WATERVILLE — It took a pair of strong second halves to get it done, but the Messalonskee boys and girls lacrosse teams are moving on to their respective Eastern Class B semifinals.

The top-seeded Eagle girls were locked in a tight battle throughout the first half before pulling away for a 14-4 win over No. 8 McAuley, while the second-seeded boys’ team rolled after halftime as well en route to a 17-7 victory over No. 7 Deering in the second game of a lacrosse doubleheader Wednesday at Thomas College.

“We both had good second halves to put things away,” Messalonskee boys coach Tom Sheridan said. “That was nice to see.”

Early on it appeared as if Sheridan’s team was in store for an easy evening, as it got four goals from Dylan Jones in the first quarter en route to a commanding 7-1 advantage heading into the second. There, Deering managed to get itself back into the contest as three straight goals from Nate Richards cut the deficit to 7-4.

Messalonskee ultimately took an 8-4 advantage into intermission thanks to a goal from Will Weeks with 2 minutes, 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

“We were starting to put them away in the first quarter and then we kind of settled in a little bit there,” Sheridan said. “We slowed things up too much out there, but I think we definitely came back in the third quarter and took control of the game.”

The two teams traded goals to start the third, but Connor Smith’s goal with 8:01 to play in the quarter kicked off a stretch of seven unanswered scores for the Eagles between the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters.

“We’re trying to grow throughout the game and we came out with the result we wanted,” Jones said. “It’s a little bit of a fire starter almost into our next game. Hopefully we do one better than we did last year and we don’t let anyone get in our way. The goal is to get as far as we can, but you have to play to get there.”

Jones paced the Eagles with five goals and an assist, while Connor Smith — despite drawing extra attention from the Rams’ defense — still scored three goals and assisted on two others. Weeks and Austin Pelletier each finished with two goals and two assists.

“Connor was marked up a little bit more than usual, so Jones was the open guy and that’s part of being an unselfish offense,” Sheridan said. “We’re willing to move it around.”

Earlier in the afternoon Wednesday, the Messalonskee girls had to wait a little longer to feel comfortable against McAuley as the Eagles held just a 5-3 advantage at halftime against the eighth-seeded Lions.

“It was a little rough,” Lauren Pickett, who had a goal in Messalonskee’s win, said. “Every time it gets in our heads and we think we can’t do it, but we normally come through.

“The second half is when we’re at our best. We talked during halftime and we talked to each other. It’s just all about confidence really.”

After a scoreless 7 minutes to open the second half, Ally Turner gave Messalonskee the boost it needed with a goal and the Eagles rolled from there.

“Ally Turner scored that goal to put us up 6-3 and the flood gates opened,” Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen said. “There was a noticeable difference in kind of our team morale. It was just the spark we needed.”

Turner led the way for the Eagles with six goals, Lydia Dexter chipped in with four scores and Nathalie St. Pierre had a hat trick.

Both the Messalonskee boys and girls will be hoping for a similar doubleheader result Friday, as they will each host Lewiston at Thomas College beginning with the girls at 3:30 p.m.

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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