The Messalonskee girls lacrosse team was able to hit a couple of team goals during the 2014 season.

The Eagles played within a game of a possible state championship. Messalonskee was also able to continue one of the best girls lacrosse rivalries in the state, avenging a 2013 loss in the Eastern Class A semifinals to Cony by beating the Rams 10-9 in the semifinals back on June 14.

The Eagles finished the season with an 11-4 record and a trip to the Eastern Class A final. The coach leading Messalonskee’s success was Ashley Pullen, who is the Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel Girls Lacrosse Coach of the Year. Also considered was Gretchen Livingston of Cony.

Messalonskee ended the regular season 12-0 last season, playing Class B teams during crossover games. Coming into this season, the Eagles played against Class A teams during crossovers, making the schedule more challenging.

“Someone from the outside might have said ‘Hey, they went 12-0 during the regular season last year, didn’t lose a lot so they have a really good shot at going undefeated again,'” Pullen said. “I knew that we had a much different schedule this year. Instead of Class B games, we had all Class A games with two very difficult crossovers, which I was very pleased about. Our crossovers were Cheverus and Kennebunk and I would much rather play a tough team and get a look and lose to them then go 12-0 beating teams 20-5.”

While the Eagles didn’t go undefeated, they beat solid teams on the way to the playoffs, including Cony. In four meetings, the Eagles won three games.

“It makes the offseason pretty sweet and in the moment, too,” Pullen said. “In the games against us, it was a total of five goals between the winners and the losers. To have games that were that close and to come out on top was exhilirating, especially where they are such a rival.”

Much like the Rams, Messalonskee won games with a multiplayer offensive attack. Ally Fischang led the Eagles with 53 goals, but she was one of five on the team to score more than 20 goals. The others were Sydney Gagne (34), Mikayla Turner (29), Nathalie St. Pierre (29) and Kristen Kern (23).

Pullen was happy to have so many scoring threats throughout the season.

“It is so invaluable,” Pullen said. “I cannot tell you the number of times teams would try to mark Ally hard and I told the girls ‘That’s OK, you can mark her hard, we have other threats.’ We had a solidly balanced offense that’s a huge asset as a coach. It makes it really hard for a team to shut down a key threat. I think it’s good for team morale, too, to not have just one star do it all. It makes everyone feel like they’re contributing.”

Pullen also credited Turner and Kern with their ability to produce so many draw controls, giving Messalonskee possession of the ball in order to score. Turner won 85 draws during the season, Kern 82.

“It’s a huge asset,” Pullen said. “Possession is everything, it was huge for the team for them to come up with those draws.”

Kern, Turner, Gagne and Fischang all graduated, leading some to believe the Eagles may be down next year. But Pullen said Messalonskee’s roster is evenly spread, bringing lots of talent back to the roster next season.

“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to have a good team again next year,” Pullen said.

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

[email protected]

Twitter: @Dave_Dyer

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