PORTLAND—A year ago, Falmouth’s boys’ soccer team allowed two goals off corner kicks and suffered a loss at Cheverus.

Friday afternoon at Boulos Stadium, the Yachtsmen returned and while they surrendered one goal off a corner kick, they also scored on one and that proved to be enough to emerge victorious and stay undefeated on the 2019 season.

Falmouth went on top, 1-0, in the 24th minute when sophomore Charlie Adams scored, but with 5:42 left in the first half, senior Ethan Hammond finished for the Stags to tie the game.

After Yachtsmen senior goalkeeper Jackson Quinn made a terrific save to preserve the tie, junior Gus Ford put Falmouth ahead to stay when he finished a rebound off a corner kick with 16:25 remaining and that was just enough to produce a 2-1 victory.

The Yachtsmen improved to 6-0-1 at the midway point and in the process, dropped the Stags to 2-4-2.

“We’ll take it,” said longtime Falmouth coach Dave Halligan. “It’s always tough to play here. (The Stags) play with emotion and heart and it’s a smaller field. We gave up a goal, but we kept playing. We have to keeping working on a couple combinations and we can be a really good team. ”

 In a corner

Falmouth and Cheverus entered play Friday having met just three times previously. In the 2014 Western A quarterfinals, the Stags sprung a 2-1 upset en route to a surprise state title. In 2017, the host Yachtsmen eked out a 1-0 victory. Last fall, host Cheverus came from behind to beat Falmouth, 2-1.

This season, Bill LeBlanc’s return to the Cheverus program as coach has seen mixed results to date. The Stags opened with a scoreless tie at South Portland, then fell at home to Portland (3-0). After winning at home over Marshwood (2-1) and at Massabesic (3-1), Cheverus lost at Gorham (1-0) and at home to Kennebunk (2-1), then tied host Deering Tuesday, 1-1.

Falmouth opened with wins at Sanford (1-0), at home over Massabesic (6-0) and at home over defending regional champion Gorham (2-1) before erasing a two-goal deficit and settling for a 2-2 draw at home versus Kennebunk. The Yachtsmen’s winning ways then returned at Deering (3-0) and at home versus Bonny Eagle (4-0).

Friday, on a pleasant (67 degrees at kickoff) afternoon, Falmouth found a way to prevail.

Falmouh nearly struck first two minutes in, but Ford’s rocket hit the post and a rebound bid from sophomore Connor Quiet was saved by Cheverus senior goalkeeper Harrison Bell.

“I miss shots a lot and if you let that snowball, it’s not good for anyone, so I try to keep my head in the game,” Ford said.

The Stags’ first chance came in the sixth minute, but a header from junior Evangelo Kapothanasis off a sophomore Brady Hoglund free kick sailed just high.

After Bell broke up a rush by Adams, Bell saved a shot from the side by Ford.

With 28:17 left in the first half, with Bell out of the goal, Adams had a great look, but he chipped a shot wide.

Finally, with 16:31 to go before halftime, the Yachtsmen broke through, as Adams got to a ball and with Bell coming out to stop him, Adams got past the keeper, then finished with his left foot for a 1-0 lead.

After Bell kept his team in the game by denying Adams in close, the Stags pulled even.

With 5:42 remaining in the half, Hoglund served up a  corner kick, Kapothanasis got his head on the ball and it squirted to the far post where Hammond was waiting to tap it home to make it 1-1, a score which held into halftime.

In the first 40 minutes, Falmouth had a 5-3 edge in shots on frame and each team took two corner kicks.

Cheverus nearly took the lead in the second half, but after failing to do so, it had to watch as the Yachtsmen went on top to stay.

After Hoglund got the ball in a scrum and shot just wide 45 seconds into the second half, senior Josh LeFevre bid to put Falmouth on top with a long, floating shot, but Bell punched it out of harm’s way.

With 31:53 remaining, Hammond was robbed by Quinn in front.

Quinn then made his finest save two minute later, as Cheverus senior Will Mullen stole the ball just inside midfield, dribbled past a defender, then sent a bending shot toward the post from about 35 yards out, forcing Quinn to race to his left, then contort his body to hold on and preserve the 1-1 score.

After the visitors failed to convert a couple corner kick, a rush by junior Sam Gearin was broken up, but the ball went out of bounds for a corner and this time, the Yachtsmen took advantage.

With 16:25 left in regulation time, the ball was served in by senior Noah Piers, was batted around and came to Ford right in front and he buried it for a 2-1 advantage.

“The ball was bouncing around,” Ford said. “It was waist-high. I just stuck my foot out and it wound up going in.”

“We ran the play and everyone was where they were supposed to be,” Halligan said. “They’re smart kids and they know how to make adjustments.”

The Stags pushed hard for the equalizer, but after Quinn punched away a pass from Hammond to junior Ryan Kratzer, Kapothanasis missed just high and a Hammond rush was broken up by senior back Adrian Friedman.

Falmouth ran out the clock from there and celebrated its 2-1 win.

“After we give up a goal, we just get together and make sure we get the next one,” Ford said. “We’re always so positive. We spend time practicing protecting a one-goal lead. We just get more defensive-minded.”

The Yachtsmen had a 7-6 edge in shots, enjoyed a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks and got five saves from Quinn.

Cheverus got five saves from Bell and competed hard, but wound up with nothing to show for it.

“We’ve now had five hard games against teams ahead of us in Heal Points and we’ve played with all of them,” LeBlanc said. “We just haven’t gotten the right bounce. We thought at the start of the second half, if we pressed, we’d get one, but we didn’t, then we had some unlucky circumstances. We lost a lot of scoring from last year, but we knew we’d be good defensively. We play a formation to win games 1-0, 2-1. Today, we were just on the wrong end.”

Second half

Cheverus looks to bounce back Tuesday when Bonny Eagle pays a visit. The Stags go to Windham Saturday of next week.

“We’ve played a hard schedule,” LeBlanc said. “We think we’re as good as anyone. We should be good the next five games and we’ll play more guys. Then we play Scarborough last and we’ll see how the playoffs go.”

Falmouth, meanwhile is home Tuesday to meet Windham, then travels to Biddeford and Thornton Academy.

“We knew we weren’t the favorite (this year) and we feed off that,” Ford said. “Now that we’re undefeated, everyone knows we’re here to play and we have to get better every day. We work hard and if we keep doing that, I think we can do anything.”

“The younger kids are coming along and we’ll get guys back and get more depth,” Halligan said. “We want to play at home (at the playoffs). It’s in our hands. We have the games ahead of us.”

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

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