LEWISTON — Lewiston started the lacrosse season resolved to be more fluid on offense.

That fluidity is contingent on good passing, which is contingent on rhythm. But rhythm can be fleeting when you don’t play for nearly two weeks.

It can also be disrupted by good defense, which Cony mustered after Lewiston jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead in Tuesday’s KVAC battle on the artificial turf at Bates’ Morgan McDuffee Field.

The Rams rallied to tie the game at 7-7 and 8-8 before Natlie Rousseau scored on a penalty shot with 31 seconds remaining to give the Blue Devils a 9-8 victory.

Rouseeau’s goal came after Cony goalie Isabelle Eames was called for a shooting space penalty for leaving the crease. Rousseau then beat Eames to her lower right side for her third goal of the game and the game-winner.

“She takes high shots pretty well, so I focused on shooting low on her,” Rousseau said.

Kelsey Dumond also had a hat trick for the Blue Devils (2-0). Laurianne Murphy posted two goals and two assists. Jess Cote scored the other Lewiston goal.

Bayleigh Logan led Cony (1-1) with four goals.

The Rams led just once when Logan scored the game’s first goal 1:35 in. Rousseau tied it a little over five minutes in, then put the Devils in front with a penalty shot after Cony was called for contact to the head.

Rousseau  set up Dumond for her first goal and, after Murphy scored her first to make it 4-1, the Rams called a time out and replaced starting goalie Tynisha Francois with Eames.

The change in net didn’t stop Dumond from scoring her second off a nice feed from Murphy just 29 seconds after the timeout. Murphy later found a cutting Cote to give the Blue Devils a 7-2 lead with 8:48 left in the first half.

“We’re really focusing on passing this year, because in the past couple of years we’ve had a lot of people that just take it all the way and it’s never really worked very well,” Murphy said. “We’re really focusing on getting cuts to the middle so me and Nat can pass it to them from behind. Our passing is making us so much better this year.”

“We hadn’t played anything in a week-and-a-half, and all of a sudden we’re going from practice mode to a game and we have to get back into the rhythm of things,” Lewiston coach Frank Dow said. “We want to use the whole size of the field and use passing. We didn’t have the passing later in the first half. Our rhythm was way off. (Wednesday’s) practice is going to be a lot of passing and getting back into the rhythm.”

Lewiston lost that rhythm after Cote’s goal and would go more than 20 minutes without getting one past Eames.

“With 10 minutes left in the first half, we finally got our composure,” Cony coach Gretchen Livingston said. “We started to feel comfortable with where we were playing, started to communicate more, and the confidence started to build.”

Cony began to chip away with back-to-back goals by Logan to cut the deficit to 7-4 at halftime.

The Rams needed just the first 4:23 of the second half to tie it on goals by Rebecca Coniff, Emily Quirion and Hayley Quirion.

“(Cony) started to pick up the pace a little, put more pressure on,” Rousseau said. “We had to pick up the tempo as well because they were starting to work a little bit harder.”

“I think they took us out of our game and kept us there. We needed to settle back into our structure and do what we like to do,” Dow said. “Their zone defense was pretty good and I think we went into a panic mode and tried to force stuff. And you can’t do that against a zone. You’ve got to pick and choose.”

Cony had a chance to take its first lead since the opening minutes when Rousseau was sent off for contact to the head but couldn’t capitalize. Murphy finally broke Lewiston’s drought with a goal midway through the half that made it 8-7.

Eames kept the deficit at a goal after a nice stop on Murphy, and Logan tied it at 8-8 with 7:49 to go. But the Rams didn’t get many more chances to test Lewiston goalie Sam Cote (11 saves) the rest of the day.

“We kind of sat back and instead of playing to win, we started to play not to lose,” Livingston said. “We couldn’t get the ball out of our defensive end. I really credit Lewiston’s re-defending in their offensive end.”

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