GARDINER — With last year’s victory at Alumni Field, Cony had a field hockey winning streak in the Cony-Gardiner Drive Out Cancer Challenge. Gardiner coach Moe McNally didn’t play this up in the days leading up to the game, but then again, she didn’t have to.

“We haven’t spent a lot of time talking about it,” McNally said, “but they certainly have mentioned it. This is their field, they want to win at home, they lost last year. Sure, they talked about it a little bit.”

While both teams are young, Gardiner has more experience, and that showed on Tuesday night at Hoch Field. Gardiner controlled most of the game and scored twice in the second half for a 2-0 victory. Proceeds will go to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta.

The Dan Paradee Most Valuable Player of the Game awards went to Gardiner’s Brooke Davis and Cony goalie Kevie Rodrigue, who made 22 saves.

“People were like, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ ” Davis said of the game. “It’s for cancer, and raising money is fun for it. I just really wanted to win.”

Davis scored Gardiner’s first goal, with 23:18 left in the second half. Rodrigue kept Cony in the game, making 17 saves in the first half. Sophomore back Rebecca Coniff also played well for the Rams.

Cony coach Holly Daigle moved forward Arika Brochu to midfield midway through the game to help tilt the field. The Tigers outshot Cony 20-0 in the first half and 10-2 after the break. Gardiner also had a 17-2 edge in penalty corners.

The Rams countered Gardiner’s offensive dominance in the first half by devoting all of their resources to defense. At times, Cony had all 11 players inside the Rams’ 15-yard line. It helped that one of those 11 was Rodrigue, as the senior made an assortment of diving saves and quick-reaction stops.

“It’s a little scary being that busy,” Rodrigue said. “But you can’t stop. You’ve got to keep going. I’m actually very surprised, and happy surprised. We’ve got a lot of potential, and we have a lot of room to grow, and we can definitely pick it up.”

McNally wanted Gardiner to take more of a post-to-post approach on offense in the second half, and that’s what the Tigers did for their first goal. Madeline Reny sent a beautiful pass from outside the circle on the right side to the left post, where Davis knocked it in.

“I just saw the ball coming across, and the (defender), it just popped over her stick,” Davis said. “I was like, ‘I have to have this. This needs to go in right now.’ “

The Rams got their first shot with about 15 minutes left in the game, but Gardiner’s defense, led by Camden Cone, stuffed any opportunities. With 3:03 left, Ellen Kelley scored on a turnaround shot for the final goal.

Daigle said the game highlighted some areas where Cony needs more work. Daigle’s grandfather, John Cameron, was Cony’s honorary captain for the game, and Daigle helped escort him onto the field before the game.

“Having my grandfather as honorary captain is just … it was really special,” Daigle said. “A lot of my family came out tonight, and of course, we all would have liked to walk away with a win. The girls, I think really realize, it’s more than just about getting the win. It was just a really special night.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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