SACO – Amy McMullin spent much of the preseason wondering how her Cheverus High field hockey team would replace the 18 goals scored by the graduated Emily Sawchuck last year.

Well, she got a pretty good idea Wednesday night.

Emily Rodrigue scored twice to lead the Stags to a 5-0 season-opening victory over Thornton Academy in the first game under the lights of the newly carpeted Hill Stadium.

The Stags, who won the Western Class A title last fall, dominated throughout, holding the Trojans to three shots and getting 12 of their own.

Rodrigue scored both of her goals in the first half — both on rebounds off the pads of goalie Abbey Siulinski.

“We wanted to come out with fire,” said Rodrigue. “We know this game sets the pace for the rest of the season so we wanted to come out fast.”

So they did. Rodrigue scored her first goal just 3:20 into the game, then again 9:30 in. In both instances she was left uncovered, controlled the rebound at her feet and put it into the goal.

“In high school field hockey, a lot of times the players follow the ball,” said McMullin. “So I tell my players that if they’re patient and wait for the ball instead of chasing it, they’re going to get a lot of goals like that.”

This was expected to be a much closer game between two preseason contenders, but the Trojans were never really in it. Cheverus was much more aggressive to the ball, controlled the ball better with crisp passing and attacked the goal.

“I guess better now than later,” said Thornton Coach Lori Smith. “We have work to do. We need to talk more … we need to pass better … we weren’t cutting to the ball.”

That was pretty much how Cheverus looked in its last preseason scrimmage against Class B power Greely.

“I was happy the way we came out because it was completely opposite of the Greely scrimmage,” said McMullin. “But we really had a great preseason. I thought last year’s team worked really hard but this year’s team works even harder.”

Cheverus scored three times in the second half.

Sarah LaQuerre took a pass from Rodrigue and scored through a crowd with 14:42 left.

Then Staci Swallow bounced one in with 8:45 left. The goal was given to Rodrigue but she went to the scorer’s table and said Swallow scored.

And Brooke Flaherty scored with 2:11 remaining.

Cheverus’ defense was equally impressive, led by midfielder Ali Saxton. She controlled play and seldom allowed the Trojans to get into scoring position.

“Our goal is to keep the ball on our (offensive) side of the 50 as much as possible,” said McMullin. “And that’s what she does. That position she plays doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it’s very critical and she does a great job.”

Rodrigue was just glad to get the first game out of the way.

“We know we’re the pivotal game for all the teams,” she said. “We know we have a target on our back.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at:

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Twitter: MikeLowePPH