Cheverus High’s boys’ soccer team never scored in the run of play against South Portland this season.

But thanks to goalkeeper Harrison Bell’s quick hands, savvy and even his own ball-striking during penalty kicks, the Stags are moving on in the Class A South playoffs.

No. 4 Cheverus beat South Portland 1-0 in penalty kicks in Tuesday’s quarterfinal.

Both teams made three of their first five shots in penalty kicks. In the second set of five, Bell scored on the Stags’ ninth attempt to give Cheverus a 6-5 overall edge and South Portland’s 10th attempt, by Noah Dreifus, hit the crossbar.

Cheverus (10-3-2) will be at No. 1 Gorham (14-0-1) for Saturday’s semifinal.

No. 5 South Portland (10-6) beat Cheverus 5-0 in the regular season.

“We didn’t score a goal against them this year in 190 minutes and we’re pretty potent offensively,” said Cheverus Coach Matt Andreasen. “We knew it was going to be a tough draw but I think we relished the challenge.”

The Red Riots were eliminated via penalty kicks in last season’s regional quarterfinal.

Bell made six saves in regulation and four during the two 15-minute overtimes. South Portland had an overall 17-7 edge in shots. Well-struck diagonal shots late in regulation by Cooper Mehlhorn (with 3:22 to play) and Anthony Perron (final seconds) skittered just wide. Cheverus’ best bid came in the second overtime when the outstretched toe of a jumping Jack Mullen barely missed Michael Nason’s well-placed cross.

In the penalty kicks, South Portland had a 2-1 advantage after two rounds on goals by Damir Brkic and Aleks Kaurin and a diving left-hand save by South Portland’s Shippen Savidge.

Bell saved the next two South Portland shots. On the first, it appeared he had taken a stride forward before the shot. On the second, Bell clearly had gained forward advantage before the distinctive thud of foot-on-ball.

By rule, a goalie is allowed to move laterally along the goal line before the penalty kick but is not allowed to come forward until the kick is taken. Two officials, one on the goal line, ruled the saves valid.

“We’re instructed to play when the ball is hit, so when that ball is hit, you make up as much ground as you can,” Bell said.

“They can’t leave the line until the ball is struck but if you watch penalty kicks, goalies take a little bit of a half-step forward. To be perfectly honest, saving a penalty kick is the hardest thing to do in sports, if they want to take a little half-step to gain an advantage, they should probably be allowed that,” said South Portland Coach Bryan Hoy.

Mullen, Tanner LaFlamme, Nason, Ethan Hammond and Emmet Schuele made penalty kicks for Cheverus before Bell’s winner.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: SteveCCraig