GARDINER — Everything fell into place for the top-seeded Gardiner field hockey team during Tuesday’s Class B North quarterfinal tournament game against Camden Hills.

Senior Nickyia Lovely scored two goals to break the school career scoring record and she and her teammates played their most complete game of the season in downing the Windjammers 4-1.

The Tigers (13-2-0) advance to Saturday’s semifinal game where they’ll face the winner of Tuesday night’s game between Lawrence and Old Town. Eighth-seeded Camden Hills finishes 7-8-0.

Lovely was relieved to get the scoring record out of the way. She entered the game tied at 61 goals with former Miss Maine field hockey winner Hailey Chadbourne. With 14:11 left in the half, Lovely took a crossing pass from her younger sister Hailee and knocked it into the back of the cage. The game was halted briefly to recognize the achievement and a ceremonial crown was passed to Lovely from Chadbourne, who was on hand for the game.

“I went into the season knowing I needed 16 goals to break the record,” Nickyia said. “I also had to take in the fact that I needed to be a team player, too, and also score all my goals.”

Hailee Lovely scored a goal and assisted on both of her sister’s scores. She nearly did a full split as she stretched for the ball and passed it to her sister for her first goal.

“It was pretty cool,” the sophomore said. “My mom told me I should try to assist her. I like broke a hip trying to pass it to her but it was cool. I was happy getting it to her.”

The Tigers took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the game. With the school’s football team cheering their classmates on before its practice, the younger Lovely took a pass near midfield, dribbled through two defenders and flipped a high shot over the shoulder of goalie Jenna Stearns.

“I was just thinking do our 1 on 1’s that we practice every day and just get around them,” Hailee Lovely said “And then just hit it in.”

The Tigers, who had beaten the Windjammers just 1-0 11 days ago, appeared in complete control. That ended briefly with 11 minutes left in the half when senior Emily Daggett dodged two players along the Gardiner end line and flipped the ball into the far right corner of the goal. It was the first — and ultimately the only — shot on goal for the Windjammers during the game.

“A couple of things came together for us,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said. “We’ve been inconsistent. We’ll play one game offensively and one great game defensively, but we haven’t put it all together. I thought today they did a much better job all over the field.”

The Tigers continued their dominance in the second half. Midfielder Maddy Beaulieu made it 3-0 following a penalty corner with 22:22 left to play when she lifted a shot into the top left corner. Skye Lavoie drew the assist.

Nickyia Lovely capped the scoring four minutes later by finishing a pretty passing sequence between four players moving downfield. Again, her sister got the final touch before passing to her for her 17th goal of the season.

“She’s tenacious in the circle,” Gallant said of Nickyia Lovely. “She has no problem finding the ball. She’s just a ferocious competitor. And she is a house.”

The Tigers scored on both their shots on goal in the second half, finishing with eight for the game. They also held a 10-6 advantage in penalty corners. The Windjammers got all six of their corners in the second half but couldn’t penetrate the Gardiner defense for a shot.

“It was awesome,” Nickyia Lovely said of the team’s performance. “I gave the team a speech before the game and I said we need to get all the lines together today because today’s the big day. If we lose we’re out.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.