KENTS HILL — Round 2 in the ongoing rivalry between the Messalonskee and Cony girls lacrosse teams went to Messalonskee on the turf at Kents Hill School on Thursday.
Six different players scored for the Eagles, who took the lead 10 minutes into the second half and didn’t give it back in a 12-10 victory that will likely put them in first place in the Eastern Maine Class A standings. Both teams are 7-3.
“It’s really important,” Messalonskee senior Mikayla Turner said of the win. “There was a home field playoff advantage riding on this one, KVACs riding on this one. We’re really close in Heal points.”
Cony won the first meeting, 11-10 in the season opener, but despite the final score this one never felt that close. The Eagles held statistical edges in draw controls (15-8), shots (29-17) and ground balls.
“I felt Messalonskee consistently went to the ball whether it be on the ground or to them or to us,” Cony coach Gretchen Livingston said. “We were not aggressive going to the ball.”
Turner led the Eagles with three goals while Kristen Kern, Ally Fischang and Nathalie St. Pierre scored two apiece. Sydney Gagne and India Languet each had a goal as well. As they have throughout the season, the Rams relied on three primary scorers — Emily and Hayley Quirion and Bayleigh Logan — all with three goals apiece. Becca Coniff also scored a goal. There was only one Cony assist while the Eagles passed the ball more effectively and had seven.
“We’ve improved tremendously, both defensively and offensively,” said Turner, who led the team with seven ground balls. “We’re much more of a collective unit from one goal to the next.”
Messalonskee led 5-2 midway through the first half as four different players scored. But the Rams bounced back in this see-saw rivalry that seldom sees one team pull away and scored four of the next five goals — two by Logan and one each from Emily Quirion and Coniff — to pull into a 6-6 tie. Kern scored on a free position shot with 53 seconds left to give the Eagles a 7-6 lead at intermission. The Rams won the first two draws of the second half and scored on both of them.
“They’re so important,” Livingston said. “Lacrosse is possession.”
Emily Quirion draw the Rams to within a goal on a free position shot and sister Hayley put them ahead, 8-7, with an unassisted score two minutes later. Turner scored twice, the second goal assisted by Fischang to make it 10-8, Eagles. Emily Quirion and Gagne traded goals before Quirion drew a yellow card and two-minute penalty with eight minutes, 43 seconds left to play. Turner capitalized within seconds on a free position shot to make it 12-9. With the Rams a player down, the Eagles called timeout and played keep away after that, holding the ball for two minutes.
“It’s a strategy call,” Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen said. “My girls said, âreally, even with a man up we’re not shooting?’ But their goalie is really good and every shot take is a possible turnover; I made them promise to not shoot the ball.”
The Rams drew to within 12-10 when Logan scored off a Hayley Quirion assist with 3:40 left and they regained the ball a minute later. But Fischang intercepted a pass between the Quirion sisters and the Eagles were able to run out the clock. Cony goalie Isabelle Eames finished with 11 saves while Sydni Collier made six for the Eagles.