GARDINER — Having senior Ally Day in goal Tuesday helped the Gardiner girls soccer team keep a few balls out of the net. But the Tigers were no match for Morse.
The Shipbuilders controlled the action from start to finish in a 4-0 win that kept them unbeaten in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B play. Miracle Tribble scored twice for Morse (4-0-0) which will face its toughest game of the season Thursday when it hosts unbeaten Waterville.
Gardiner (1-4-0) played its third game in four days Tuesday, a day after defeating Oceanside 1-0 with Day in goal. She was Gardiner’s leading scorer last season, but has played goalkeeper in prior years.
“I needed to spark something and our bench was a little short,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said of his decision to put Day in goal. “People have been keying on her up top so if (we) don’t let any goals in that helps out the team.”
Day (14 saves) had little chance to stop either of Morse’s first goals. She slipped as she fielded a routine shot three minutes into the game and the ball bounced directly to Ruth Nadeau who chipped it in. Later in the half, the Shipbuilders were awarded a penalty shot and Tribble drilled it into the lower right corner.
“If I think about it too much it stresses me out,” said Tribble, a junior who scored 33 goals last season. “I either pick right or left and I just go there.”
The Tigers held their own at midfield behind juniors Emma Hickey and Morgan Carter and freshman Lauren Chadwick, but they couldn’t generate any offense. They didn’t register a shot on goal in the first half and finished with just two for the game, both routine saves for Morse keeper Alesha Aucoin.
“I feel like we’ve come a long way,” Kirk said. “We’re getting better and that’s the key with the program. And I finally got into the middle school so that’s going to help the program, so we’re going in the right direction.”
Day kept the Tigers close with a couple of excellent saves against Tribble, but the Shipbuilders eventually broke through. Day gambled on a long deep cross from Nichole Laggan to Amanda Gagne and lost the race to the ball as Gagne scored. Tribble made it 4-0 in the final minute when she headed in a shot from Lauren Pelletier.
The Shipbuilders were eliminated by state champion Falmouth the past two years in the postseason, but hope to go further this year, particularly since Falmouth has jumped to Class A.
“I’d describe (us) as a bunch of hard workers,” Morse coach Steve Boyce said. “We have a couple of players who play premiere, but the majority of them don’t. They’ve absorbed an awful lot in a short period of time. Each game is fun to watch, the transition from kick and run to play development.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638