AUBURN – There’s one sure sign of how swimmingly life has unfolded for the St. Dominic Regional High School girls’ soccer team this season. The only disappointments that have demanded vengeance are ties.

The Saints repaid Jay/Livermore Falls for one of those early-season deadlocks Thursday, dominating the first half and hanging on for a 2-1 Mountain Valley Conference victory.

Ali Desjardin and Sophie Goulet each scored a first-half goal for St. Dom’s (9-0-2), both courtesy of Alex Landry assists. All but a few seconds of the opening chapter were played in Jay/Livermore Falls’ defensive zone, with the Saints etching a staggering 23-1 shots on goal advantage prior to intermission.

“Getting off to a fast start like that picks up our tempo and helps us play a lot better,” said St. Dom’s senior midfielder Maggie Gamble. “It really amped us up.”

And it was a far cry from last month’s meeting under the lights in Jay, when the Wildcats chalked up an early goal and nursed it until the final horn. St. Dom’s couldn’t connect until Goulet’s goal in the closing minutes of regulation to preserve a 1-1 tie.

The rematch was a role reversal. St. Dom’s flourished early before alertly going into a stall in the corners at its offensive end to run out the final five minutes.

Lexi Deering’s goal with 19:35 remaining gave the Wildcats (6-3-2) life. It took the collective efforts of Gamble, Dayle Jordan, Becky Trytek, Emily Rioux and Laura St. Pierre to stymie Deering and her late pursuit of the equalizer.

“We controlled the whole second half,” said Jay/Livermore Falls coach Travis Magnusson. “If we had another 10 to 15 minutes, who knows what might have happened?”

Three Jay/Livermore Falls players missed the game due to illness, and goalkeeper Katie Beaulieu was sidelined due to a wrist injury. That forced Magnusson to alternate two of his best field players, Deering and Beth Moore, in the cage.

St. Dom’s quickly took advantage of the Wildcats’ unfamiliar arrangement, scoring in the 13th minute. Desjardin followed Landry’s shot, which clanged off the right post after a nifty centering pass from the near corner.

The Saints didn’t show any ill effects from a lengthy delay while Desjardin was treated for an apparent knee injury after a collision with Deering. Goulet cashed in from close range with 8:17 remaining in the half, redirecting Landry’s lofting corner kick from just inside the left corner.

“It’s tough to play a team twice,” Goulet said of the Saints’ first-half dominance and the Wildcats’ subsequent counterpunch. “You know what they can do. They know what you can do.”

Jay/Livermore Falls came to life after Deering (13 saves) reclaimed her role as a striker and Moore (six stops) retreated to the cage.

Deering split two St. Dom’s defenders before chipping the ball past a charging Elise Applegate to cut the lead in half.

“That woke us up,” Landry said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be handed to us.”

The Wildcats, ranked No. 6 in Western Class B, need one win in their final three games to lock up one of eight regional playoff berths.

“I’m as proud of the team as I’ve been all year. If they play the way they played in the second half,” Magnusson said, “they can beat anybody.”

St. Dom’s was tight-lipped about its likely berth in the upcoming MVC championship game. The Saints are more focused on next Wednesday, when they’ll have a chance to untangle their other previous tie against Mountain Valley.

“That’s what we wanted to do today: Get it back,” said St. Dom’s coach Kathy Little.

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