AUGUSTA — The Cony field hockey team was down only one at halftime on the scoreboard, but getting dominated elsewhere, and the Rams knew where they needed to point the finger.

“In the first half, Gardiner acted like they wanted it more,” junior forward Julia Reny said. “Every loose ball, they were just hustling to everything and we were kind of in slow motion. We had a talk at halftime and said what we need to do. We need to sprint to the ball, and we need to score.”

First the Rams said it, and then they put those words into action. Reny and Sierra Prebit scored second-half goals, leading Cony past Gardiner 2-1 in the 11th annual Drive Out Cancer game at Alumni Field.

Cony’s Sophie Whitney, left, tries to get around Cony defender Leah Pushard during a field hockey game Tuesday at Alumni Field in Augusta. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan Buy this Photo

“Yeah, it’s a regular-season game, it’s not a playoff game or anything, but … it’s the atmosphere,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said. “It’s a great atmosphere, and I could not be happier or more proud of my girls.”

Cony improved to 7-4. Gardiner, which got a goal from freshman Dewey Clary, fell to 8-4.

“Great game, always is when these two teams are together,” Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant said. “I thought we played really well, I thought our forwards ran really well today, a lot of good passing. We made a few mistakes and that always bites you.”

The Tigers went ahead 1-0 on Clary’s goal with 21:32 left in the half, and controlled possession and chances to the tune of an 8-1 advantage in corners by the break.

“At halftime, we just talked about the things we needed to do. There was no magic speech or anything,” Daigle said. “It was just, we’ve got to play our game. We’ve got to get our game back. And the seniors really stepped up.”

There was no magic speech, but there was a game-changing tweak. Daigle moved Reny from the middle of the field to the left, noticing that that was where the ball was often going, and Cony’s offense immediately found a spark. Reny nearly had the tying goal in the opening minutes when she carried the ball up toward the cage before being turned away by Gardiner goalie Kassidy Collins, but the Rams kept up the push, getting five corners within the first 18 minutes of the second period.

On the fifth, Cony converted. Faith Leathers-Pouliot had a shot that Collins saved, but the rebound went straight to Reny, who knocked it home for the tying goal with 12:30 to go.

“It definitely was a momentum-changer,” Reny said. “I was playing off the pads, the goalie hit it out, so I redirected it back in.”

The Rams didn’t wait long for the winner. Cony was crashing around the Gardiner net, the ball went over to Prebit, and the sophomore stuffed it into the cage with 10:10 to play.

“I was just there at the right moment,” Prebit said. “It felt really good. We all worked together, and it came through for us.”

Gardiner had a late flourish, getting two corners in the final 1:03, including one with no time on the clock, but couldn’t find the equalizer.

“I think we’re progressing every game,” Gallant said. “They’re all babies. … There’s not a lot of returning players, so I think they’re progressing along nicely. I think we’ll be just fine.”

One of those “babies,” freshman midfielder Clary, came through for the Tigers in the first half, getting enough of a Maggie Bell shot to redirect it into the cage for a 1-0 lead on Gardiner’s third corner of the game.

“She’s played every second so far of every game,” Gallant said. “She’s young, she’s very eager to learn, she’s constantly trying to improve all the time. … She’s a lovely, pleasant surprise as a freshman.”

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