PORTLAND – A couple of weeks ago, Cheverus High gave up a late first-half goal to Scarborough and never regained momentum.

Wednesday, it was the Stags who got the late goal, and they used that momentum to take control of their Western Class A field hockey quarterfinal against Kennebunk.

Sarah LaQuerre got the only goal of the second half as fourth-ranked Cheverus edged fifth-seeded Kennebunk 3-2 to move on to the regional semifinals.

The Stags controlled the tempo of the second half, rarely allowing the Rams to have control beyond the 50.

“As long as you keep the ball in your offensive end, they can’t score,” said Stags Coach Amy McMullin.

“We did a good job in the second half not allowing them on our side of the 50.”

Cheverus (11-4) will play at top-ranked Scarborough in the semifinals Saturday.

The teams played a fast-paced first half. Cheverus led 1-0; Kennebunk (10-4-1) went up 2-1 on goals by Emily Vieria and Taylor Radomski; then the Stags, on their fifth penalty corner of the half, struck late to tie it.

Emily Sawchuck, the Stags’ top scorer, received the pass on the right and passed to LaQuerre in the middle.

Her low, hard shot at the net was deflected by Brooke Flaherty past Kennebunk goalie Kelsey Livermore to make it 2-2 with 1:10 remaining in the half.

“We know how it feels when the other team scores right before you go into halftime because Scarborough did it to us,” said LaQuerre. “It really brings a team down.”

Cheverus defender Taylor Witham was instrumental in keeping the ball in the Rams’ defensive end. She moved up and kept pushing the ball forward.

“If the ball does get past the 50, bad things can happen,” said Witham. “If we keep it in our offensive zone, we have so much more potential to score. And it keeps them down.”

Kennebunk had two penalty corners early in the second half, but then the Stags took control. Kennebunk’s Livermore made several close-in saves, but Cheverus kept pushing forward, its midfielders becoming much more active.

Then Sawchuck drove the ball into the circle, where Gabi Cardona, who scored Cheverus’ first goal, gained control and fired a point-blank shot that Livermore stopped. LaQuerre rushed in and pushed the rebound in with 17:18 remaining.

“We played hard and gave everything we could,” said Rams Coach Kayla Hinkley. “We just came up short today.”

Hinkley credited Cheverus’ defense for not allowing the Rams to get the ball to their strengths.

“They had some of their stronger players on our stronger players,” she said. “And we weren’t making the connections we normally make.”

And Cheverus, which struggled down the stretch to score, made its connections.

“We practiced this whole week on team building,” said LaQuerre. “We barely touched a stick and just sat down as a team and got back into a rhythm.”


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