PORTLAND – When faced with early pressure, the Cheverus boys’ soccer team simply paced itself Thursday.

In a 3-0 victory against Sanford, the Stags didn’t panic when they were outshot early in the Southern Maine Activities Association game.

Instead, Cheverus used the ensuing minutes to find the openings on the field, set up passes and play a smarter tactical game.

Finding a rhythm instead of playing out of haste ultimately worked. The Redskins outshot the Stags in the first seven minutes, but the Stags took a two-goal lead by halftime.

“We played fast and that’s how we scored our first two goals,” said Cheverus forward Elliot Maker, who scored two goals. “I thought we played really well because we didn’t play well against Marshwood (a 3-1 loss Tuesday). We usually are a team that comes out slow so it wasn’t something new to us. But I think we were a little overwhelmed with how fast they came out.”

Maker and Raphael Tshamala scored first-half goals for the Stags (2-1), who handed Sanford its first loss of the season.

But the Redskins (2-1) jumped out early, putting plenty of shots on Cheverus goalie Peter Potthoff (16 saves) and matching the Stags offensively, before Maker scored his first goal in the 18th minute.

Maker, a transfer from Lake Region, took a pass from Alex Hoglund and split two defenders to beat Sanford goalie Cody McFarland (nine saves).

Then, with two minutes left in the first half, Tshamala gave the Stags a 2-0 lead on a shot from 20 yards.

“Cheverus has great ball possession,” Sanford Coach Brian Desrochers said.

“They lift the ball up wide and they really kept us off balance. They have some talented kids and we tried to mark up on them, and they get the defense to spread out. It really opened up a lot of avenues for their quickness and their intricate passing game.”

Cheverus controlled play in the second half, putting 12 shots on Sanford goalie Matt Ranberg, who replaced McFarland after halftime.

“When we heard how fired-up they were in the second half, we knew we were ready,” Maker said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t give up any late goals or anything. From the start of the second half we were ready to play.”

The Stags allowed Sanford only six shots on goal in the second half and Maker scored his second goal with 10 minutes remaining, on a shot that deflected off Ranberg and into the goal.

“In the second, we just had to play a little harder and try to work on the things that we do,” Desrochers said.

“We did better. We got more aggressive and tried to get some offensive punch, but it just wasn’t there.

“Cheverus did a great job defensively. It seemed like every pass we made, Cheverus played it.”

Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at:

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