FAIRFIELD — The extra time spent in practice working in the scoring circle paid off for the Gardiner field hockey team in a big way Saturday.

The Tigers scored on four of their 11 shots in defeating Lawrence 4-0 to remain unbeaten in Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference play.

The win moves Gardiner (9-0) atop the Class B North tournament standings with five games remaining, including a game against Winslow on Tuesday night at Thomas College and an Oct. 6 showdown at home against unbeaten Belfast. Lawrence fell to 6-3.

The Tigers got a first half goal from Skye Lavoie while Jillian Bisson sandwiched second-half scores around a goal from Hailee Lovely.

“That’s been our focus this past week,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said of finishing in the circle. “I felt that was certainly an area of weakness for us. We’ve tried to make that a priority.”

The Bulldogs had plenty of chances of their own. They out-shot the Tigers 15-11 and held an 18-5 advantage in penalty corners. First-year starting goalie Avery Backus finished with 11 saves and stymied several of the Bulldogs’ penalty corner opportunities in mid-play by coming far out of her cage.

“I want her to play aggressive,” Gallant said of Backus. “I don’t want her to be laid back. I want her on toes all the time and that she’s going to command the circle.”

The Tigers took charge of the early part of the game and scored on their fourth penalty corner when Lavoie converted Amanda Cameron’s pass right in front of goalie Marian Zawistowski (seven saves). It was her fifth goal of the season.

“We practice it all the time,” Lavoie said. “We’ve got it down to a science. We know who’s got what and who’s good at what they’re good at.”

Gardiner went up 2-0 just 34 seconds into the second half when Bisson tapped in Lovely’s long right-to-left crossing pass. Six minutes later, Lovely scored her ninth goal of the season on a hard shot from 10 yards that found the far left corner of the cage.

“We’ve worked so hard and so together and we’re doing so good,” Lovely said. “We’re just trying to prove them wrong.”

The Tigers made it 4-0 with just under 20 minutes left to play when freshman Haley Brann crossed a pass to a wide open Bisson stationed to the left of Zawistowski. Gardiner drew typically strong play seniors Lavoie, Kalee Michaud and Sarah Morgan, particularly in stopping penalty corners. But many of the team’s younger players, notably, Brann, Cameron, Aimee Adams and Maddy Walker, also stood out.

“We knew Gardiner was going to be probably the toughest team we’ve played so far,” Lawrence coach Shawna Robinson said. “They’re record says so. We’re 6-3, it’s not the end of the world for us. We live to see another day and play another day.”


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