It took a couple of weeks for the Messalonskee High School boys lacrosse team to hit its collective stride, but the Eagles might be rounding into form as the midpoint of the season nears.

After graduating several of the top offensive threats from last year’s team, Messalonskee has found that it needs to be more than a single-pronged attack in 2017.

“It’s coming along,” Messalonskee coach Tom Sheridan said. “I think this team’s got a lot of potential so far… The kids are working as a team, and that’s what you want to see.”

Gone are Dylan Burton, Dylan Jones, Will Weeks and Jack Bernatchez — those names all replaced, in many cases, by players who were in the lineup behind them last spring.

“It was a struggle (early), because we lost so many of our offensive players from last year,” junior Austin Pelletier said. “Everyone’s been working hard in practice, and we’re starting to click. We’re becoming more of a team, more of a group, and we’re not about who scores. It’s about ‘we score.'”

The Eagles (3-2) won three out of four games entering this week, scoring at least 14 goals in each game. While it was Pelletier with five goals in a lopsided win over MCI/Nokomis, other names have emerged since. Senior Connor Smith — who was the team’s leading goal-producer as a sophomore — and junior Colin Kinney scored five goals and four goals, respectively, in a win over Maranacook/Winthrop.

“We have threats up top, down low,” Smith said. “Our ‘D’ plays really well, and our goalie, too. When we work as a unit, we’re a great team.”

Sheridan, like most area coaches, said the chance to finally get outside after a long spring spent indoors, has begun paying dividends.

“The first game, we weren’t quite settled on offense yet. We were kind of going off things we knew from last year,” Sheridan said. “We had some time to settle in and had some practices and a lot of time outside. We worked on some things.”

It appears to have paid off. Messalonskee entered the week third in the Class A North Heal point standings, averaging 12.6 goals per game.

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Erskine Academy has its fifth boys lacrosse coach in the last five years, and the Eagles are trying to build some consistency under new coach Jason Wade.

While Wade has spent the bulk of the team’s practice time on the fundamentals — catching and throwing, among other things — he’s also tried to get them to understand team defense a bit better.

In a win last Friday in the rain at Thomas College against MCI/Nokomis, Wade thought his team’s defense opened up its offensive chances.

“Our defense got organized,” Wade said. “The first half (against the Huskies), we were very disorganized, we were running around, we didn’t know where our man was. Some of the real basics of lacrosse kind of fell apart.

“As we started to catch our breath a little bit, we started to see that if we matched up well in our lower defense, other things would come from that.”

Even the Eagles (2-2 entering the week) knew that there was more on the table to be found.

“It was definitely not our cleanest game, but we had some movement out there,” junior Caleb Tyler said. “We managed to make it work.”

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The Messalonskee girls team, fresh off its first Class A state championship in program history last spring, seem not to have missed a step this season.

The Eagles are out to a 5-0 start with 4-1 Lewiston on the schedule Wednesday.

Messalonskee has piled up 87 goals already and is outscoring opponents by better than a 3-1 average margin at 17-5.

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When the Lawrence girls team beat Lincoln 9-6 on April 29, it was far more than a typical early-season win.

The victory marked the first in the history of a program now in its second year of varsity play under head coach Gail Bucklin.

The Bulldogs, who got a hat trick from Cassandra Poli, were 0-12 in 2016.

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC