READFIELD — Given its schedule, the Maranacook girls soccer team could finish at .500 and assure itself of a reasonably high tournament berth.
That’s because the Black Bears maintained their Class B schedule this season despite dropping to Class C. And they’re right at .500 (3-3-2) following Saturday’s 2-0 homecoming win against Gardiner.
Maranacook dominated the first few minutes of the game and got on the board 1 minute, 28 seconds into the game when Lillie McLaughlin’s hard shot from 10 yards bounced off Gardiner keeper Ally Day and just over the goal line before Day recovered.
“Today we played very well, we played as a team, we had some nice passes,” said sophomore Lindsey Perkins, who assisted McLaughlin’s goal. “The beginning of the season was a rough start, but we got much better.”
Junior Sage Hyland scored Maranacook’s second goal with just over 15 minutes left in the first half when her high floating shot from 25 yards sailed over Day into the net.
“Today was a good day,” Maranacook coach Mike Morin said. “Overall I think we’re doing well. We’ve faced a lot of the tougher teams.”
Day finished with eight saves, the best a diving stop of Catherine Sanborn’s shot when the score was 1-0. After a sluggish first half, Gardiner (2-6-0) picked up the pace in the second half and created some scoring chances.
“We just got back to basics,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said. “We didn’t show up in the first 10 minutes and it took us the whole game to respond.”
The Tigers held a 4-3 advantage in shots on goal in the second half and went much harder to 50/50 balls than they had in the first. Freshman Lauren Chadwick had the team’s best scoring chance on a partial breakaway nine minutes into the half, but Elizabeth D’Angelo (five saves) came way out of her goal to smother the attempt.
Gardiner sophomore Marissa Quirion generated some offense for the Tigers in the second half, but with a thin bench, they eventually wore down. Morin substituted freely, often four players at a time, as the Black Bears stayed fresh.
The Tigers remain in the tournament picture in Eastern B thanks to their win over once-beaten Oceanside.
“Looking toward the future we’ve just got to keep positive,” Kirk said. “It’s Waterville and Hermon, then everybody else is a one-goal game on our side.”
Gary Hawkins — 621-5638