Cheverus junior Annesley Black, left, sophomore Aisling Flaherty, junior Margaret Keating, junior Zoe Mazur, senior Mackenzie Johnston and junior Terryn MacDonald celebrate a goal during the Stags’ 12-8 win at Portland Thursday night. Cheverus won its fourth game in a row and ended the Bulldogs’ eight-game win streak.

Mike Strout photos.

More photos below.


Cheverus 12 Portland 8

C- 5 7- 12
P- 3 5- 8

First half
24:15 C Booth (Johnston)
17:15 P A. More (unassisted)
16:13 C Mazur (unassisted)
11:32 P A. More (free position)
9:21 C Booth (free position)
4:32 C Flaherty (MacDonald)
3:09 C Mazur (free position)
1.3 P A. More (Kilbride)

Second half
24:29 C Booth (unassisted)
23:44 C Black (Flaherty)
19:20 P A. More (Praught)
18:13 C Johnston (Mazur)
17:41 C Johnston (free position)
15:55 C Mazur (Black)
15:32 P I. More (unassisted)
14:13 C Flaherty (Keating)
8:21 P Merrill (unassisted)
8:08 P Kilbride (A. More)
2:49 C MacDonald (unassisted)
1:51 P I. More (free position)

C- Booth, Mazur 3, Flaherty, Johnston 2, Black, MacDonald 1
P- A. More 4, I. More 2, Kilbride, Merrill 1

C- Black, Flaherty, Johnston, Keating, MacDonald, Mazur 1
P-Kilbride, Praught 1

Draws (Cheverus, 12-9)
C- Mazur 6 of 13, Johnston 6 of 8
P- A. More 5 of 9, I. More 2 of 5, Brown 2 of 4, Stoddard 0 of 2, Kierstead 0 of 1

Ground balls
C- 33
P- 28

C- 15
P- 15

C- 24
P- 22

Shots on cage:
C- 18
P- 14

C (Cawley) 6 
P (Krieckhaus) 6

PORTLAND—It’s quite possible that a team from the city of Portland will be standing between Falmouth’s girls’ lacrosse squad and a trip to the state final next month.

But it might not be the team everyone was expecting.

While the Portland Bulldogs are having a season to remember, posting a program-record win streak, they’re no longer the hottest team around.

In fact, Portland ran into a buzzsaw from Cheverus Thursday evening at Fitzpatrick Stadium and the Bulldogs’ surge is now a thing of the past.

While the Stags keep on climbing.

In a battle of two offensively talented squads, Cheverus never trailed, came out strong in the second half and pulled away to earn an abundance of Heal Points.

Just 45 seconds into the contest, Stags senior captain and standout Mackenzie Johnston set the tone with the game’s first goal.

Sophomore Annika More answered for Portland, but junior Zoe Mazur scored to put Cheverus back on top.

After More scored again. junior Bella Booth converted a free position with 9:21 to go in the first half and the Stags were on top to stay.

Late in the half, sophomore Aisling Flaherty and Mazur added goals, but with a second to go, More scored to pull the Bulldogs within 5-3 and seemingly give them momentum.

Until Cheverus took it right back to start the second half.

In a 45-second span, Booth and junior Annesley Black scored goals to stretch the lead to four and after More scored her final goal, Johnston scored twice in 42 seconds and Mazur added another tally to make it 10-4 Stags.

After Portland sophomore Isabella More and Flaherty traded goals, freshman Emma Merrill and junior Chloe Kilbride scored for the Bulldogs to cut the deficit to 11-7 with over eight minutes remaining, but junior Terryn MacDonald scored one final goal for Cheverus and while Isabella More scored late, the Stags had more than enough of a cushion to go on to a 12-8 victory.

Booth and Mazur led a balanced attack with three goals apiece and Cheverus won its fourth game in a row, improving to 6-4, ending Portland’s regular season at 9-3 in the process.

“As a team, we realized how badly we want it,” Booth said. “Our practice intensity has gone up and we’ve focused on what we want to do in games. Our positivity and how much we love each other are big factors too.” 

