Cheverus took control in the second half Wednesday, reeling off five consecutive goals and rolling to an 11-5 victory against Maine Girls’ Academy to clinch a berth in the Class A North girls’ lacrosse tournament.

“I think the girls decided they were going to start playing and go after ground balls,” said Bill Fenton, who came out of retirement to coach Cheverus this season. “I think we tired them out a little bit with all the running. We settled down and I think our defense decided to really play defense.”

Fenton coached at South Portland for more than a decade in two stints before retiring after the 2014 season.

“I’ve really got to hand it to our defense,” said Fenton. “They really stepped it up, where in the first half they really weren’t stepping up. Girls were running around them and they decided they had to keep an eye on (the attackers).”

Both teams ended the season with 5-7 records, but the loss probably cost the Lions, who were playing at home, a spot in the Class A North tournament. Not helping was the fact Portland beat Deering Wednesday and jumped over MGA to eighth.

“We’re probably on the outside looking in,” Coach Eric Wales said. “Today’s loss wasn’t for lack of effort. (We) played to their ability.”

No matter the final results, Wales said his club had a successful season.

“It was really a great season for us,” he said. “We didn’t know if we were even going to have a team.”

The Lions, with two seniors on a 16-player roster, started the year with seven players who had never played lacrosse before.

“You never know from year to year what’s going to happen (here),” Wales said.

“You get a couple of transfers, or you get a couple of girls who don’t want to play, and you find yourself right back in the same boat.”

The score was 4-4 at halftime.

For much of the second half, the Lions had a difficult time bringing the ball out of their defensive zone.

“There were just too many turnovers on our end, just missing the (passes) and not getting the ground balls,” Wales said.

The defensive play of the Stags’ forwards was crucial.

“We’ve been working during the past week on playing defense (on) the whole field because we haven’t been doing that,” Fenton said.

The Stags held a 23-10 edge in shots on goal and won 16 of 22 midfield draws.

Brooke McElman led Cheverus with five goals and an assist. Mackenzie Johnston and Aisling Flaherty each had two goals. Margaret Keating scored and had two assists. Terryn MacDonald had a goal and an assist. Adrienne Willard had an assist.

For the Lions, who included two players from Greater Portland Christian in South Portland, Catherine Reid scored three goals and had an assist. Zoe Mazur, another sophomore and Fenton’s granddaughter, scored two goals and had an assist.

Lily LaCasse, a freshman, made 12 saves for Maine Girls’ Academy. Maeve McGarrity had five saves for the Stags.

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