Cony’s Anna Reny, left, tries to stop Messalonskee’s Frankie Caccamo on Friday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

OAKLAND — The Cony field hockey team was looking forward to its game Friday night with Messalonskee, and not just because of all the battles the Rams have had with their Class A North rivals.

“The girls were really excited about playing on turf,” Cony coach Holly Daigle said.

The Rams then showed what they could do on it, getting two goals and an assist from Julia Reny and another from Taryn Crummett in a 3-2 victory over the Eagles. It took an adjustment period; Cony fell behind 1-0 early, but then began to reap the benefits that come with playing on a smooth, consistent field.

Cony’s Mallory Audette, left, and Messalonskee’s Shea Cassini go after a ball on Friday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“The first quarter we came out pretty flat, but the three after that I think we did really well,” Reny said. “It 100 percent is better in my opinion. I think it’s easier to do certain moves and get quicker passes off.”

That showed for both sides as five goals were scored in a fast-paced and back-and-forth game, four coming on corners. It makes sense. On turf, the ball moves quicker. It doesn’t take strange hops. It’s easier to complete a pass, and it’s easier to drill a shot. On grass, a mis-hit creates a divot. On turf, it can still result in a strike on goal.

Few players benefitted more from those conditions than Reny. She scored both of her goals on hard shots from the back of the circle (one with 12:41 left in the second quarter that made it 1-1, another with 9:10 left in the third to make it 2-1), she set up Crummett with a pass for the third goal with 2:18 left in the third, and she time and again accelerated Cony’s attack with hard passes up the field — passes that might not have made it through the middle of a grassy field.

“She was really excited to play tonight and on this surface,” Daigle said. “Her game is well suited for a turf surface.”

“We knew this would be a different game,” Reny said. “We’d been practicing quick passes, and knowing when to get rid of the ball. That’s what we did. We had a lot of opportunities.”

Messalonskee celebrates a goal by Morgan Genness on a corner right as the first period ends against Cony on Friday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Her twin sister, Anna, flourished on turf as well. As one of Cony’s top playmakers and the player inserting on corners, she too benefitted from being able to send passes right to teammates or areas of the field without the ball taking an odd bounce off line.

“We have a lot of freshmen and a lot of kids that haven’t played on a club team (who) don’t necessarily get the chance to play on turf all that often,” Anna Reny said. “So we drilled them in practice to get rid of the ball. Everything’s going to be faster. You have to have your stick down. It’s a completely different game.”

Cony’s corner game was impressive, as the Rams cashed in two of their nine chances and came close on more.

“That’s the way corners should look,” Daigle said. “You’re not getting those bad bounces, the bounces over the stick.”

The Eagles’ corner operation did as well, with Morgan Genness and Abby Breznyak scoring with no time left in the first and 3:09 left in the fourth, respectively.

Of course, the Eagles have the experience.

“We are one of the few teams that … always hits for our insert,” coach Katie McCabe said. “Most teams push. … (We want to get it out) as quick as we can, and my person needs to stop it. It’s on you. I always put my best stopper right there.”

That was Breznyak, who assisted on Genness’s goal.

“It’s so much better,” Breznyak said. “It’s much faster. You don’t have to worry about the ball bouncing over your stick. You know it’s coming right there.”

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