The teams in Class A South had no answers for the Cheverus High field hockey team the past two seasons.

It appears they’re still looking.

Lucy Johnson scored four goals, Zoey Radford added another, and the Stags defeated Biddeford, 5-0, in the season opener for both teams on Friday morning in Portland.

In its first test since finishing third all-time in Maine history in goals scored in a season and advancing to a second straight Class A championship game, Cheverus looked just as dominant as it did last year.

“We give a hustle player out at the end of every game, and it was one of those days where everyone was doing exactly what they needed,” Coach Theresa Arsenault said. “I thought our girls did a great job.”

The victory also represented a formal turning of the page. The 2022 season was a special one, but the Stags are ready to talk about 2023 now.

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“It’s a really good feeling,” Johnson said. “It’s a good start for us, because now people get to see who we are as a new team, and not our team from last year or the year before that.”

It looked familiar, however. Again the Stags buzzed around the Biddeford goal when they got the ball deep, and again their midfield excelled at stifling Biddeford counter attacks.

“We talk a lot about our offensive players. Yes, they’re there to score, yes, they’re there to transition the ball forward,” Arsenault said. “But they’re also first defenders when we end up losing the ball.”

That midfield game was led by usual suspects in Lily Johnson, Joey Pompeo, Taylor Krieger and Charlotte Miller, but also got a big boost from Radford, a spot starter last year who continuously sparked Cheverus’ transition on Friday.

“It’s really important for us,” Radford said of the midfield play. “It’s where we have most of our power from.”

The Tigers were down only 1-0 at the half. Biddeford came in with a focus on defense and held firm even as Cheverus brought pressure, and got big stops from Cadence Goulet (16 saves) to keep the Stags within reach.

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“That’s kind of where we saw the game going,” Biddeford Coach Caitlin Tremberth said. “A battle of two good teams. I think we thought it was going to be a close game the whole time.”

Cheverus’ pressure broke through in the second half. Lucy Johnson brought the ball into the circle, moved right to give herself some space, and fired a shot in for a 2-0 lead with 8:10 left in the third. She scored on a rebound to complete the hat trick with 5:33 left in the quarter, and Radford knocked in a lofted pass from Lillian Magda with 2:05 left to make it 4-0 going into the fourth.

A Johnson breakaway goal with 9:58 to play, set up by freshman Sydney Brunelle winning a race to the ball and getting it over quickly to the Stags’ star junior, finished the scoring.

“All of us staying together as a team, making sure we don’t get frustrated with each other … that’s what we did really well today,” Lucy Johnson said of Cheverus’ play in the second half. “We made sure we stuck together and were all on the same page.”

Biddeford’s best chance came when Eliza Doyon was awarded a penalty stroke with 6:37 left in the third, but Ellie Skolnekovich, a new starter, made a nice lunging stop of the lofted shot.

Tremberth said a more aggressive mindset will be needed for the Sept. 30 rematch on Biddeford’s turf field.

“(We) played defensive-minded, rather than whole field, whole player, whole team,” she said. “We need to play both sides. You have to play a defensive side, and you have to play an offensive side.”

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