AUGUSTA — The Cony girls lacrosse team is off and running to start the 2023 season.

Led by senior Azabell Assaf’s five goals and junior Maci Freeman’s four goals and three assists, the Rams cruised to a 15-4 win over rival Gardiner on a gorgeous Thursday evening at Fuller Field.

“It’s amazing (to start with a win),” Assaf said. “We really kept our composure and worked so well as a team. … This win really sets (the season off great for us.”

Abby Morrill, Isabella Smith and Casey Monson each added two goals for Cony (1-0).

“I’m super proud to come out that way on Day 1,” Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston said. “Get one of 14 out of the way. It’s a long haul, but I’m really proud we came out and made a statement.”

Lilly Diversi scored all four goals for Gardiner (0-1).


Lizzy Gruber, top, defends Cony’s Erin Paquette during a girls lacrosse season-opening game on Thursday at Fuller Field in Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Cony jumped out of the gate early, taking an 8-2 lead in the first half. Freeman and Assaf traded the early scoring opportunities, mixed in with Morrill, to provide an offensive onslaught, which was too difficult for the Tigers to stop.

“We can pass, shoot, we’re very versatile,” Assaf said. “We have so many passers and so many shooters.”

“A lot of girls were instrumental in moving the ball around and getting that possession,” Livingston said. “Draw controls and midfield play was huge as well.”

Cony continued the offensive pressure in the second half, scoring seven more goals – including five unanswered goals at one point – with Smith and Monson getting involved in the scoring to keep the Rams ahead.

Gardiner, strong in numbers to start the season, never showed quit. Diversi split her scoring throughout the contest, scoring two goals in each half.

“We’re young,” Gardiner head coach Jessica Prince said. “We have a couple of veterans who have done a really nice job bringing the girls into the fold, which is really nice. Ultimately, we had four starters out there where this was their first lacrosse game. They hung in there. The exciting thing is, there were glimpses of good things. There’s a lot to build on.”

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