TOPSHAM — With the regular season winding down, the Gardiner boys lacrosse team is using a “next man up” mentality.

In spite of having banged-up bodies that led to positional shifts, the Tigers managed to fight their way to a 5-3 win over Mt. Ararat in a Class B matchup on Saturday morning.

Gardiner (6-5) was led by Shawn Soucy, who scored two goals, his first two scores since his recent switch from defense to attack.

“It felt pretty good,” said Soucy, a senior. “I’ve played defense or goalie since sixth grade. I’ve only joked with (playing attack). Two days ago, (Gardiner head coach K.C. Johnson) is like, ‘Yeah, he’s a shorty (now),’ and threw me in there, and I played the whole game. It feels pretty good. It was confusing the whole time; I didn’t really know what I was doing. Just running around and getting in the way. But it ended up working out all right.”

The Tigers also received a strong performance from backup goalkeeper Jac Crochere, who turned away five shots from Mt. Ararat (6-5) in the fourth quarter alone to secure the win.

“We’re playing with some adversity,” Johnson said. “The kids are getting hit with some injuries and stuff, just banged up. We’re handling it okay.”


Gardiner attack Logan Cote, left, tries to get past Mt. Ararat defender Keegan Rowe during Saturday’s lacrosse game in Topsham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The first half was a back-and-forth battle. Mt. Ararat struck first, with a goal from junior attack Wes Wallace, to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead. The Tigers responded with two goals in the second quarter — a nearly coast-to-coast attempt from Garret Doyle and Soucy’s first goal of the contest — to give Gardiner the 2-1 lead at halftime.

“We tried (attack) a little bit last year with Souce, he’s got great hands,” Johnson said. “We just changed up our formation and he fit the mold for that spot.”

The Tigers scored three unanswered goals to start the third quarter, two on hard shots from Cody Dingwell and Nathanael Luiz, and the other on Soucy’s second goal, right in front of the net, for a 5-1 lead. The Eagles kept fighting, netting goals from Zander Kirk and John Martin to cut Gardiner’s lead to 5-3 entering the fourth quarter.

Mt. Ararat dominated possession and shots in the fourth quarter, but Gardiner’s defense, particularly from Crochere, did enough to hold the Eagles at bay and seal the win.

“Jac did a great job,” Johnson said. “It’s just one of those things where, Jac is our No. 1 1/2. He always does the right thing; he’s a team player and he did a great job today. He earned the right to play between the pipes.”

“Gardiner’s a strong ball club,” Mt. Ararat head coach Mark St. John said. “We didn’t come with the energy we needed to get through four quarters. It was a sort of a later-start type show-up. We just dropped a tough game.”

With the win, the Tigers essentially flipped spots with the Eagles in the Class B standings. Gardiner entered the game 11th, while Mt. Ararat was ninth. After the win, it was the Tigers who moved up to ninth, while the Eagles fell to 11th.

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