GARDINER — It took Erskine Academy a little while to get in gear for Friday’s Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B girls soccer match with Gardiner. Once the Eagles reached top speed, though, even a team as stingy as the Tigers have been so far this season couldn’t slow them down.

Peyton Houghton had a goal and Emma McCormac had a goal and an assist as Erskine scored three times in the second half to defeat Gardiner, 4-2.

Faith Krause and Celina Nadeua also scored for the Eagles (2-0-1). Lauren Chadwick and Anna Chadwick each scored for the Tigers (2-1-0), who hadn’t allowed a goal in wins over Maranacook and Spruce Mountain.

“In the first half, for some reason we just came out sluggish,” Erskine coach Ryan Nored said. “That was our talk at halftime — pick up the pace, attacking more, be more physical. We started winning 50/50 balls and balls in the air. That makes a big difference.”

“We definitely pulled together as a team,” Nadeau said. “I’ll give credit to (senior) Michaela Sprague for pumping us up. She usually does a really good job of just getting us going and picking up the mood, even when we’re down.”

Sprague set up Nadeau on what proved to be the winning goal with 18:13 remaining, passing to her on the right wing. Nadeau’s kick from about 18 yards nicked the inside of the post and settled in for a 3-2 lead.

“It was a right place at the right time kind of thing,” Nadeau said. “I’ve been practicing that area for a shot and I think I just got lucky.”

“We were using our wings. That transition is our strength,” Nored said.

McCormac added the insurance goal assisted by Houghton with 9:45, but it was her passing in transition that was key to pressuring Gardiner freshman goalie Tabytha Hembree (nine saves), who wasn’t afraid to step out of the net and challenge Erskine’s forwards in transition.

“She found some nice through balls. Had their goalie not been that aggressive, we’d have had a lot more goals on those,” Nored said.

“They’re a more seasoned team. We’re young,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said. “We have three seniors. In the end, I don’t take anything because we’re a work in progress.”

Gardiner controlled much of the first half with good ball movement and struck first on Anna Chadwick’s goal a little over 10 minutes into the game.

Haughton responded for the Eagles with their first transition goal off an assist from Jordan Jowett with 11:10 left in the first half.

“I didn’t really think it was going to go in,” Houghton said. “(Jowett) did a through ball and I was right there.”

Lauren Chadwick put the Tigers back in front with 7:35 left in the half, heading the ball in with her back turned to the goal.

Krause got Erskine even again 1:53 into the second half, taking advantage of a wide-open net after Hembree charged out of the net to try to stop McCormac in transition.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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