PORTLAND — It went down to the wire, but Cheverus held off Massabesic to capture its first Class A girls’ lacrosse state championship Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

The Stags hung on for an 8-7 win over the Mustangs, who beat Cheverus 7-6 in four overtimes in the season opener.

“Always with them, every year it’s tooth and nail,” Cheverus Coach Jamie Chamberlain said. “We’re always very evenly matched and we knew we were going to be in for a game today.”

“This game went back and forth,” said Meredith Willard, who had four goals for the Stags.

The score was tied or the lead changed hands 10 times in the first 35 minutes.

“They had a phenomenal defense and a good offense,” Willard said.

“I’m just glad we were able to pull through.”

Willard gave Cheverus (13-2) the lead for good 12 minutes into the second half when she ran from behind the left side of the goal and put in a right-handed shot to snap a 6-6 tie. With less than three minutes left, she scored from Elyse Caiazzo at the end of a lengthy possession to make it 8-6.

With 57 seconds left, Alyssa Gilman closed the gap for the Mustangs (12-4), who forced a turnover in the final 10 seconds but couldn’t get a shot off.

“I’m very proud of our girls,” Massabesic Coach Brooks Bowen said. “They battled hard all day. They hung in there and never gave up.”

The score was 4-4 at halftime.

The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter on two of Heather Everett’s four goals, but the Stags scored three times in less than four minutes for a 3-2 lead with 5:51 left in the half.

With 16 seconds remaining, Haley Binette of Massabesic made it 4-4 when she scored moments after the Stags turned the ball over.

Both teams played extremely tight defense, making it tough for either team to get the ball inside.

“They made some huge stops when they had to to get themselves back into it, and we did the same at some points,” Chamberlain said. “When they were ahead we made some stops when we had to. Every kid on both teams was just hustling all the time.”

The statistics mirrored the game.

Cheverus won 9 of 16 center draws and held a 20-18 edge in ground balls.

“Possession off the draw is very key and that’s definitely what you want,” Willard said. “Alex (Logan) did a good job in the circle and my teammates around the circle did a phenomenal job running through and coming up with the ball.”

Logan scored twice for the Stags. Abigail Biegel and MaryKate Walsh each added a goal. Caiazzo had three assists.

Karlie Pike scored a goal for the Mustangs.

Hope Correia of Cheverus and Krysten Forrester of Massabesic made four saves each.

Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

Twitter: PaulBetitPPH