Cheverus goalie Kat Kane and her teammates celebrate Saturday’s 3-0 win over South Portland in a Class A South preliminary round playoff game.
(Ed. Note: For the complete Cheverus-South Portland game story, with additional photos, see theforecaster.net)
The field hockey season has come to an end for all but one city squad and that team, the Cheverus Stags, is hoping for another deep run.
One year after getting to the Class A South Final (where it lost to Thornton Academy), Cheverus enjoyed a 10-4 regular season and earned the No. 7 seed for the regional playoffs.
Saturday, the Stags hosted No. 10 South Portland in the preliminary round. Cheverus won the regular season meeting, 4-1, Sept. 7. The teams had no playoff history.
Play was even much of the first half and the Red Riots had five penalty corners, but couldn’t convert.
Then, midway through the half, the Stags showed South Portland how it’s done, as on a corner, Carrie Hight passed to Hannah Abbott and Abbott scored for the only goal Cheverus would need.
“It was a nice pass,” Abbott said. “We got the ball in, I saw the ball and just shot. Getting the first goal sets the tone for the game and gets us going.”
After South Portland failed to finish some chances, the hosts got a huge second goal with 56 seconds remaining before halftime, when Abbott scored again.
“On that goal, I had some space and I just went for it,” Abbott said.
“Hannah has been awesome,” said Cheverus first-year coach Sally Cloutier. “She’s smart, she controls the field for us. Her leadership is awesome.”
The Red Riots did their best to cut into the deficit in the second half, but never could rattle the cage and Bella Booth added a third goal with 45 seconds to play and the Stags went on to victory.
Cheverus won its playoff opener for the third year in a row, improved to 11-4, ended South Portland’s season at 6-9 in the process and advanced to meet No. 2 Marshwood (12-2) in the quarterfinals Tuesday in South Berwick.
“I’m really happy how we played,” said Abbott. “Winning our first playoff game like this is awesome. This shows our resilience as a team. We’ve come so far and worked so hard and it’s showing now.”
“It’s always a little sweeter to beat South Portland,” said Cloutier, who once upon a time played for the Red Riots. “They came ready to play and I thought they played a great game. They’ve improved a ton. They played smart, but we just played a little better. We’ve been gearing up and now is when we want to peak.”
Cheverus and Marshwood are no strangers to each other when it comes to postseason play. They have squared off in three of the past four seasons, with the Stags winning a 1-0 decision in the 2012 semifinals and the Hawks prevailing, 3-0, in the 2013 quarterfinals and 5-1 in the 2014 semis. On Sept. 23, Cheverus lost, 4-0, at Marshwood.
If the Stags were able to spring an upset, they would either go to No. 3 Scarborough (12-2) or host No. 11 Biddeford (6-9) in the semifinals Friday. Cheverus lost, 4-0, at home to the Red Storm Sept. 15 and beat the host Tigers, 2-1, in overtime, in the regular season finale Oct. 7. The Stags are 1-2 all-time in the playoffs versus Scarborough and have never met Biddeford in the postseason.
The regional final is Tuesday of next week in Waterboro. The state finals are Saturday, Oct. 29 in Bath.
Deering finished 1-13 and 14th in Class A South (where 11 teams qualified for the playoffs) following a 2-1 home loss to Windham in the finale last Tuesday. Sreyley Sao had the goal. The Rams missed the postseason for the first time in three years.
Portland finished 2-12 and 15th in Class A South following a 2-1 loss at Sanford in the finale last Tuesday. Morgan Boyle had the goal for the Bulldogs, who missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
The Maine Girls’ Academy/Waynflete co-op team wound up 0-13-1 and 11th in Class B South, but only 10 teams made the playoffs. The Flying Lions closed with a 2-2 tie at Old Orchard Beach.