Cheverus freshman Taylor Tory plays the ball as Sanford seniors Phoebe Joy (4) and Alysha Simpson defend during the Stags’ 5-2 win Thursday.

PORTLAND—After a pair of frustrating road results, Cheverus’ field hockey team was happy to kick off the home portion of its schedule Thursday afternoon at Shea Field.

And no one was happier to be home than standout junior captain Lucia Pompeo.

Pompeo scored a little over two minutes in to set the tone against visiting Sanford, then added a second goal for a 2-0 halftime advantage.

The Stags kept the pressure on in the second half, getting rebound goals from sophomore Mary Kate Murphy and junior Lucy Pirone and after junior Kallee Turner got the Spartans on the board, Pompeo rattled the cage to complete her hat trick.

Sanford scored once more with 4:29 to play, as sophomore Kayli Caron finished, but Cheverus went on to a 5-2 victory.

The Stags evened their record at 1-1-1 on the season and in the process dropped the Spartans to 1-2.

“We had a good mentality today,” said Pompeo. “We know we have the physical ability. We just needed the mental edge and we had that today. We can hang with anyone.”

High hopes

Sanford went 7-7 a year ago and began the 2019 season with a 4-0 victory at Portland/Deering and a 5-1 home loss to defending Class A champion Biddeford.

Cheverus, meanwhile, endured its share of frustration, settling for a 2-2 tie at Marshwood in the opener, then Tuesday, letting a two-goal lead slip away and losing on a penalty corner after the final horn at Biddeford, 3-2.

Last year, the Stags lost at Sanford, 2-1.

Thursday, on a very pleasant 65-degree afternoon, Cheverus returned the favor.

The Stags pressured the Spartans right from the start and after Sanford senior goalie Jordan Benvie denied Pompeo on her first attempt, Pompeo took a pass from junior Madisyn Durgin and finished with 27:43 left in the first half, putting Cheverus on top for good.

After Benvie saved bids from Durgin and Pompeo, Pompeo extended the lead to 2-0 with 16:50 on the clock, taking a pass from freshman Taylor Tory and backhanding the ball into the net.

“We’ve worked on coming out strong and playing our game,” said Stags coach Theresa Hendrix, a one-time standout player with the program who returned this fall as coach. “The kids did that right away. Lucia is a standout with this program. She’s in a captain role and she’s a leader on the field.”

Late in the half, Sanford earned three straight penalty corners, but couldn’t convert and Cheverus senior goalie Hannah Woodford made a save on a shot from senior Alysha Simpson to preserve the two-goal lead.

Despite enjoying a 10-1 shots advantage in the first half and a 5-3 edge in corners, the Stags weren’t content, knowing they’d let a two-goal lead slip away two days before.

Cheverus came out strong in the second half as well and with 22:03 remaining, off a penalty corner, Pompeo had a shot saved, but Murphy banged home the rebound to make it 3-0.

“Going into the half, we still weren’t playing to the best of our abilities and we talked about that at halftime,” Hendrix said. “We talked about going to the ball and giving more in the second half and we did.”

After Woodford denied both Turner and senior Phoebe Joy, the Stags got their fourth goal with 11:50 to go, as again off a corner, Pompeo had a shot saved only to see Pirone pounce on the rebound and finish.

The Spartans answered with 10:28 left, as Turner converted, but with 8:09 on the clock, Pompeo completed her hat trick, with Pirone getting the assist, making the score 5-1.

“We had to stay strong 100 percent for the whole game,” Pompeo said. “I wanted that third goal pretty badly. It felt good.”

Caron countered for Sanford (from Simpson) with 4:29 left, but that’s as close as the visitors would get and Cheverus went on to a 5-2 victory.

“We played well as a team,” said Pompeo. “We couldn’t hit the ball long today. We had to make some short passes. We have a strong forward line.”

“This is a league with so many talented teams and every game is a big game,” Hendrix said. “Starting with that tie, then coming down to the last second against Biddeford, the girls needed a game like this to build their confidence.”

Cheverus had a 17-5 shots advantage, took 10 corners to the Spartans’ five and got three saves from Woodford.

Sanford got a dozen saves from Benvie.

Scarborough awaits

Sanford is back in action Monday when it hosts Scarborough. The Spartans then go to Bonny Eagle Wednesday.

As for Cheverus, it hosts Portland/Deering Saturday (the game will be played on the turf at Deering High School at 10:30 a.m.), then Wednesday, the Stags travel to Scarborough for a big test against a perennial power.

“We just have to keep pushing hard,” said Pompeo. “We can’t get complacent. We have a great group of girls. We have some great athletes.”

“This is a big confidence booster for us,” Hendrix said. “It’s a great feeling to take away and we’re excited for our next games.”

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

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