GARDINER — The word unlucky is a common soccer term, generally referring to the fact the ball didn’t bounce a player’s or team’s way.

Certainly the Gardiner girls soccer team has been a little unlucky this season, losing a succession of close games despite fielding a talented roster.

Friday the Tigers got the right bounces and played to their capability in downing Maranacook 2-1 in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B game.

Julia Nadeau scored for the Tigers (2-5) in the first half while Logan Granholm was credited with the game-winner in the second half after her corner kick bounced off a Maranacook defender into the goal. Ally Phair scored for the Black Bears.

“Our biggest issue has been putting balls in the net,” Nadeau said. “We’re good defensively we just have to score goals. You have to score to win.”

Maranacook (2-3-2) beat the Tigers 3-0 in the season opener, but knew it was in for a battle in the rematch.

“When we came into the first game I thought they were one of the better teams we’ll play,” first-year Maranacook coach Travis Magnusson said. “We played really well and they’re had some hard-luck losses.”

Nadeau put the Tigers on the board just over five minutes into the game when she converted a shot during a scramble in front of Maranacook goalie Skyeler Webb (seven saves).

“I was I the right place at the right time,” Nadeau said. “A lot of people were in the way, I didn’t expect it to in.”

It was the first career goal for Nadeau, a senior who was moved from defense to a wing by Gardiner coach Chad Kirk during the second half of the team’s last game.

“I’ve never played on a wing,” Nadeau said. “I’ve never even been inside the 18 (yard line).”

The Black Bears converted on their only shot on goal of the first half 12 minutes later after Phair took a nice cross from Abby Depres and cleanly beat Gardiner keeper Tabytha Hembree (five saves) to the left corner.

The Tigers got strong play from cousins Lauren and Anna Chadwick at midfield along with Granholm and control most of the game during the second half.

“We played really well today,” Kirk said. “We finally got a couple of goals. As long as they come out with energy they’re fine. They’ve just got to be hungry inside the 18.”

The Tigers took the lead with just under 24 minutes left to play when Granholm curled her left-footed corner kick into the goalie crease and it bounced off a Maranacook defender into the goal.

“We’re in every game,” Kirk said. “After every game I really don’t have anything bad to say. Good jib, but we can;t finish.”

The Tigers nursed their one-goal lead over the final minutes and nearly paid when Lauren Clough’s direct kick from 25 yards bounced off the crossbar.

“They only won three games last year,” Magnusson said. “We’re building but we’re getting there. This is one we would have liked to have but we’ve just got to recover.”


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