AUGUSTA — The first half wasn’t perfect, which meant that, for Holly Daigle and her Cony High School field hockey team, it wasn’t good enough.

The second half, however, was more like it.

Freshman Julia Reny scored twice in her varsity debut and the Rams throttled any semblance of an Edward Little attack in the second half, leading the way in a season-opening 4-1 victory over the Red Eddies on Thursday afternoon.

“The difference from the first 30 minutes, the first half to the second half was like night and day,” Daigle said. “We kind of came out flat, (it’s the) first game, we haven’t played a full game yet this preseason. I think it took us a while to kind of get into the swing of things, but in the second half, I was really, really happy with the girls’ intensity.”

It wasn’t as if Cony’s first half of the season was a dud. The Rams struck first on a goal by Reny, and then took the lead 27 seconds before the break on a score from Kami Lambert. But the second half was a demonstration of dominance. Cony didn’t allow a shot on goal — Edward Little didn’t get another after tying the game with 12:47 left in the first half — and the Rams entrenched themselves in the Eddies’ end, piling up nine corners and rattling goalie Abby Weber-Merrill (19 saves) with shot after shot.

“We had a lot of shots on cage. We talked about shot quality, and we peppered the goalie’s pads,” Daigle said. “I think reality sort of set in that if we didn’t step it up, then this team could really take advantage of that.”

The pressure eventually translated to the scoreboard. Reny gathered the ball on the left side and fired a shot in with 12:04 to go, putting Cony up 3-1.

“I think it’s really awesome,” Reny said of her two-goal debut. “It’s not just one person, it’s a team effort, and everyone was putting in their all.”

Her play didn’t suggest it, but Reny said she was uneasy going into her first varsity test.

“I was definitely a little nervous in the beginning,” she said. “But once you start out there, it gets so exciting. It’s one of my favorite sports, so I’m glad to play on such a good team.”

Her first goal put Cony on the board with 18:11 left in the first half. She worked the ball into an opening near the Edward Little net, then beat Weber-Merrill with a shot for the quick lead.

“I just kept dribbling, kept dribbling,” she said. “Happened to get it in.”

“She did a great job,” Daigle said. “We put her in some different positions on the field, and she adjusted really well.”

The Eddies drew even on what ended up being their last push of the game. Edward Little bore in on the Cony net, and after an Anna LeBlanc shot was knocked away, Oceanna Chamberlain was on hand to knock the ball past sprawling Cony goalie Jessica Lee. Any momentum gained by the goal didn’t last; Cony earned four corners in the remaining minutes, and just before the buzzer, Lambert drilled home a pass from Anna Reny that skipped through the shooting circle from the left side.

“We weren’t being ourselves then,” Lambert said. “And so I felt like we needed to pick it up. So to get that fire from yourself and spread it to your team, that’s the best thing you can do.”

Cony rounded out the scoring on its final corner of the game. Faith Leathers-Pouliot sent in a pass from the right, and Allee Cloutier was open and ready to redirect it in with 35 seconds left.

“That was a great first win for us,” said Daigle, who credited her defense for its rotations and communication. “I think that (with) everybody on the field, everybody on the bench, the intensity level picked up. It just was contagious. That was exciting.”

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

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.