SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland boys’ soccer team wanted to finish the regular season on a positive note Monday night.

The Red Riots looked like they were in perfect harmony as they cruised to a 3-0 win against Cheverus in an SMAA game at Martin Memorial Field.

“It was one of the better games we’ve put together all year,” South Portland Coach Brian Hoy said. “At the defensive end, that’s probably the best we played. We did a nice job shutting them down. Matt Russell, our sweeper, played an outstanding game, and so did the players around him.”

Both teams should qualify for the Western Class A tournament, and the victory should enable the Riots to avoid playing Portland in a regional quarterfinal.

“If we lost, we would have been the seventh seed and would have had to go play Portland in the quarterfinals, and the momentum wouldn’t be there,” Hoy said.

South Portland rebounded from a 4-1 loss to Portland on Thursday night that snapped the Riots’ six-game unbeaten streak.

“I think Portland is right up there with Scarborough as the two best teams (in the region), and we wanted to do what we can to avoid them. They’re a dangerous team, and we want to avoid them as long as possible,” Hoy said.

Except for brief forays inside the penalty area, most of Monday night’s game was played in the midfield.

“South Portland played well,” Cheverus Coach Bill LeBlanc said. “They competed, and they capitalized on their chances. The had only five or six good chances, and they put half of them in.”

Strikers Dan Grazewski and Damjan Draskovic scored on quick counterattacks a little more than two minutes apart to propel the Riots (10-3-1) into a 2-0 lead less than 27 minutes into the game.

“We do well in the counterattacks,” Hoy said. “We have some speedy strikers, and we possess in the midfield really well.

“It’s real easy for us to get the ball from the midfield to the strikers and kind of draw their team out, and then our strikers can get behind on a nice through ball.”

Dillon Leary, another South Portland striker, completed the scoring 23 minutes into the second half. Leary sent a shot from 10 yards on the right side over the dive of goalie Peter Potthoff and inside the far post.

South Portland keeper Shawn Shannon made six saves to post his fourth shutout of the season. Potthoff also had six saves.

“Once they were up 2-0 at halftime, we had a tough time,” LeBlanc said. “They played defensively very well in the second half. We had a tough time getting many quality opportunities.”

It was the third consecutive loss for Cheverus, who opened the season by winning seven of its first 11 games. They finished the regular season at 7-6-1.

“We’re just not playing well, right now,” LeBlanc said. “Maybe the (time) off will help us get it back together.”

Cheverus expects to play Portland in the regional quarterfinals.


Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: [email protected]