GARDINER — Playing two games in 24 hours took its toll on the Gardiner boys soccer team, but it dug deep in the second half Friday to pull out a much-needed victory over Erskine.

Trailing by a goal, the Tigers scored off a pair of corner kicks in the final 22 minutes to pull out a 3-2 victory. Gardiner improved to 3-2-1 in Class B North play while Erskine fell to 2-3-1.

Senior midfielder Cam Babcock tied the game at 2 when his corner kick from the left side bent into the far top right corner of the net. The Tigers took the lead with 10:47 left when sophomore Isaac Gammon headed in Casey Bourque’s well-placed corner kick from the right side.

“It was really important,” Bourque said of the victory. “We were coming off a game (a 1-0 loss to Lincoln Academy on Thursday) so we all had tired legs. We all felt like we should have won that, so I think we really needed this to get our heads back in the season.”

Gardiner fell to Lincoln on a penalty kick and must have had a sinking feeling when Erskine took a 1-0 lead on another one.

Senior Sage Hapgood-Belanger drew the call when he was tripped. His shot broke off Tigers’ keeper Timmy Doyle (five saves) but the lead held for just two minutes. That’s when Jackson Tweedy’s shot from 10 feet deflected off a defender and into the goal with 15:07 left.


The 1-1 score reflected the closeness of a first half in which the Tigers registered five shots on goal and the Eagles three. Doyle made a nice stop on a point blank shot from freshman Liam Perfetto while Erskine’s David McGraw (eight saves) tipped Bourque’s direct kick from 25 yards just over the crossbar.

“I thought we had some nice opportunities and couldn’t finish,” Erskine coach Carrie Larrabee said. “I thought this was a very evenly matched game, we just couldn’t capitalize on opportunities.”

The Eagles took a 2-1 lead early in the second half when Doyle was caught out of position following a corner kick and Travis Dow knocked in a loose ball that got away from the defense.

While the Tigers return 15 seniors and juniors from a year ago, the Eagles are younger and rebuilding after a successful run in the playoffs a year ago. They are also missing one of their top players in Seth Reed, who is out with a broken leg.

“They’re a lot less skilled this year than they have been,” Bourque said. “But they’re still a really physical and tough team. They’ll win most of the 50/50 balls.”

Babcock, who played a strong all-around game at center mid, tied the score when he bent his corner kick into the far upper corner of the goal.


“I was practicing before the game and they weren’t really working out for me,” he said. “I guess I just really got a lucky break with that one.”

The Tigers outshot the Eagles 7-3 in the second half and got the go-ahead goal when Bourque’s corner kick found the top of Gammon’s head.

“We draw that up between the 12 and the six toward the back-post area and just try to get a head on it,” Bourque said.

“We played an emotional game (Thursday),” Gardiner coach Nic Wallace added. “I was impressed with the work ethic of our guys (Friday) how we dug down and when we needed it, we went and got it.”

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