Defending Class A boys’ soccer champion Cheverus High will enter the playoffs on a high note after beating Deering 1-0 at home Thursday afternoon.

Luke Trickey headed in a crisp crossing pass from Luc Dionne in the ninth minute for the game’s only goal.

“Last game I had a similar play and it just went wide of the post,” Trickey said. “It was nice to see this one go in.”

Cheverus, currently seventh in Heal point standings in Class A South, will take a 7-3-4 record into the regional preliminary round next Saturday.

“This is building our confidence up and (now) we’re going into the playoffs playing the best soccer we’ve played all season,” Trickey said.

Deering (6-5-2) has one game remaining, against Portland on Tuesday, to try to improve on its 10th-place standing. If the Rams can get to No. 8 they’ll host a first-round game.

Before the game, Cheverus Coach Colin Minte said his team has been on and off this season, especially with its ability to finish at the offensive end. While coaches always want more goals, Minte liked what he saw from the Stags, particularly in the first half.

“If we play like we did in the first half for 80 minutes, then we can play with anybody and that’s the sort of team that won the state championship last year,” Minte said.

The Stags are a veteran group with 15 seniors, nine of whom start. One of those is center midfielder Mackenzie Hoglund, who initiated the scoring play when he won a 50-50 ball and quickly sent it to the right corner for Dionne to run onto.

Throughout the game Hoglund battled with the likes of Jonathan Bujambi, Jonata Mbongo and Fernando Lopez-Pereira for control. All four players had their moments to shine but Hoglund won more times than not.

“I thought that was one of Mackenzie’s best performances even though he didn’t score,” Minte said. “When you play against Deering it’s going to be a battle in the midfield and he won a lot of balls.”

Deering Coach Joel Costigan left the game looking for two things: a hand-ball call that didn’t come seconds after Bujambi had run a one-time shot off the right post, and more cohesive teamwork from his squad.

“We didn’t follow our game plan,” Costigan said. “It’s been a constant struggle all year. We want to do it ourselves when we get the ball instead of using our teammates. Going into the playoffs we need to use our teammates. We hit post once, missed a couple passes that could have been goals on breakaways, that’s the biggest difference regardless of the calls in the game.”

Deering goalie Orey Dutton (8 saves) and Cheverus keeper Jake Tomkinson (7 saves) both played well. Dutton had the top save when he sprawled to deny Brady Levesque on a quick one-on-one chance late in the first.

“Yeah, they hit the post, absolutely, but we always had numbers behind the ball,” Minte said. “We blocked a lot of shots and you think about Jake’s day, a lot of their shots were over the net, he controlled his box and he saw a lot of shots from 18, 25 yards out and I’ll take that all day.”


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