WATERVILLE — Everyone who follows Eastern A field hockey predicted this matchup in preseason, and now everyone will get to see it.

Messalonskee defeated Lawrence, 6-0 in an Eastern A semifinal Saturday afternoon at Thomas College. Combined with Skowhegan’s victory over Mt. Ararat, that means Messalonskee will face Skowhegan in the regional final for the fifth consecutive year. That game will be played Tuesday at the Weatherbee Complex in Hampden, at a time to be determined.

“I think the girls have been anxious for this all season,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said. “Now it’s kind of, everything’s past us, and we can focus on what they’ve been looking towards all year.”

Messalonskee’s Kristy Bernatchez scored two goals, the last coming with 23 seconds left in the game. With that goal, Bernatchez surpassed the state single-season record of 42 goals, set by Dexter’s Megan Fogarty in 2003. Bernatchez has 43 goals this season, or 45 if you count the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference runner-up game.

No. 3 Lawrence (11-4-1) played right with the second-seeded Eagles (14-2) for the first 10 minutes. Lawrence senior Sasha Letorneau did a nice job shadowing Bernatchez early, and Messalonskee didn’t break through until Lynnae Luettich slipped one past the dive of Lawrence goalie Emily Tozier with 19:40 left in the first half.

That goal seemed to change the momentum. Bernatchez scored with 7:37 to play in the half, and after Tozier sealed off the left post to deny Luettich a sure goal, Luettich scored again with 3:45 remaining to make it 3-0 at the half.

“Our team always does better after we score,” McLaughlin said. “It gets us moving.”

In the second half, Emily York set up Kylee Knight for one goal, and then Nikki Collier fed York to put Messalonskee up 5-0 with 16:37 to play. After that, Bernatchez came close several times to getting that record-breaking goal. Some fans hooted and yelled at the referees when they disallowed a goal by Bernatchez with 2:45 to play, and Bernatchez had two shots go just wide before she scored on a penalty corner.

“That was awesome,” McLaughlin said. “She’s well-deserving of beating that record.”

The Bulldogs did get some scoring opportunities, but their two best ones were snuffed out by sweeper Natalie Hunt, who twice came out to snuff out potential breakaways.

Lawrence graduates Letourneau and a few other seniors, but the returning players have also helped establish a strong base for next season.

“We’d much rather have seen them on grass,” Lawrence coach Lisa Larrabee said. “We held them in the first 10 minutes and showed them that we were here to play. Our ball movement was good. My goalie was just tremendous. It’s unfortunate to be a 6-0 game, because I really don’t think it looked that way, and I think it was very exciting for the fans.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]


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