Waynflete senior Joey Ansel-Mullen, who scored once, launches a free kick during the Flyers’ 4-0 win over Cheverus Tuesday.

PORTLAND—If the Waynflete boys’ soccer team starts producing offense in the first half, look out, it will be unstoppable.

That’s because the two-time defending Class C state champion Flyers have been tickling the twine with abandon in the second half of late.

Three days after coming to life just before the half, then scoring a couple second half goals in a 3-2 win Saturday at Deering, Waynflete couldn’t get on the scoreboard in the first half against visiting Cheverus in the teams’ first-ever countable meeting at Tuesday afternoon at Fore River Fields, but it was only a matter of time before the Flyers broke through.

Again and again and again.

It took until 16:21 remained in regulation before senior Joey Ansel-Mullen set up junior Henry Hart to open the scoring.

Four minutes later, after junior Samir Sayed was taken down in the box, Ansel-Mullen converted the ensuing penalty kick.

Senior Aidan Kieffer then added a third goal with 4:29 to play and with just seven seconds on the clock, senior Owen Anderson got in the scoring column as well as Waynflete prevailed, 4-0.

The Flyers won their fourth game without a loss this season while dropping the Stags to 1-2.

“It’s fun to play different teams,” said Ansel-Mullen. “It’s a new challenge. I wish we could go for a third (straight title), but these teams are down the road from us and they’re Class A and we can prove we’re not just a small C school, but that we’re a competitor that can play against any team on any day and get a result.”

Another ‘A’

Cheverus finished 5-6-4 in 2019, losing, 2-1, to Westbrook in the Class A South preliminary round of the playoffs. The Stags avenged that setback with a 1-0 victory at the Blue Blazes in their 2020 opener, then fell at home, 3-0, to Portland Saturday.

Waynflete went 16-2 a year ago, capping its tremendous campaign with a 4-0 victory over Mt. View in the Class C state final.

The Flyers rolled in their first two outings this fall, 5-1, at North Yarmouth Academy and 6-1 at home over Gray-New Gloucester, before holding off host Deering Saturday, 3-2. That game marked the first-ever encounter between the Flyers and Rams, just like Tuesday was the first meeting between Waynflete and Cheverus.

On a 61-degree afternoon, the Flyers showed once again that they can match up quite nicely against any team from any class.

Just 39 seconds in, Waynflete threatened, but senior Patrick Shaw’s promising feed into the box went untouched.

The Stags’ first chance came in the fifth minute, when junior Brady Hoglund sent a long free kick on frame, but Flyers’ senior goalkeeper Ben Talpey made the save.

Waynflete then saw Hart miss wide and senior Harry Millspaugh send a header just wide.

After Cheverus senior Evangelo Kapothanasis’ header was bobbled, then snared by Talpey, senior Alex Vest and Ansel-Mullen each missed wide.

Late in the first half, Millspaugh sent a header high, Vest’s shot was tipped over the crossbar by Stags’ senior goalkeeper Silas Jones and Jones made a brilliant diving save to rob Ansel-Mullen.

Cheverus then had a great chance to break through in the 36th minute, but off a feed from Hoglund, senior Nate Smith couldn’t get enough on his shot and Talpey made the save.

In the final minute of the half, Jones tipped out Ansel-Mullen’s free kick and the game went to halftime 0-0.

Waynflete had a 5-0 advantage in corner kicks and a 4-3 edge in shots on frame, but had nothing to show for it.

That would change in the second half, but not for awhile.

Flyers senior Ilo Holdridge started the second stanza with a header just high. Sayed then hit the post, a Vest rush was broken up in the box, Ansel-Mullen had a blast tipped over the crossbar by Jones and Shaw missed high.

Then, with 16:21 to play, Waynflete put the ball in the net.

The goal came in transition and was set up by Ansel-Mullen, who played a perfect through-ball to Hart, who fired a low shot that Jones couldn’t stop and the Flyers had what proved to be the only goal they would need.

“We had a slow start and Coach (Brandon Salway) told us to keep playing the way we play and pass the ball around,” Hart said. “We were persistent and came out stronger for the second half. We knew the goals would come eventually. Coach tells us to keep our shots down. It was a good through-ball right to my feet. I made sure I kept it on the ground and get it away from the keeper. It was a good finish.”

“I wish we could finish a little bit earlier,” said Salway. “Cheverus is quick everywhere and they put you under pressure. Our composure on the ball wasn’t great early, but we got better as the game went on. We talked at halftime about how we need to put four or five passes together and in the second half, we did that. It does no good to sky shots over the bar. We’ve focused on getting shots down low. It was nice to see some finishes on the ground.”

With 12:30 left, Waynflete got some breathing room, as Sayed was brought down in the box, play was stopped and a penalty kick was awarded and Ansel-Mullen did the honors, firing to Jones’ right where the goalie couldn’t make a play and the lead was 2-0.

“All credit to Samir for taking that penalty and classy by him to let me take it,” Ansel-Mullen said. “When he gave it to me, I knew I had to bury it. I tried not to over-think it, take a deep breath and slot it.”

“Samir earned it and gets credit in my book for a lot of the goal, but Joey’s probably our best PK taker and at 1-0, I wanted the most sure PK taker in there,” Salway said. “He put it away.”

After junior Odan Strock missed wide, Hoglund sent a free kick over the bar and junior Emmet Schuele had a deflected shot saved by Talpey, the Flyers broke it open.

First, with 4:26 to go, off an Ansel-Mullen free kick, the ball was headed beautifully by senior Ben Adey right in front to Kieffer, who knocked it home.

Then, with time winding down, Kieffer set up Anderson all alone in front and he finished with seven seconds showing to account for the 4-0 final score.

“That’s like our fourth or fifth goal in the last few minutes of a half or game and that’s great,” Salway said. “Aidan said after the last goal, ‘I didn’t even know there were seven seconds left,’ which is a good sign.

“I knew (Cheverus would) be well-coached and organized. It was more about doing scouting during the game, rather than before the game. We figure out what the opponent does well and try to take it away from them. They made us earn it today.”

Waynflete had a 9-4 shots advantage, got four saves from Talpey and took all eight of the game’s corner kicks.

Cheverus got five saves from Jones.

“Waynflete’s a good team and we’re a notch below them,” said Stags coach Bill LeBlanc. “They play hard and they’re well-coached, but I think we held our own. If we could have gotten that goal in the first half, it would have helped us. One mistake cost us, then they had the PK and it went downhill. It was a competitive game. It was good to play a different team.”

Encore

The teams play again Tuesday of next week at Cheverus. The Stags have a game at Deering in the meantime, on Thursday.

“I’m coaching the guys the same way I would normally,” said LeBlanc. “I’m trying to make it enjoyable for the guys, but I also want to make it serious to give the seniors a good year. They’re motivated to win.”

Waynflete is idle until going to Cheverus next Tuesday.

“We’re just focused on this season,” said Hart. “We want to do the best we can and play hard.”

“The goal is to go 8-0,” said Ansel-Mullen. “We’d love to get Coach to 300 (wins).”

“Every game means a lot,” added Salway, who has 296 victories with the Flyers. “It’s great to compete and have a nice schedule and playing against tough teams makes it interesting.”

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

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