WATERVILLE — So much for a transition year.

The Messalonskee girls lacrosse team — comprised of just two seniors — suddenly a seasoned playoff team. One that will return to the Eastern Class A regional final after beating Lewiston 9-7 in the semifinal round Friday at Thomas College.

The Eagles (13-1) came from behind in the first half to tie the Blue Devils (9-5) just before halftime. Ally Turner scored a goal four minutes into the second half to give Messalonskee a 6-5 lead and the Eagles never looked back, trading goals with Lewiston but never losing the lead.

Messalonskee — the No. 1 seed in Eastern A — will play in its second consecutive regional final. The Eagles will host No. 3 Portland on Wednesday. The Bulldogs (9-5) beat No. 2 Mt. Ararat 10-9 in overtime Friday. The Eagles lost 13-6 in last year’s regional final to Cheverus.

“I couldn’t be happier with how far we’ve come from Day 1 this season,” Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen said. “We came in with a lot of heart and a lot of raw athleticism. Their skill — especially the freshmen — have really come a long way since the beginning of the season, their confidence too.”

Lydia Dexter led the attack for the Eagles with four goals. Nathalie St. Pierre and Lauren Pickett each scored twice, while Turner added a goal for Messalonskee.

“My teammates set me up nicely,” Dexter said. “We went over some new plays in practice this past week. My teammates gave me some nice passes, it was a lot of fun.”

Pickett and Dexter opened the scoring, giving Messalonskee a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the first half.

Lewiston fought right back with five unanswered goals from Ally Frechette, Kristina Blais, Emily Brochu and Lauren Lecompte to take a 5-2 lead.

But Messalonskee responded with three unanswered goals of its own — one from St. Pierre and two from Dexter — to close out the half even at 5-all.

“I knew we needed to clean things up on defense,” Pullen said. “But I know we’d been down to Lewiston before. We started to win draws. We made smarter choices with the ball on attack, we didn’t force as many things as we did in the middle of the first half. I told them we were the No. 1 seed for a reason, we had another game to play on this field. We earned the right to play on this field again, and (Lewiston) wasn’t going to take that away.”

Turner’s goal gave the Eagles the lead early in the second half, and St. Pierre tallied her second goal of the day ten minutes later to give Messalonskee a 7-5 lead. Blais scored two goals in the half for Lewiston to help cut the lead, but Pickett and Dexter netted goals for the final 9-7 score.

Blais led Lewiston with four goals on the afternoon.

“(Messalonskee) is a very good program,” Lewiston coach Skip Capone said. “They’re used to winning. We’re trying to get there. We did a lot of great things, the kids played hard until the end. They made a couple more plays than we did.”

The win gave the Eagles a 3-0 series sweep over the Blue Devils this year. Messalonskee beat Lewiston 10-9 on May 12 and 8-7 on June 2. Both games were won in overtime.

“I’ve never been on a team where we’re so competitive,” Dexter said. “We get so mad at each other at practice. We all play other sports, we all just like to compete. It’s worked out really well this season.”

Dave Dyer — 621-5639

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Twitter: @Dave_Dyer