PORTLAND—Wednesday afternoon at Boulos Stadium, Cheverus’ boys’ soccer team showed just how good it can be.

The Stags hosted Thornton Academy in a game that doubled as a fundraiser for Play For The Cure and while Cheverus didn’t come alive until the second half, it did more than enough to earn a critical late-season victory.

The Stags allowed some golden scoring opportunities to the Golden Trojans in the first half, but junior goalkeeper Wyatt Roy came up huge time and again to make saves and keep the contest scoreless.

Then, with 31:43 to go, Cheverus, on its seventh try, converted a corner kick, as senior Brady Hoglund’s serve was sent into the net by junior Collin Plalum for the only goal the Stags would need.

But they would get two more, as Hoglund set up senior Kyle Lamberson with 27:50 to play and with 10:01 remaining, after being fouled in the box, senior Emmet Schuele converted the ensuing penalty kick and Cheverus went on to a 3-0 victory.

The Stags improved to 4-6-2 on the season and in the process, dropped Thornton Academy to 5-7.

“This win’s good for us,” Schuele said. “I feel we have a decent enough team. We just need to get momentum and finish. Once we get momentum, we’re good.”

Closing strong

In a season where just about every team is a contender in Class A South, Thornton Academy and Cheverus have struggled against top foes, but believe they’ll be a factor when the playoffs start.

The Golden Trojans opened with an overtime win over Bonny Eagle, then were blanked by Scarborough, South Portland and Portland. Shutout wins over Sanford, Massabesic, Noble and Kennebunk followed before Thornton Academy lost to Marshwood, Falmouth and Gorham.

The Stags, meanwhile, started with a 2-0 home loss to South Portland, then earned a 2-1 victory at Portland, lost at home to Marshwood (3-1), blanked visiting Massabesic (7-0), fell at home to Gorham (5-0), settled for a scoreless draw at Kennebunk, then lost at home to Deering (2-1), fell at Falmouth (5-3), settled for a scoreless draw at Bonny Eagle, dropped a 3-2 home decision to Windham, then shut out host Biddeford Saturday, 2-0.

The teams last played in 2019, a scoreless tie in Saco.

Wednesday, on yet another gorgeous mid-October afternoon (72 degrees at kickoff), Cheverus avoided disaster in the first half, then took care of business in the second.

Cheverus junior Carter Hoglund eludes the Thornton Academy defense early in the Stags’ 3-0 victory Wednesday. Hoffer photos.

In the sixth minute, Thornton Academy got its first good chance, as junior Arthur Closs Reston broke free behind the defense and went one-on-one with Roy, but Roy came up huge and made the save.

Senior Joao Meirelles Ohara then twice missed wide.

In the seventh minute, senior Ludovico Bianchi set up junior Jeremiah Gomez for another great chance which Roy denied. The ball came back to Gomez, but his second attempt was headed away at the last moment by senior defender Matthew Hatch.

In the 10th minute, Gomez tried again but was robbed by Roy, who made a diving stop.

“As a goalie, you don’t want a lot of action, but it’s good to face shots,” said Roy. “I’m just reacting, getting set, then going where the ball is. Those saves gave me confidence.”

The Stags’ first shot came in the 12th minute, off a corner kick, but Lamberson’s bid was saved by Thornton Academy senior keeper Wyatt Light.

In the 20th minute, Reston tried again, but Roy made a sprawling save.

Five minutes later, Gomez set up Bianchi for a one-time blast that a leaping Roy got just enough of to knock over the crossbar for a corner kick.

Cheverus’ best first half chance came with 9:40 on the clock, when sophomore Anton Behuniak forced Light to dive to make the save.

With 4:18 remaining before halftime, Roy had to make one more big save, as Reston served up a corner that found the head of Ohara, but he was stopped cold.

The Golden Trojans had an 8-3 shots advantage in the first half, but Roy stopped all eight, many from point blank range.

“We weren’t really awake in the first half,” Schuele said. “They had multiple chances and Wyatt saved us.”

“We gave up too many breakaways in the first half,” said Cheverus coach Bill LeBlanc. “In all honesty, we could have been down 2-0, 3-0 at halftime. We had one guy play well in the first half and that Wyatt. He was good the whole game.”

The Stags then forced the action in the second half and broke through.

After Light denied senior Odan Strock on a header off a corner, Cheverus took its seventh corner kick and with 31:43 to play, scored the game’s first goal, as Hoglund served the ball in front, where Plalum one-timed it into the net.

Thornton Academy had a chance to draw even with 28:54 left, but a low blast from Reston was denied by a diving Roy.

Then, with 27:50 to go, Hoglund unleashed a promising free kick from 40 yards that was saved by Light, but the rebound came to Lamberson by the near post and he scored on the rebound to make it 2-0.

After Golden Trojans senior Jonathan Umel had a shot saved by Roy and sent the rebound just wide, Cheverus put it away.

Schuele was taken down in the box with 10:01 to play and a penalty kick was called. Schuele then fired a low shot past Light to make it 3-0.

“I was glad to get that call,” Schuele said. “I was trying to go bottom left the whole way.”

Cheverus senior Emmet Schuele prepares to beat Thornton Academy senior goalie Wyatt Light with a penalty kick.

Thornton Academy couldn’t generate any more good chances and the Stags finished off their victory.

“The defense did a lot better in the second half,” said Roy, who had 11 saves. “We need to be more consistent throughout the game. Go hard right out of the gate.”

“We picked it up in the second half and we finished our chances,” Schuele said. “We raised our intensity. We hadn’t really finished our chances this year.”

“We didn’t play well at all in the first half,” LeBlanc added. “We were sloppy and our effort wasn’t good enough. We had a better effort in the second half, our defense was better and we found the goal.”

Each team took 11 shots. Light made eight saves for the Golden Trojans. Cheverus had a 7-5 edge in corner kicks.

Almost there

Thornton Academy (currently ranked 10th in the Class A South Heal Points standings) is back in action Friday at Deering, then closes its regular season Tuesday at home versus Biddeford.

Cheverus (ninth in Class A South at press time) plays at Westbrook Monday, then closes with a big test, at home, versus Scarborough, Tuesday.

“We still have to learn how to play together,” said LeBlanc. “We have a week to do it. If we can play like we did in the second half, we’ll see how we do.”

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

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