FAIRFIELD — The Lawrence field hockey arrived as a contender when it tied Messalonskee early last season. Since then, it’s probably not overstating things to say Messalonskee remembers that game when the two teams meet.
“I think every time we play Lawrence, we come out with more intensity than we play with other teams,” Messalonskee midfielder Kristy Bernatchez said. “We’re kind of local rivals, and they’re always good competition for us.”
Bernatchez scored four goals and Messalonskee took complete advantage of Lawrence’s rough start to post a 7-0 victory over the Bulldogs on Tuesday afternoon.
The Eagles (10-1-0) took a 1-0 lead less than five minutes into the game when a long shot by Bernatchez trickled into the cage. Two minutes later, Lawrence goalie Emily Tozier (11 saves), slipped making a move in the circle, and Emily York fed Lynnae Luettich to make it 2-0.
A two-goal deficit with 53 minutes still to play normally isn’t much, but Lawrence (8-3-1) had shut out nine of its 11 previous opponents, and Messalonskee has not allowed a goal since Sept. 8.
“Messalonskee’s just a really strong team, and they can move the ball very quickly between the 25s,” Lawrence coach Lisa Larrabee said. “Our transition game’s not fast enough. That’s things we’ve been working on. My concern now is with the inexperience that we have, that we have to figure out how to rally back after we get scored on.”
Bernatchez added two more goals and Luettich had another to put the Eagles up 5-0 at the half. Bernatchez finished with four goals, and has 31 in 11 games this season. She scored 20 over the last two years combined.
“I think this year I’m just more confident with my shooting,” Bernatchez said. “I place the ball better this year. I really read the goalie instead of just hitting it for uselessness.”
York and Bernatchez added goals in the second half to round out the scoring. Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said she was actually more pleased with her team’s offense and overall play after the break.
“Lawrence is really good at staying strong, and really kind of getting in your head, because they never give up,” McLaughlin said. “The first half, we started playing more of a ping-pong sort of game. In the second half, we did much better with our passing. You could tell. I think it was cleaner play, definitely.”
Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243