GARDINER — The Cony girls lacrosse program started 16 years ago, and it may never have played a more perfect half than it did in the opening 25 minutes against Gardiner/Hall-Dale on Thursday afternoon at Hoch Field.

It was such a dominant effort resulting in an 8-5 Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference win, that the Tigers may want to hire somebody to determine whether or not the spiffy new artificial surface isn’t slanted in one direction.

“Our coach said that was one of the most composed offenses she’s seen since she’s been coaching, “ said Cony captain Raegan Bechard, one of two players with a hat trick for the Rams (6-1). “We were composed with the ball, we took care of it. It was only down in their (offensive) end a couple of times in the whole first half. They can’t score if it’s down in our (offensive) end.”

Gardiner’s Averi Baker blocks Cony’s Azzabell Assaf, left, from firing on net during a girls lacrosse game Thursday in Gardiner. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston, who has been at the helm since the program’s very first game in 2006, agreed with her senior.

“I was so impressed with our composure,” Livingston said. “I feel this group does this the best of any team I’ve had — and I’ve had great teams along the way — but they are patient, they are composed, they trust each other, and they wait.”

It was the first loss of the season for Gardiner, also 6-1, which trailed 6-1 at halftime after surrendering four consecutive goals once getting on the scoreboard— including three in the final 11:10 of the opening half. Maci Freeman and Abby Morrill each had a first-half goal for Cony.


Cony’s dominance in the middle of the field, both in offensive transition and with its defensive rides and slides, came without starting midfielder Andrea Richardson. Junior Azabell Assaf helped pick up the slack in Richardson’s absence, scoring three goals of her own and controlling the pace of the game in both directions.

The teams traded goals over a six and a half minute span early in the second half to get Gardiner within 8-3.

When Lilly Diversi scored her fourth goal of the afternoon — the junior accounted for all five Tiger tallies — it made for some nervous moments for Cony. Diversi cut the Gardiner deficit to 8-5 with her final goal with 2:14 remaining, after just minutes before having bounced a shot from free position off the crossbar behind Cony goalie Madison Chavarie.

“It’s pretty much, ‘Oh no!’ because I can’t tell if it hit the crossbar and went in,” said Chavarie, who made six of her eight saves in the second half. “It’s definitely a little stressful when that happens, but then I saw the ball bounce away so I was good.”

Chavarie said the team’s communication in front of her played a significant role in a solid defensive effort.

Gardiner’s Grace Milliken (7) guards Cony’s Bella Smith as she fires on the net during a girls lacrosse game Thursday in Gardiner. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

“I think we just trust each other all across the field,” Chavarie said. “Trusting each other is the biggest thing. We’re a family here, we’re such a tight team, and I think that really helps.”


“I’m so proud of the way they carried themselves,” Livingston said. “Defensively, I haven’t had a team talk like this before. You can hear them chattering and being positive with their words … and our goal is to always do our best. That first half was awesome, and luckily it was enough to hold (Gardiner) off at the end.”

In the end, it proved to be a good test for Cony, which expected a pushback from the previously undefeated Tigers. The Rams held their composure long enough to escape with a victory that should shake up the Class B Heal point standings.

Cony jumped to fourth in the 13-team region with the win, while Gardiner dropped three spots to sixth.

“We took a tough loss to Oxford Hills a couple weeks ago,” Bechard said. “We were ready to fight. We’ve had so many talks about how we just wanted to win.”

Gardiner goalie Skye Cotnoir made 10 saves.

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