You can keep the explosive Cheverus girls’ soccer team in check for 40 minutes.

But not 80.

The host Portland Bulldogs learned that lesson Wednesday night at Fitzpatrick Stadium, as the Stags scored three goals in just over seven minutes to start the second half and went on to 3-0 victory.

Alex Hammond was credited for a goal off a corner kick that deflected in off a Bulldogs defender, and freshman Julia Kratzer and speedster Emma Gallant added goals to help Cheverus improve to 2-0.

“At halftime, we talked about pace of passes and the kind of ball we needed to hit to make it difficult on them and we did that,” said Stags Coach Craig Roberts. “We got a hustle goal off a corner kick and that broke the ice. We knew we had momentum and we put a couple more away.”

Cheverus was able to get the ball to Gallant, Kratzer and Helena Bolduc in good spots in the first half, but Portland goalkeeper Caroline Lerch and her back line prevented the Stags from breaking through.

Then, 58 seconds into the second half, Cheverus struck.

Off a corner kick, Gallant served the ball into the box where Hammond headed it off a Bulldogs defender and past Lerch for a 1-0 lead.

A little over a minute later, Zoe Mazur passed ahead to Kratzer, who raced into the box before firing to Lerch’s left. The shot hit the inside of the right post and bounced into the net as Kratzer had her third goal of the season.

“I took a touch outside by the defender and shot it,” Kratzer said. “I thought it would hit the post, but I got a good bounce. They were pressuring high. We had to go wide and up the field quickly. We had a little trouble with the wind (in the first half), then we figured it out.”

The third goal came with 32:25 to play and featured Gallant, a state champion sprinter, who took a pass from sophomore Mia Kratzer, got behind the defense, dribbled around Lerch, then finished off the play.

“For 40 minutes, we took away maybe the best forward in the state, but in the second half, they got that flick off the corner and from there, the floodgates opened,” said Portland Coach Curtis Chapin.

The Bulldogs mustered just two shots all game, which Cheverus goalkeeper Neve Cawley easily saved.

“I thought we put 80 solid minutes together,” Roberts said. “We haven’t won at Fitzy against Portland since I’ve been here. It’s big for the girls to do that.”

Lerch made 10 saves for Portland (1-1).

“It’s early in the season and we’ll learn from it,” Chapin said.

“I love my team. I’ve seen some good things. Games like these test you and we’ll see where we go from here. I believe we’ll go forward.”

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