Dark horses

Falmouth, which moved up a class this year, entered the season as the favorite in Class A North and hasn’t disappointed, but Portland or Cheverus might just prevent the Yachtsmen from making it to the state final when all is said and done.

That’s because both squads have what it takes to make some noise in June.

The Stags opened with a 9-3 loss at Waynflete, then fell at home to Windham, 9-8. Cheverus got in the win column against visiting Lewiston (8-5) and Scarborough (11-4), then lost at two-time defending Class B champion Kennebunk (16-7) and at Falmouth (14-9) before getting hot, downing visiting Sanford (18-2), edging visiting York in a thriller (13-12) and Tuesday, rolling at Deering, 16-2.

The Bulldogs, meanwhile, opened with a 10-7 home win over Bonny Eagle, then lost at home to Gorham (8-4) and at South Portland (11-4) before catching fire, beating visiting Sanford (18-1), host Cony (15-5), visiting Brunswick (13-0), host Deering (15-3), visiting Edward Little (20-8), host Maine Girls’ Academy (12-2), host Noble (10-2) and host Westbrook (12-3).

Entering play Thursday, the Stags held an 8-3 all-time lead in the series (see sidebar, below) and had taken six of the past seven, including a 7-6 decision at Fitzpatrick Stadium a year ago.

This time around, after Portland’s eight seniors were honored, Cheverus led most of the way and prevailed again.

Johnston won the opening draw, then set up Booth for the game’s first goal.

Portland drew even with 17:15 to play in the first half, when Annika More scored unassisted.

The Stags got the goal right back, as Mazur scored for the first time, unassisted, with 16:13 on the clock.

The Bulldogs tied the game again with 11:32 left in the half, as More scored again, on a free position.

Booth then gave Cheverus the lead for good with 9:21 remaining before halftime, scoring on a free position.

After Flaherty hit the crossbar and Stags freshman goalie Neve Cawley robbed Kilbride, the Stags got some breathing room, as in transition, MacDonald set up Flaherty for a goal with 4:32 to go and with 3:09 on the clock, Mazur scored on a free position with Portland senior goalie Abby Krieckhaus out of the cage.

Bulldogs coach Beth Broderick called timeout and it paid dividends just before the horn.

After Isabella More just missed on a free position and Annika More had a free position saved, Portland held the ball as the clock wound down and Kilbride, from behind the goal, passed in front to Annika More, who tickled the twine with 1.3 seconds showing to make it a 5-3 game at halftime.

The Bulldogs appeared to have all the momentum, but Mazur won the draw to start the second half and 31 seconds in, Booth raced in and beat Krieckhaus for a 6-3 lead.

“What was important was the next minute,” Booth said. “That’s the most crucial time. They could come out strong after they scored, or we could score and we did and that gave us momentum.”

“That was a huge goal,” Cheverus coach Bill Fenton said. “We do a really good job on offense. The girls are looking for each other.”

With 23:44 remaining in the half, Black (from Flaherty) scored and suddenly the advantage was up to four.

After Portland sophomore Hazel Praught missed just high on a free position, Kilbride set up Annika More for a goal with 19:20 to play, but with 18:13 on the clock, Mazur fed Johnston for a goal and 32 seconds later, Johnston scored on a free position to make it 9-4.

“Possession is the name of the game,” Johnston said. “(At halftime) we just talked about intensity and being aggressive. We haven’t been a second half team in the past, but we’ve been working on it, so it was important to get those goals.” 

“Mackenzie is amazing,” Booth said. “She’s fearless. You watch her play and you just think she’s amazing. She just wants what’s best for the team. She loves us all.”

Then, with 15:55 remaining, Black set up Mazur to push the lead to six.

Twenty-three seconds later, Isabella More scored for the first time, but with 14:13 to go, Flaherty finished a feed from junior Margaret Keating for an 11-5 advantage.

The Bulldogs attempted to rally, getting an unassisted goal from Merrill with 8:21 on the clock and after Annika More won the ensuing draw, Kilbride took a pass from More and finished to cut the deficit to 11-7.

