Thornton Academy’s Lily Stark and Kennebunk’s Alaina Schatzabel battle for possession during Monday afternoon’s field hockey showdown. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

Thornton Academy’s Lily Stark and Kennebunk’s Alaina Schatzabel battle for possession during Monday afternoon’s field hockey showdown. ALEX SPONSELLER/ Journal Tribune

KENNEBUNK — The Kennebunk field hockey team grinded out a tough, 2-1 win over visiting Thornton Academy on Monday afternoon.

Trailing 1-0 midway through the second half, the Rams would get the game-tying score on a line shot by Christine Jarowicz. Britney Gregoire would battle through a scrum in front of the TA cage and score the game-winner with 6:52 remaining.

The first half was scoreless, however Kennebunk applied the pressure early on. The Rams had 10 corner opportunities, but the Trojans denied all attempts and would also shut down four more in the second half.

Taylor Ouellette put TA ahead 1-0 early in the second half, but it was all Kennebunk from there as it chipped away at the Trojan defense.

“We talked a lot about moving it away from the goalie and around the goalie because I think we shot a lot to her and at her. I thought she did a really nice job of making some great saves and making some big plays,” said Kennebunk coach Kayla Billings after the win. “It was more about us trying to think of ways to score rather than just going right down the middle.”

Despite the loss, TA coach Lori Smith was pleased with her team’s defensive performance, and especially the performance of goalie Jenica Botting who stopped 12 of 14 shots on goal.

“We’re a work in progress — we have some young people and we’ve struggled with organization … that has been a big focus of ours. (Kennebunk) had some high balls and hard hits which is really hard to defend. Jenica had a great game — her reactions are great,” said Smith. “Overall, they’ve done a good job on corner defense, but we feel that we could be better for sure.”

Smith has also been happy to see her young club develop as the Trojans begin the second half of the regular season.

“It’s taken us a lot to figure out who to put where and to have some consistency. We’re starting to see some consistency,” said Smith. “Paige Boudreau didn’t play a lot in the beginning but has stepped in and has played consistently strong, our younger players have gotten some minutes under their belts so they should be more confident. Our freshman have actually stepped in and have played big roles off the bench, the freshmen have been contributing which down the road will be good for the program.”

After beginning the season at 1-3, the Rams have hit their stride and have won three straight games. 

“We’re taking this year as building blocks, climbing stairs,” said Billings. “Every game we take we need to think about progressing and taking our game to the next level and not backing down. We had some three really tough games right away and we had to think about how to play together. Every game we’re trying to progress with it.”

The Rams have also had to adjust after returning to Class A, and have been working hard to do so, according to Billings.

“We work really hard. There’s not a moment on the field when I don’t think the girls are working extremely hard,” said Billings. “We’re fortunate to have a group a girls that come in and want to work hard. We were in (Class A), then to (Class B), then back to (Class A) so there’s always a learning curve for us every time we jump into a new conference. We’re doing our best to reestablish ourselves in A again.”


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