KENNEBUNK — Emily Archibald blasted in a goal as time expired in regulation to give Kennebunk a 1-0 victory over Cheverus in a Class A South girls’ soccer season opener Saturday.

Archibald, a freshman playing her first varsity game, gained possession on the perimeter and shot from long range with the final seconds winding down.

The ball drifted over the head of Cheverus freshman keeper Neve Cawley and found the net as the clock hit all zeros.

“This is amazing. It was an awesome team win and my teammates were there to support me the whole time because, this being my first game, I was extremely nervous and they were backing me up from beginning to end,” said Archibald.

Archibald narrowly missed a goal with 1:40 left in regulation. She had a one-on-one opportunity as she gained separation from the defense, but Samantha Belaire made a great defensive play to preserve the tie, forcing Archibald to take a difficult shot that went wide of the net.

“As you get tired, you don’t get quite as compact as quickly and you don’t drop quite as quickly. That nearly hurt us on that play, but Sam Belaire made a great hustle play to cover for our center backs,” said Cheverus Coach Craig Roberts.

In its first game since rejoining the SMAA, Kennebunk held a 9-7 shot advantage despite the Stags controlling play in the early stages.

“As a team, joining (the SMAA), we didn’t know what to expect. We haven’t played any of these teams before. So as a program, we came out a little bit nervous and it took us some time to settle in,” said Kennebunk Coach Shannon Cavanaugh.

Cheverus had a few good scoring opportunities, none better than a bid by freshman Lily Paszyc with 14:08 left in regulation.

Off a throw-in, Paszyc gained control in front of the net and took a point-blank shot, but it went toward the middle of the net and was caught by keeper Adia Grogan.

“We had a lot of corner and throw-in opportunities where we got the ball in the box and we just couldn’t finish,” said Roberts.

“I’ve talked to reporters, I’ve talked to these girls in the past couple years about urgency. Playing hard is great. I love these girls, they play hard, but there’s that sense of urgency you need in a 0-0 game to make it 1-0 or 2-0. We didn’t have that, and Kennebunk did.”

Grogan made three saves in the shutout.

After playing mostly Class B opponents as a member of the Western Maine Conference last season, Kennebunk won a Class A South preliminary-round game against Bonny Eagle before losing to eventual regional champion Gorham in the quarterfinals.

“Coming into this new (league), coming off our Gorham playoff game last year, (we need) the belief that we can compete. We’re going to be flying under the radar, but (we will be a team) to be reckoned with,” said Cavanaugh.

Up next for Cheverus is its home opener Wednesday against Portland.

“We’ll refocus Monday, have a couple good practices, then be ready to go against Portland on Wednesday,” said Roberts.

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