AUGUSTA — The Cony and Gardiner field hockey teams came together for a common cause Thursday night at Alumni Field in the 9th Annual Drive Out Cancer game.

Unlike many of the games in the past which were played as preseason exhibition games, this one was a countable regular-season game.

Host Cony won 2-0 on the scoreboard, but the real winner was the Alfond Center for Cancer Care which will get all the proceeds from the gate — more than 400 fans attended — raffles and donations. Since the series began, more than $73,000 has been raised and donated to the Alfond Center.

“I can’t even explain my feelings right now,” said Cony senior Olivia Varney, whose grandmother Anne Marie Varney was one of the honorees for the game. “This means the world to me, the cause, everything. I look forward to this game every year. Everything about today is awesome.”

Mark Stickney was the honoree for Gardiner and both were part of a pre-game ceremony that included or honored past cancer victims or survivors.

“Really the whole purpose of this was to raise some money,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said. “I’m hoping we get to send a hefty check over there again to Alfond.”


Because of a change in the schedule, the teams played a regular-season game despite competing in different classes. The Rams benefited from playing a tougher schedule in Class A North and controlled most of the action, out-shooting the Tigers 14-2 and scoring a goal in each half.

The loss was the first of the season for Gardiner which is 10-1-0 in Class B North. Cony is 5-6-1.

“I’ve never seen us play with that much intensity,” said Cony senior Cari Hopkins, who scored late in the second half. “We just literally left our hearts out on the field.”

The Rams scored both their goals off penalty corners. Alexis Couverette scored in the first half as Julia Reny put the ball in play to Sophie Whitney, who passed the ball to Couverette for a hard shot up the middle.

“I am thrilled with the way my girls played tonight,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “It was just an all-around amazing team effort tonight. And they didn’t let up for one minute. There was no MVP of this game. They just all played such a great team field hockey game.”

The football field on which the game was played had its share of bad bounces but was also very quick and made for a fast pace.


“It changed the game,” Daigle said. “It’s definitely different than playing on our field. I think the ball moved really well, and the girls adjusted to it really well. Big hit was definitely something that factored into the game tonight.”

The Tigers drew a strong game from goalie Avery Backus (12 saves), who kept her team in the game, particularly in the first half. The Tigers nearly tied it with 10 minutes left following a penalty corner in which Madelin Walker put the ball in play, got a return pass and whistled a reverse stick shot just wide of the cage.

“It was executed beautifully and went exactly where it was supposed to go,” Gallant said.

Hopkins scored an insurance goal with 3:19 left to play following a penalty corner and a pass from Danielle Brox.

“Honestly I just saw the ball near the cage,” Hopkins said. “I’ve never hit it that hard in my life. I knew that we had to get it in one more time.”

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