After not playing a countable game for two weeks and having its seniors graduate earlier Wednesday, it wasn’t a surprise that the Portland girls’ lacrosse team struggled a bit in the first half of its Class A North quarterfinal game against Oxford Hills.

But in the second half, the third-seeded Bulldogs showed why they’ve been so successful all season, getting balanced scoring, strong defense and timely saves from Abby Krieckhaus as they closed the game on a 6-0 run to beat the sixth-seeded Vikings, 12-6, at Fitzpatrick Stadium on Portland.

“We woke up a little slowly today,” said Portland Coach Beth Broderick. “We’ve had a long break and we were a little rusty, but I’m glad all the kids got in the game and contributed today. I’m really excited about how we worked together.”

The Bulldogs improved to 10-3 and earned a semifinal date at No. 2 Cheverus (8-4) at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The game was tied five times in the first half, but Annika More scored her third goal just before halftime to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 advantage.

“That goal gave us energy,” said Krieckhaus. “We have this thing called, ‘Green light,’ which means go to goal as fast as you can. We used that to our advantage.”

Cassidy Walo scored for the Vikings 10 seconds into the second half to tie the game for the final time, but Oxford Hills didn’t score again.

With 22:36 to go, Morgan Kierstead scored unassisted to put the Bulldogs on top.

After Hazel Praught, Elena Clifford and Chloe Kilbride scored in a 70-second span to stretch the lead to 10-6, Portland got late goals from Clifford and Kierstead.

“We were a little frantic in the first half, having a home playoff game, but we took a deep breath and figured it out,” Kierstead said.

Kierstead and Annika More each scored three goals, while Clifford and Kilbride (two assists) contributed two apiece. Isabella More and Praught each scored once.

“All of us are shooters and all of us can play anywhere,” Kierstead said. “Once we figure it out, we get in and find lanes and score goals.”

Krieckhaus made nine saves, including several in the second half when the game was still in the balance.

“I was on top of the ball and I felt energized and ready,” said Krieckhaus. “I wanted to get in front of the ball and it worked out. I get a little aggressive sometimes.”

Portland is looking forward to getting another shot at Cheverus. On May 24, the Stags won at Portland, 12-8.

“Cheverus is a good contest,” Broderick said. “They have some great players. We have to play smarter. We beat ourselves the first time. Hopefully, we’re cleaning things up.”

Oxford Hills (9-4) got two goals from Julia Colby, and one apiece from Caroline Burns, Maggie Hartnett, Cecelia Dieterich and Walo. Freshman goalie Tiana James made 15 saves, but the Vikings’ first playoff appearance in a decade came to a quick end.

“(Portland) definitely pulled away,” said Oxford Hills Coach Jaimee Smith. “Tiana worked really hard today. She played really well. She’s a competitor.

“We have a positive outlook for next season. I only graduate a couple. Everyone else is back. We hope to build on this.”