FAIRFIELD — If we learned anything on Saturday, it’s that the Oct. 7 field hockey rematch between Lawrence and Messalonskee should be a whole lot of fun.

Round 1 was certainly a blast (and the boxing reference might be more appropriate than you think). In a game that was sometimes chippy and filled with brilliant defense on both sides, Lawrence came out on top, 2-1, on a goal by Lauren Watson with 5:50 remaining in the second overtime.

“It was intense,” said Lawrence goalie Emily Tozier, who made 14 saves. “It was definitely a lot of pressure, but it was an awesome feeling.”

The win leaves Lawrence (8-0) as the only undefeated team in Eastern A. Messalonskee is now 7-1, and the Eagles defeated Skowhegan on Sept. 9.

“Defense stepped up today, for sure,” Lawrence coach Shawna Robinson said. “Best defensive game we’ve had so far. Right across the board — Lilla (Tilton-Flood), Emily (McLean), Emily (Tozier), Abby Weigang, Chelsea Ballard — all of them.”

On the winning play, Watson had a breakaway, but Messalonskee goalie Chalbi French challenged her, and the ball rolled away toward the end line on the left side of the cage.

“It was right on the line,” Watson said. “I just went for it. I didn’t think I was going to get it.”

Watson gathered the ball, and fired the tough-angle shot just inside the right post, off the inside of the side of the cage.

“I just saw kind of an open corner, so I went for it,” Watson said. “I thought the goalie stopped it. Then I saw it in, and everything was good from there.”

The Bulldogs were clearly fired up for the game, and the first six minutes featured end-to-end action. With 19:26 to go in the half, Lawrence’s Domi Lewis fired one in from the left side to make it 1-0.

Tozier, who was named first-team all-Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A as a freshman two years ago, began to show her stuff. Messalonskee ended up with a 22-13 advantage in shots, but couldn’t manufacture that into multiple goals.

“We were getting those shots off,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said. “Their goalie really did a great job moving in the cage. I think we were very panicked today and slightly frantic with our shots. Instead of looking for a space and placing it, we were quick to shoot.”

Lawrence held its 1-0 lead at the half, and two minutes into the second half, Tozier made possibly her best save of the day. Messalonskee’s Brooke Quirion sent a cross into the circle from the right side, and Lydia Dexter made a quick shot off the deflection, only to have Tozier just as quickly bat the ball away with her left hand.

But four minutes later, Messalonskee’s Emily Hogan sent the ball in on Tozier, and Quirion was left uncovered in front and was able to slip the ball past Tozier to tie the game at 1.

About eight minutes after that, Ballard made a defensive save to keep the game tied. The Eagles controlled most of the second half, but went down a player when they were assessed a yellow card for touching the ball with a high stick. Although Messalonskee out-shot Lawrence 2-0 while shorthanded, they lost Hogan for a few minutes when she was bumped around. Around that time, the officials gathered both teams’ captain together before the rough play got out of hand.

Hogan had a couple looks in the first overtime, but had two shots go just wide left, the second one because of good defense by Lawrence’s Taylor Watson. With a minute left, Lawrence’s McKenna Rogers intercepted an aerial ball and fed Watson in the circle, but Watson’s shot trickled wide. Then, with about 25 seconds left, Watson’s shot got past French, but not past Messalonskee’s Kirsten Pelletier, who made a defensive save.

Those near-misses were forgotten as Watson scored early in the second overtime. Skowhegan has won 13 straight Eastern A titles, and Messalonskee has been runner-up six years in a row, but the Bulldogs are making their case to be included with those teams.

“We’re legit,” Robinson said. “We don’t get any credit, and I think maybe we’ll get some now.”

“We have to be humble, still,” Tozier said. “Every team wants to come for us, and we’ve got to stay with it.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

Twitter: @Matt_DiFilippo

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