Mt. Ararat defenders Margaret Dwinal (13) and Eliza Libby (5) put the squeeze on Morse defenseman Helena Eich (21) during the first half of Saturday’s KVAC girls high school soccer game in Bath. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

BATH — In the early stages of the girls high school soccer season, Mt. Ararat and Morse have

Morse defender Hallie Johnson (7) heads the ball away from Mt. Ararat’s Margaret Dwinal (13) during Saturday’s KVAC girls soccer game in Bath. The Eagles downed the Shipbuilders, 3-1. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

searched for consistency on offense.

On Saturday in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference matinee, the visiting Eagles strung three goals together over a seven-minute stretch to subdue the Shipbuilders, 3-1. 

Alexa Gurney, Ema Hawkes and Bre McCourt scored a goal each for Mt. Ararat, which improved to 2-2 and hits the road again on Tuesday to face Skowhegan (3:30 p.m.). 

On the other side, Morse (1-4-1) finished up an exhausting week that featured two double overtime games and a hot Saturday finish. The Shipbuilders visit Gardiner on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m.

After a scoreless first half where neither team displayed much of a scoring chance, Gurney gave her team a 1-0 lead 8:24 into the second frame. 

“We saw that we had space and time, and we started to use it,” said Mt. Ararat coach Chad Kirk. “We needed to work the ball wide, buy corners, things that we’re good at. It picked up for us in the second half.”

“We wanted a goal. It was a great cross by Eliza (Libby) and I was there to put it in,” said Gurney. “We needed that to build our confidence up. I feel like we were talking more and working together. We feel pretty good and we are excited for the rest of the season.”

A little less than four minutes later, Hawkes ran onto a pass from Libby and rocketed a shot past Morse goaltender Abby Sreden to double the Mt. Ararat advantage. 

Three minutes later, Hawkes served up a perfect pass to McCourt, who heeled the ball into the cage to make for a three-goal game. 

Mt. Ararat’s Alexa Gurney (6) tries to make a move on Morse’s Wren Tetreault (22) during Saturday’s game on McMann Field in Bath. Gurney scored the game’s first goal as her Eagles triumphed over the ’Builders, 3-1. (Bob Conn / The Times Record)

“We had two injuries at halftime that we had to make adjustments for and it threw a wrench into what we wanted to do,” said Morse coach Branden Noltkamper, who talked about the hard week his team faced. “It was our third game in five days. Tuesday was 90 minutes with Medomak (2-2 tie) and nearly 90 minutes with Maranacook (2-1 loss). We are tired.”

Opening half

Neither goalie had to work hard in the first 40 minutes. Sreden made four of her 11 saves on shots right at her from distance, and Mt. Ararat keeper Elsa Daulerio was threatened only once when she had to dive to her right to smother a corner-kick opportunity for the Shipbuilders. 

“We weren’t looking for that perfect touch. We wanted to cross the ball on time, not too early when nobody was there, something we did in the first half a lot,” said Kirk.

After Mt. Ararat strung together its three goals, Morse adjusted and started sending players forward. With 10:32 left, the work up front paid off as Wren Tetreault sent a free kick to the waiting head of Kaylee Creamer, who touched it past Daulerio (six saves) for a 3-1 contest. 

“Down 3-0, what do you have to lose? We started to go forward, and Wren put a nice ball up there and Kaylee was able to get her head on it,” Noltkamper said.

Sreden was tested down the stretch, diving to stop a low shot from Kyla Greenleaf. 

Shipbuilder standout Emily Martin was tightly defended throughout the game, but still managed to create scoring opportunities. Mt. Ararat defenders Brennan Thiboutot, Greenleaf, Heather Gallant and Olivia Cox stood tall, keeping most of Martin’s chances from outside the penalty area. 

Mt. Ararat finished with a 14-7 shot advantage and a 9-7 edge in corner kicks. 

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