After dropping their season opener and falling behind visiting Falmouth on Tuesday afternoon, the Cheverus boys’ soccer team faced an early test of its resiliency.

The Stags passed, thanks to a pair of converted corner kicks that gave them a 2-1 victory.

“We stayed on our feet and kept positive with each other and just kept pushing,” said senior Owen Burke, who didn’t actually stay on his feet.

Instead, he rose high above a pack and used his head to redirect a corner kick from Nolan Doherty into the net with a little over 11 minutes remaining to break a 1-1 tie.

Cheverus’ Michael Nason takes possession of the ball with two Falmouth players closing in. The Stags won to start the season 1-1. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

Tanner Laflamme, with an assist from Michael Nason, had scored the first Cheverus goal following another Doherty corner kick with 25:23 left.

“This one was a big win for us,” Burke said. “We went into this game off (Saturday’s 2-1) loss to Kennebunk and we needed to bounce back. We’re still going to improve. It’s the beginning of the season, but it was a big win and the boys are excited.”

Tuesday was the opener for Falmouth, which controlled play for much of the first half and then saw a golden opportunity erased early in the second.

Ben Greene’s free kick struck the left post. Tom Fitzgerald headed the rebound off the crossbar and had a second chance tapped away by Cheverus goalkeeper Harrison Bell. Niklas Hester finally knocked it in, only to have officials wave off the goal after a brief consultation because of an offsides determination.

Falmouth’s Macklin Williams and Cheverus’ Michael Nason collide during a header. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

A few minutes later, Fitzgerald sent Gus Ford in alone on what appeared a more obvious offsides infraction, but no whistle was blown and Ford easily maneuvered around Bell to make it 1-0.

“To concede one and go down, and then battle back, it’s really good for confidence and for morale,” said Cheverus Coach Matt Andreasen. “It’s good for the program. It lets people know we’re here and we’re going to be a tough out this year.”

The game started in temperatures just above 80 degrees and officials signaled for a water break in each half. Cheverus had six corner kicks to Falmouth’s one in the waning seconds of the first half. The Stags converted both second-half corners, with Nason setting up the equalizer by battling two Falmouth defenders and managing to get the ball to Laflamme.

“He was kind of dribbling through and it kind of got touched away from him and bounced right to me,” Laflamme said. “I put it on goal and it went in.”

The Stags struck again from the corner 14 minutes later.

Falmouth’s Charlie Adams watches Cheverus goalkeeper Harrison Bell take control of the ball. Staff photo by Ben McCanna

Falmouth’s best chance to tie the game came on Fitzgerald’s drive from 25 yards that drifted just wide right. Bell finished with five saves and Falmouth keeper Alvaro Fuentes-Cantillana with four.

“Ugly things happen the first game,” said Falmouth Coach David Halligan. “Some guys try to do too much. Other guys are looking around for somebody else to do it. You can’t. It’s your time. But they’ll sort that out. They’ll learn from the experience and get better, I think.”

Falmouth hosts Bonny Eagle on Thursday night. Cheverus plays Saturday at home against Massabesic.

“Even though it’s early in the season, it was a big one for us,” said Andreasen, noting the potential Heal points at stake. “They’re going to win 10-11-12 games. At the end of the season, we’ll look back on this and feel fortunate.”

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