It would be an understatement to say that the Messalonskee field hockey team hasn’t been challenged since its loss to Skowhegan. In the Eagles’ last five games, they’ve won four by scores of 10-0 and the other 7-0.

Messalonskee will likely be tested at least twice more — the Eagles are at Lawrence on Tuesday and at Skowhegan Oct. 8. — but for now, coach Katie McLaughlin’s job is to convince her players that there’s still room for improvement after those 10-0 victories.

“I think in that sense, it is a challenge,” McLaughlin said. “But we have to be picky at all times. One of the most important things is to keep a competitive edge in practice. You just really have to work at perfecting the game.”

Messalonskee is averaging 7.2 goals per game, led by Kristy Bernatchez, who has 25 goals this fall. The forwards have accounted for much of the other 40 goals scored by the Eagles.

“Our front line is very strong,” McLaughlin said. “Lynnae Luettich, Emily York, Kylee Knight — all of them have improved tremendously over the last few weeks.”

Bernatchez had 10 goals in three games last week, and her 25 goals in nine games comes after scoring 13 all of last season.

“She’s really found herself,” McLaughlin said. “She’s doing a great job seeing the goal. She was laughing about it, because this year, she has more (goals) than she has combined for her career.”

With Bri Garland playing like she’s fully recovered from an early-season injury, Messalonskee is solid in the backfield. Mikayla Turner, Nikki Collier, and Natalie Hunt are also playing well on defense.

“I think as a team, and a whole unit, we’re working better together than we ever have,” McLaughlin said.

• • •

Nokomis is 6-2-1 and in sixth place in the Eastern B Heal points, but the Warriors have absolutely played well enough to be undefeated. Their losses were by 1-0 scores to Belfast and Leavitt. In those games, as well as a 1-1 tie with Oceanside, Nokomis had a significant advantage in shots and scoring opportunities.

“After the Leavitt game, we switched around our lineup a little, trying to create a little space in the circle, maybe get some more aggressiveness in different places,” Nokomis coach Katie Thompson said.

Since the change, Nokomis has defeated Maine Central Institute (2-0), Lincoln (13-0), and Erskine (3-0). The true test will come in the upcoming games, especially the ones against Waterville and Gardiner.

“I think shaking it up has definitely made some people pick up the intensity,” Thompson said. “It’s made some people try to prove that they can play the position that they want. It’s going to be really important these last couple weeks that we’re finishing.”

• • •

Mt. View’s season may also have turned on one game. In this case, it was a 6-1 loss to Winslow on Sept. 6. In the six games since, Mt. View has won five and lost the other in overtime.

“We’re a whole different team now,” Mt. View coach Gloria Hewett said. “I think it took a while to play as a team.”

In the past, the Mustangs have had sparkplugs like Delainey Kein and Mercedes Reynolds. Hewett said there isn’t a player who obviously fills that role this season, so she had to do that for a while.

“The seniors are starting to realize: This is it,” she said. “They’re not going to play after this year, unless they play in college.”

Center back Abby Stubbs has stabilized Mt. View’s defense, and Brittany Masessa and Kersey Boulay are forces in the midfield.

Beginning with today’s game against Gardiner, Mt. View’s five remaining games could all go either way. The Mustangs need some more Heal points to secure a playoff spot, so some of them could become must-win games. Hewett said desire will be a big part of how Mt. View fares in these final five games.

“I don’t think it’s skill. I don’t think it’s ability,” Hewett said. “I think it’s always going to the ball and not taking a single second off in the game. I think that’s the (deciding) factor, how hard they work and how much heart they put into the game.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243
[email protected]

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