OAKLAND — Season openers aren’t supposed to be quite this intense. Then again, when the Cony and Messalonskee girls lacrosse teams meet, it’s always intense.
The rivals picked up Tuesday where they left off last June when Cony upset Messalonskee in the semifinals of the Eastern Maine Class A tournament. The Rams prevailed again, rallying from a four-goal deficit to pick up an 11-10 victory in a game that Hayley Quirion decided when she scored with 38 seconds left.
Quirion paid a price for her score as she was leveled on her shot from 20 feet out.
“I knew we had to score really quick,” Quirion said. “So I just kind of drove in there . . . a bunch of people crashed on me. I thought they checked me but at least I scored. It’s better than getting a check call.”
Quirion finished with two goals and an assist while her triplet sister Emily added four goals, including one to put the Rams ahead 10-9 with one minute, 26 seconds left. Neither team laid down in this one. Sophomore Nathalie St. Pierre tied the game at 10 with a weaving solo effort with 1:02 left to play.
“It almost felt like a playoff game,” said Messalonskee senior Ally Fischang, who led all scorers with five goals.”We had to work really hard. We know a lot of the Cony players very well. We always know it’s going to be a good game.”
The host Eagles appeared to take control when Fischang scored three straight to put them ahead 4-2 late in the first half. Haley Hanks got one back for the Rams on a free position shot with 19 seconds left, but the momentum shifted back to the Eagles when Fischang scored off an assist from St. Pierre just before the horn sounded to make it 5-3. Messalonskee built on that goal and dominated the first five minutes of the second half, getting two unassisted goals from St. Pierre to take a 7-3 lead.
The Rams bounced back on scores from Emily Quirion and Bayleigh Logan (three goals), but then Cony coach Gretchen Livingston called timeout when Fischang put the Eagles back up by three goals off an India Languet assist.
“We were definitely not demonstrating the intensity we needed to come out on top in this game,” Livingston said. “Sometimes they just need to hear how hard they’ve worked and not to just let it go.”
The Rams responded as Hayley and Emily Quirion scored and Logan followed with an unassisted scored to tie the game at 8.
“I don’t think we let down,” Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen said. “We fouled and we gave up free positions. We didn’t play with as much poise as I would have liked us to.”
Logan scored with 3:27 left on an unassisted goal form the right side to make it 9-8 Cony. The Eagles tied the game at 9-all when midfielder Kristen Kern took a nice lob pass from Brooke Quirion and rifled it past Cony keeper Isabelle Eames. Both Eames and Messalonskee sophomore Sydni Collier played well in goal, with Eames making 11 saves and Collier nine.