After Johnston hit the crossbar, Portland tried to creep closer, but Cawley made a save on senior Catriona Moran’s free position.

Then, with 2:49 to go, MacDonald scored unassisted to end all doubt.

Isabella More scored one final time with 1:51 on the clock, but Cheverus went on to a 12-8 victory.

“It’s a huge win,” Johnston said. “We were excited to play our rival. We had a huge win against York, so that got our confidence up. Cheverus is at a disadvantage because we have people coming from so many towns, so it takes us awhile to get the chemistry that other teams have right off the bat.”

“It’s really cool to see it coming at this time of year,” Fenton said. “These girls are really bonding and coming together, which is awesome. It’s been a case of putting the personalities together. My midfield is incredible. Mackenzie is a leader. She was a captain last year and this year. Zoe’s all over the field and so is Bella. I’m just so impressed with my defense and my ride. It was incredible.”

Six different Stags scored.

Mazur and Booth had three goals apiece. Flaherty and Johnston both had two goals and Black and MacDonald scored once each.

“Every single person on our offense is a threat,” Johnston said.

“We have a lot of girls who are good at reading the defense and really good feeders,” Booth said. “That’s really important.” 

Black, Flaherty, Johnston, Keating, MacDonald and Mazur all assisted on one goal.

Cawley made six key saves.

Cheverus won 12 of 21 draws, had a 33-28 edge in ground balls (Johnston had a game-high 12 and Mazur finished with eight), a 24-22 edge in shots (18-14 on cage) and only committed 15 turnovers.

Portland was paced by Annika More’s four goals. Isabella More had two goals and Kilbride and Merrill each scored once. 

Kilbride and Praught had assists.

Krieckhaus made six saves.

Annika More had a team-high six ground balls and senior Morgan Kierstead collected five.

The Bulldogs turned the ball over 15 times. 

“We had some unlucky moments and we didn’t do things we usually do and Cheverus had a better day,” said Portland coach Beth Broderick. “They did a nice job defending us. It’s a good learning experience for us and we’ll look forward to building on it.” 

Thinking playoffs

Portland (currently second in the Heal Points standings) won’t play another countable game for the better part of two weeks. If the Bulldogs wind up in the top two, they’ll earn a bye into the semifinals.

“For the seniors in particular, they had a lot to prove coming off their sophomore year going 1-11 and we’ve been building since then,” Broderick said. “Our goal was to get back to the playoffs and we’ve done that and our next goal is to win.”

Cheverus (now third in Class A North) travels to Marshwood Tuesday, then closes at home against South Portland Thursday of next week.

“We have to stay positive and keep wanting it,” Booth said.

“We’ll try to win our last two games to keep our confidence up and playoffs is a whole new season, so we’ll try to keep it going,” Johnston said.

“We have two games left,” added Fenton. “We’re hopefully peaking at the right time.” 

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cheverus junior Bella Booth shoots and scores one of her three goals.

Portland sophomore Annika More scores one of her four goals.

Portland junior Reagan Brown wins the ball away from Cheverus senior Mackenzie Johnston.

Cheverus junior Zoe Mazur tries to get around Portland sophomore Isabella More.

Cheverus senior Mackenzie Johnston holds the ball as Portland freshman Emma Merrill defends.

Portland senior goalie Abby Krieckhaus keeps an eye on Cheverus junior Zoe Mazur.

Portland sophomore Elena Clifford fires a shot.

Cheverus sophomore Aisling Flaherty looks to shoot as Portland sophomore Lam Zimet defends.

Previous Cheverus-Portland results

Cheverus 7 @ Portland 6

@ Cheverus 10 Portland 9 

Cheverus 10 Portland 9 (@ Deering)
Eastern A quarterfinals
@ Portland 16 Cheverus 15 (4 OT) 

@ Cheverus 12 Portland 3 

Cheverus 9 @ Portland 7 

@ Cheverus 10 Portland 3  

@ Portland 9 Cheverus 4 

@ Cheverus 12 Portland 8
Eastern A quarterfinals
@ Cheverus 9 Portland 6 

@ Portland 16 Cheverus 15