SCARBOROUGH – Over the last couple of falls, the Cheverus and Scarborough field hockey teams have developed a fairly healthy rivalry.

Two of the best teams in Western Class A, they relish the games against each other. And they revel in the victories.

Thursday night, as fog blanketed the Mitchell Sports Complex, it was Scarborough’s turn.

The Red Storm handed top-ranked Cheverus its first loss, using a second-half goal by Grace Whelan and a stifling team defense to beat the Stags, 2-1.

Scarborough limited Cheverus to three shots on goal and one penalty corner while controlling the tempo from the start.

“It’s a big deal for us, certainly,” said Shauni Cowan, a senior defender for Scarborough. “But we don’t take any team lightly, so beating anybody is a big deal. It’s definitely a confidence booster.”

The victory lifted Scarborough, ranked third entering the game, to 7-0-1. Cheverus, the defending regional champ, dropped to 8-1.

“Good game,” said Stags Coach Amy McMullin. “But I think, for us, we didn’t play well. So it’s better that we lose so we can learn from it.”

If the teams meet again, the Stags will have to figure out a way to beat Scarborough’s defense, especially through the midfield, where Kelsey Howard seemed to be everywhere.

The Red Storm, who lost to Cheverus in the regional semifinals last year, seldom allowed the Stags to get any offensive momentum, beating Cheverus players to the ball or sticking it away.

“I’ve always been a defensive-minded coach,” said Red Storm Coach Kerry Mariello. “That’s the name of the game, as you can see. Anyone can score on any shot.”

That, of course, happened Thursday night.

Scarborough had used early momentum to take a 1-0 lead just 3:25 into the game on a goal by Lindsay Dobecki, who took the rebound of a Stephanie Felt shot off the pads of Cheverus goalie Libby DesRuisseaux and put it in.

McMullin called a timeout to exhort her players to “settle down,” and they did. But the Stags still couldn’t get anything going until Sarah LaQuerre capitalized on one of Scarborough’s few errors.

A turnover deep in the defensive end gave Cheverus the ball and LaQuerre carried it into the circle — stunningly unguarded — where she let loose a low hard drive into the right corner to make it 1-1 with 10:01 left in the half.

Scarborough regrouped and again carried the play. Then with 23:58 remaining, Whelan scored to make it 2-1. Dobecki carried the ball into the circle on the right and passed to Felt in the middle. She quickly redirected the ball to Whelan, who tapped it in at the left post.

“I stuck to my post, did my job,” said Whelan. “We practice it over and over and it worked out.”

And then Whelan did a little dance while taking the ball back to midfield — in field hockey, the goal scorer usually grabs the ball and carries it to midfield — jumping and prancing all the way down.

“It’s kind of like my signature thing every time I get an important goal,” said Whelan. “Like my first time ever I did this crazy dance because I was so excited I was a freshman and so everyone told me to do the dance. So I had to.”

And that was a pretty important goal.

“This was a pivotal game in our season,” said Mariello. “And of course you’ve got last year’s instance to fuel on. It’s great. There’s no (unbeaten, untied) team here and it’s up in the air for anybody. We played well tonight.”

Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH