” Hendrix said. “There are a lot of good teams this year. If we keep showing up and playing our game, we’ll be competitive in each of them. We’re still working on playing together and making connections and communicating on the field.”

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

Previous Scarborough-Cheverus meetings

2020
Cheverus 3 @ Scarborough 2 (2 OT)
@ Cheverus 3 Scarborough 2 (OT)

2019
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 1 (2 OT)

2018

@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0
Class A South quarterfinal
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 0

2017
@ Cheverus 3 Scarborough 2 (2 OT)

2016
Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 0

2015
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 1

2014
Scarborough 1 @ Cheverus 0

2013
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 1 (tie)

2012

Scarborough 4 @ Cheverus 0
Western A Final
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 0

2011
@ Scarborough 2 Cheverus 1

2010
@ Scarborough 6 Cheverus 1
Western A semifinals
Cheverus 2 @ Scarborough 1

2009
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 1
Western A Final
@ Scarborough 3 Cheverus 2

2008
@ Scarborough 1 Cheverus 0 (OT)

2007
Scarborough 2 @ Cheverus 0

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2006
@ Scarborough 4 Cheverus 0

2005
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 2

2004
Scarborough 3 @ Cheverus 2