Cheverus strikes twice in second half to beat TA

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Cheverus sophomore Lucia Pompeo (2) is congratulated by senior Haylee Hinkle following one of her two goals during the Stags’ 2-0 home win over Thornton Academy Wednesday.

Joe Carpine / 365digitalphotography.com photos.

More photos below.

PORTLAND—The first half of the 2018 season has been one of fits and starts for Cheverus’ field hockey team, but after some frustrating results, the Stags appear to be hitting their stride at the optimal time.

Cheverus hosted Thornton Academy Wednesday afternoon at Shea Field and for the first time all year, was able to string consecutive wins together, thanks in large part to the play of injured, but indomitable sophomore Lucia Pompeo.

After a scoreless first half, Pompeo, playing at a self-described 70 percent due to a torn labrum in her right hip, scored off a penalty corner with 25:25 remaining in regulation and with 10:31 to go, Pompeo rattled the cage again.

The Stags’ defense and junior goalie Hannah Woodford did the rest and Cheverus prevailed, 2-0.

The Stags improved to 4-3 at the midway point, dropped the Golden Trojans to 5-3 and in the process, leapfrogged them in the standings.

“I think we dominated, but it wasn’t our best game,” said Cheverus coach Sally Cloutier. “But it doesn’t matter. A win is a win. It’s coming together. We have great chemistry and the kids are having fun. They’re working hard.” 

Consistency

Cheverus started with a 1-0 home win over Kennebunk, then lost, 4-3, at Massabesic and dropped a 2-1 “home” decision against Biddeford in a game played at Fitzpatrick Stadium. After rallying for a 4-3 win at South Portland, the Stags lost, 2-1, in double-overtime to Gorham at Fitzpatrick Stadium before holding off host Falmouth, 3-2, Monday night.

Thornton Academy started with shutout wins over visiting Portland (2-0) and host Marshwood (2-0), then lost at home to Scarborough (1-0). After a 3-1 win at Deering and a 6-0 home blanking of Noble, the Golden Trojans were beaten by visiting Bonny Eagle, 3-0. Monday, Thornton Academy edged visiting Windham, 3-2.

Last year, in Saco, Cheverus prevailed, 3-1.

Wednesday, on a fall-like 64-degree, windy afternoon, the Stags secured their second straight win in the series.

The Golden Trojans had the first good look at a goal, as in the fifth minute, senior Cat Henaire fired a shot off a penalty corner, but it was deflected wide of the mark.

Cheverus then controlled the rest of the half.

First, senior Sophia Pompeo sent a cross through the circle that went untouched.

After sophomore Madisyn Durgin took a pass from Sophia Pompeo and shot just wide, senior Bella Booth was robbed on the doorstep by Thornton Academy sophomore goalie Madison Vachon.

Late in the half, Sophia Pompeo had a shot off a penalty corner deflected wide, Booth set up senior Haylee Hinkle for a shot that Vachon saved and sophomore Paige DeGeorge shot just wide off a corner.

The Stags had seven first half penalty corners, but couldn’t take the lead.

The second half began with more frustration, as Vachon robbed Hinkle on the doorstep, then Hinkle missed just wide.

Finally, with 25:25 to play in regulation, Cheverus broke through off its ninth corner.

Booth sent the ball in to Lucia Pompeo, who settled the ball and fired it past Vachon just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead.

“We were a little frustrated in the first half,” Lucia Pompeo said. “We had all the momentum going our way but we couldn’t finish. We picked it up in the second half and finished. (That goal) was kind of a fluke. It wasn’t supposed to go to me, but I took the shot and it went in.

“It’s easy playing with a team that has my back all the time. (My hip’s) a lot better than it was at the start (of the season), thanks to (athletic trainer) Katie (McCarthy), but it’s still a little irritated when I run.”

After Vachon came out to rob Hinkle on the doorstep before the two collided, the Golden Trojans nearly broke even, but with 16:32 left, junior Lily Stark missed just wide.

With 10:31 to play, after a Cheverus timeout, the hosts doubled their lead.

After a failed clear, Sophia Pompeo got the ball to Lucia Pompeo and the younger Pompeo again beat Vachon for a 2-0 advantage.

“My sister just put it in some space and I was like, ‘That ball is all mine’ and I pounced on it,” Lucia Pompeo said.

 “Lucia is gutting it out,” Cloutier said. “She’s the type of player that it’s hard not to have in the game. When she gets the ball in the circle, she’s dangerous. She’s an athlete and a competitor. We’ll keep her in there. I’m glad she was there today.”

Thornton Academy didn’t quit, as junior Olivia Lambert twice had good looks, but Woodford made saves on each and she also stopped a rebound by senior Victoria Labbe, which allowed Cheverus to close out its 2-0 victory.

The Stags had a 6-3 edge in shots on frame and a 10-3 advantage in corners. Woodford stopped all three of the shots she faced.

“Our goalie Hannah is really making an impact and we have a freshman, Norah (Slattery), who is stepping up for us too,” Lucia Pompeo said.

“We have a young defense and we’ve made a bunch of adjustments and I’m happy with how we look,” Cloutier said. “My goalie has come a long way. She’s aggressive and it’s working.”

Thornton Academy got four saves from Vachon.

“We’re having an issue with not hustling the entire game,” said Golden Trojans coach Lori Smith. “We had 10 defensive corners. We’ve had no more than three the entire season, so that was different and tired us out. I thought it was a winnable game, but it was a frustrating day. We love our turf. We’re almost done with grass games. Things tend to go better for us on turf.”

Second half

Thornton Academy is back home Saturday to battle Kennebunk. A pair of tests loom next week, as the Golden Trojans go to Massabesic and host rival Biddeford.

“The tougher part of our schedule is to come,” Smith said. “We have some opportunities to make some lasting memories.”

Cheverus will travel to Sanford Friday. Next week, the Stags welcome Portland Tuesday, then have a key test at Westbrook Thursday.

“We had a couple early losses, but now we’re going up-hill,” said Lucia Pompeo. “We have to keep the momentum going our way. We know we have it, we just have to capitalize on it.”

“I’m feeling great,” Cloutier said. “We’re right where we need to be.”

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at mhoffer@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

Cheverus senior Haylee Hinkle collides with Thornton Academy sophomore Madison Vachon after Vachon makes a save.

Cheverus senior Sophia Pompeo sends the ball up the field.

Cheverus sophomore Lucy Pirone has the ball knocked away by a Thornton Academy defender.

Cheverus senior Bella Booth tries to get past a pair of Thornton Academy defenders.

Cheverus sophomore Lucia Pompeo races past Thornton Academy senior Abby Pomerleau.

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Sports Editor of The Forecaster since 2001. Find detailed game stories at theforecaster.net. I tweet prodigiously at @foresports.