GARDINER — The final scoresheet will read that the Messalonskee field hockey team beat Gardiner 5-2 on Friday afternoon at Hoch Field, the opener to a regular season that, thanks to COVID-19, won’t have a playoff or state championship.

But for coaches and players, to actually be able to hit the field at all was a win, for everyone.

For Katie McCabe, Messalonskee’s new coach, it was her first opportunity to see her team in game action, and gauge who can do what in certain game situations.

“It’s really great for these players,” McCabe said. “We worked really hard all summer. This is my first year, so I just got to know them and I’m so excited, they’re really great kids. They work hard, they’re coachable and I’m so happy they’re able to play today.”

For Gardiner coach Sharon Gallant, it was a chance to have Senior Day (decided for the home opener in case of a canceled season down the road) and to actually celebrate seven players she has watched grow in the area program for years.

“I love this group of seven, I’ve had them since they were in third and fourth grade travel team,” said an emotional Gallant. “I love this group of kids.”

Messalonskee (1-0) showed little signs of rust, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter thanks to goals by Abby Breznyak and Morgan Genness. Both would add another goal in the fourth quarter to lock up the win. Journey Charles also added a goal for the Eagles.

“I think (this season) just gives us more time to work on our skills and get better, just relax and have fun,” Breznyak said. “That’s the most important thing.”

Gardiner (0-1) showed fight throughout the contest, slugging back at Messalonskee with goals from Piper Lavoie and Willow Lavoie.

Messalonskee’s Jenna Cassani, center, celebrates after a first quarter goal against Gardiner in the season opener Friday in Gardiner. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“We haven’t touched a ball since October,” Gallant said. “I think in the fourth quarter, we got a little tired and then our defense got a little lazy… I’m not horribly disappointed. In (a normal) regular season, they’re Class A, we’re Class B.”

Off the field, things looked different. Approximately 30 Gardiner fans sat in the stands. Trucks lined the street outside the gate at Hoch Field, trying to catch a glimpse of some action. Fans, coaches and players not on the field were all wearing masks.

Messalonskee walked off the field Friday happy with the victory, while Class B Gardiner walked off the field knowing it could hang with the Class A Eagles.

Both teams walked off the field Friday happy to have —if nothing else — one day close to normalcy.

 

Dave Dyer – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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