PORTLAND—A week ago, the Cheverus girls’ soccer team suffered its most agonizing loss of the regular season, courtesy city rival Deering.
Friday evening, in a Western Class A preliminary round showdown at Memorial Field, the Stags served up a dose of revenge.
Cold and damp.
Cheverus came out hungry and confident and after some close calls got the only goal it would need when junior Sadie Lyons pounded home a 20-yard blast with 2:27 remaining in the first half.
No team has been more effective coming from behind this autumn than the Rams, but the Stags didn’t let it happen, doubling their lead with 18:20 to play when senior Eden Monsen scored on a rebound.
With 9:33 to go, freshman Alyssa Smith put it away with another rebound goal and Cheverus went on to a 3-0 victory in the rain, improving to 10-5, ending Deering’s season at 9-5-1 and setting up a quarterfinal round contest and unbeaten, top-ranked Windham Tuesday at 6 p.m.
“Our motivation was different tonight,” Monsen said. “We were excited and into the game and ready to win. It was amazing. Deering’s our rival. They’re always a tough team.”
A week ago Friday, Deering was all smiles on Cheverus’ field after junior standout Alexis Elowitch tied the game late in regulation and won it in the second overtime.
That helped the Rams leapfrog the Stags for the No. 8 seed in the Western Class A playoffs, while dropping Cheverus to ninth.
The teams had met twice prior in the playoffs, with the Stags winning both (please see sidebar, below).
Friday, Cheverus got back at Deering for the regular season setback.
Early on, junior scoring sensation Abby Maker had a good look in the box, but shot over Deering junior goalkeeper Lee Ann Downs and over the crossbar in the process.
Later in the half, Stags sophomore Olivia Mull and senior Darby Rawcliffe (from Maker) shot just wide.
With 2:37 left, a rush by Maker was broken up, but the ball came to Lyons, who placed a perfect shot past Downs into the goal for a 1-0 lead.
“We were just ready to take our shots,” said Monsen. “Sadie got us going, definitely.”
The hosts had a couple chances early in the second half, but a pair of free kicks from dangerous senior Samantha Sivovlos sailed wide.
Cheverus’ second goal came a seemingly harmless play. On a corner kick, the ball was headed in front, was headed a second time by senior Jamie Dulac and Monsen was there to pounce on the loose ball, burying it for a 2-0 advantage.
“The score’s always 0-0 to us,” said Monsen. “We always push hard. Jamie Dulac headed it and I just followed through and just kicked it.”
Deering’s best chance of the second half came with 16:52 to play when junior Edie Pallozzi, who’s scored her share of clutch goals this fall, had a 25-yard free kick, but it went just high over Cheverus senior goalkeeper Mikayla Mayberry and the crossbar.
After Downs made a stellar diving save on a Maker header with 10:06 to go, setting up a corner kick (the Stags had a 4-3 edge for the game), the ball came to Smith on the ensuing corner and she tucked home the shot to make it 3-0.
The Stags stymied Elowitch and her teammates from there and celebrated their victory.
“We played hard the whole time,” said Cheverus coach Dan LaVallee. “We had about a five minute letdown, when we were tired, but we really wanted it. I knew (last week) stung me a lot and I think it stung them a lot too. We have a ton of kids from Portland. Olivia, the Dulacs, Darby. None of them like to lose. They were well motivated. It’s nice when you don’t have the weight of expectations. If you make a mistake, you can move on.”
The Stags proved they’re more than a one-person act on offense.
“Abby’s a great player, but it’s definitely a team thing,” Monsen said.
“Abby’s just tremendous, but we have to have another option in case they mark her tight,” said LaVallee. “Darby is our second leading scorer and she didn’t get one tonight either.”
The Cheverus defense was even more impressive.
“Elowitch is always a tough player to stop,” said Kane. “(Sophomore Abby) Goodrich stayed on her and I stayed back. Goodrich was good on her. She didn’t let her turn. If you shut down Elowitch, you can shut down their offense. “
“We played more of a sweeper system and moved Danielle Kane back,” said LaVallee said. “She was outstanding. Mikayla was good too.”
Deering’s season came to an abrupt end.
“It’s a tough loss,” said Rams coach Kevin Olson. “We just didn’t generate offense tonight. No offense, no goals. I made a point at halftime to say it looked like (Cheverus) wanted it more. We accomplished a lot this season, but it just wasn’t our day. We have to learn from it and build from it. The wind clearly favored one team, but we had it for 40 minutes too. Bottom line, there’s not a lot of difference between the two teams. The first game went to overtime. We were the 8 and 9 seeds. It was going to be a tough battle.”
Deering will suffer some graduation hits but also returns top talent.
“Samantha Sivovlos will be a huge loss for us,” said Olson. “Sam Regios really bounced back from knee surgery and showed a lot of growth. Chelsea (Saucier) and Maddy (Mazjanis) stepped up. We’ll miss them. We have a great group coming back. We hope to build on this season.”
As for Cheverus, it will be the underdog at Windham (13-0-1), especially after a 3-1 loss there Sept. 18, but likes its chances.
“We have nothing to lose,” Monsen said. “Our regular season wasn’t that great, but now we’re leaving it on the field. We have a great group of seniors. We know it’s all or nothing.”
“If we have our heads in the game, I think we can beat anyone in the state,” said Kane. “I think we’ll play a good game.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing Windham again,” LaVallee added. “They’re very good and athletic, but I think we played with them in the rain a little undermanned and I think we can do it again. First goal will be huge. If we can sneak one in on them too, we’ll be humming.”
Cheverus beat Windham in two prior playoff meetings, 2-1, in the 2005 quarterfinals and 1-0, in overtime, in the 2007 quarterfinals.
Deering junior Alexis Elowitch gets past Cheverus senior Jamie Dulac.
Deering sophomore Meaghan Wells plays the ball forward as Cheverus senior Darby Rawcliffe closes in.
Cheverus junior Abby Maker fights off Deering junior Sophie Duarte.
Deering junior Casey Girsch impedes the progress of Cheverus junior Madeline Richardson.
Deering senior Samantha Sivovlos is hounded by Cheverus junior Sadie Lyons.
Deering junior Alexis Elowitch makes a slide tackle on Cheverus senior Kelsey Dulac.
Cheverus celebrates senior Eden Monsen’s second half goal which gave the Stags a 2-0 lead.
At the final horn, the Cheverus girls’ soccer team celebrates its win.
@ Deering 0 Cheverus 0 (tie)
Cheverus 1 @ Deering 0
@ Deering 0 Cheverus 0 (tie)
@ Cheverus 2 Deering 0
Cheverus 3 @ Deering 1
@ Cheverus 4 Deering 1 (Western A preliminary round)
@ Cheverus 4 Deering 0
@ Cheverus 2 Deering 0 (Western A preliminary round)
@ Deering 1 Cheverus 0
@ Deering 2 Cheverus 1
Cheverus junior Sadie Lyons exults as she’s congratulated by classmate Madeline Richardson after scoring the first goal of Friday’s 3-0 Western A preliminary round win at Deering.
More photos below.