WINSLOW — Sharon Gallant’s postgame meeting with her Gardiner Area High School field hockey team was brief. When there’s nothing with which to even quibble, why bother?

Gardiner controlled play throughout Thursday afternoon’s game at Winslow, earning a decisive 3-0 win in a game between two of the top contenders in Class B North. Gardiner improved to 11-1, while Winslow is now 9-2.

“We’ve had some parts where we’ve played a good first (half) but not a good second, or a good second but not a good first. This is the first time I feel like they’ve really come on, and against such a great team. It feels good when you can come out and play well against a team that’s as good as Winslow,” Gallant said.

The win also was a personal milestone for the Gardiner coach.

“This is the first time I’ve ever won here. I haven’t beaten Winslow a lot,” Gallant said.

The Tigers took the lead for good early, on Sarah Faust’s goal with 20:30 left in the first half. Faust took a pass from Jazmin Clary near the left post and shot to the right corner of the cage.

Gardiner made it 2-0 with 2:40 left in the first half, when Maggie Bell took a long shot and found the left corner of the goal.

“I really wasn’t thinking. I just took the ball and shot it in the circle, because we’ve been on working on when we get in the circle, just shoot and not fiddle with it,” Bell said.

Faust scored again, this time barely a minute into the second half, to give Gardiner a three-goal cushion. While the Black Raiders finally mounted some consistent offensive pressure over the final 10 minutes, they were unable to find the net.

“They’re so well-coached,” Winslow coach Mary Beth Bourgoin said of Gardiner. “They are incredibly quick defensively to the ball. We talked about that in practice, but I’m not sure that my girls were ready for how quick two on the ball happens.”

Gallant said a defensive key for her team was intercepting Winslow’s long passes. With those not connecting, the Black Raiders struggled to find a flow to their transition game. Gallant noted the work Piper Lavoie did defending Winslow’s Silver Clukey.

“We stepped into a number of their big passes there and really cut down on the opportunity for their long ball to come down here. Piper Lavoie was all over (Clukey) today, so she didn’t touch that ball that much,” Gallant said.

Added Bourgoin: “Our passing game is what we rely on, but it’s a lot of long passes. I had to make the adjustment to say, OK, my forwards can’t be up so high. You’ve got to come up and help.”

Gardiner began the day in fourth place in the Class B North Heal point standings, one spot behind Winslow. Thursday’s win should jump the Tigers over the Black Raiders, and possibly over second place Foxcroft Academy. The Tigers close the regular season Tuesday at home against Belfast, the current No. 1 in the region. Winslow must now prepare for a Saturday game against Maine Central Institute, another contender.

“Where can we go from here? They have big aspirations, but like I told them, they have a lot that they have to do,” Bourgoin said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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