Gray-New Gloucester’s Zoe Barnes (12) passes the ball as Abigail Mitchell of St. Dom’s closes in during a field hockey opener in Gray on Saturday. Tony Blasi/Sun JournalGRAY — It took about seven minutes before St. Dominic Academy and Gray-New Gloucester shook off the rust after waiting weeks to play in this field hockey opener on a perfect, autumn Saturday morning.

The Saints applied constant pressure for three solid quarters to produce a 4-0 victory over the stubborn Patriots in front of a small, masked crowd that watched the action outside the fence surrounding the field.

“I liked how we take everything we practice on and translate it into a game,” St. Dom’s coach Abigail Bowie said. “We learned a new press this week…and we are kind of learning to have everybody back. We have been doing a lot of fitness to stay within the guidelines. (We are) just playing St. Dom’s field hockey and practice what we preach.”

St. Dom’s owned the first quarter and spent most of the time in front of the G-NG net. Eventually, something had to give and the Saints scored with 6:03 left in opening stanza. Abby Mitchell used an Isabella Pelletier assist and put St. Dom’s on the scoreboard with a goal.

The second quarter belonged to the Patriots, who did everything on offense but put the ball in the net. The teams both came up short as St. Dom’s headed into the second half with a 1-0 lead.

“This is such an odd season,” Gray-New Gloucester coach Christa Roddy said.” (This was) our first chance to play together as a team and really see where our strengths are, seeing what the spacing looks like, seeing what our lineup looks like, and I think the girls did a really nice job coming out and giving it their best.

Gray-New Gloucester goalie Mackenzie Baston stands her ground as Julianna Cook (3) tries to get the ball by Baston in a field hockey opener on Saturday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

“They stayed positive as a team. They worked together. They tried to find chemistry. I think they did a great job adjusting. Everything did kind of improved as the game went on.”

Junior Bryana Archer scored her first goal of her career with help from a feed by Bella Perryman to give the Saints breathing room with a third-quarter, 2-0 lead.

“It feels really good; it is exciting,” Archer said. “It has been awhile. It took a few minutes to get used to it again. We caught on quickly. We fixed the mistakes very quickly. We had good communication and talking about what was going wrong and what was going right.”

The St. Dom’s offense was stoked and it resulted in a two-goal outburst in the final quarter. The Saints pelted G-NG goalie Mackenzie Baston, who made 18 saves for the day, booting ball after ball away from the net.

“She did really well,” Roddy said. “So many shots on goal, so much pressure down there and she kept her calm. She did a nice job of really commanding the defense, commanding the team and keeping the energy and staying with it. She does a great job.”

Lorelei Bonney provided the Saints’ third goal, with the assist going to senior center midfielder Anna Cote. Lauren Fletcher slapped in the fourth St. Dom’s goal unassisted to top off the victory.

“We have a lot of new kids, and going out here, and a lot people stepped it up, especially freshmen and underclassmen,” Cote said. “We are really proud of our team. We were really worried about this first game. We played them last year and we knew they are a really good team.”

St. Dom’s Anna Cote and Gray-New Gloucester’s Bri Fairweather vie for the ball in a field hockey opener in Gray on Saturday. Tony Blasi/Sun Journal

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