OAKLAND — Messalonskee’s talent got it off to a healthy start this season. Now the Eagles are finding the chemistry to go with that talent.

Lauren Pickett scored twice to lead the Messalonskee girls soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Brewer in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A match Friday.

McKenna Brodeur scored the Eagles’ other goal on a direct kick. Taylor Easler made six saves for Messalonskee (6-2-0). Maria Low scored the lone goal for Brewer (5-3-0) on a penalty kick.

The Eagles spent the first half of the season trying to get a talented freshman class up to speed with a veteran nucleus. On Friday, coach Penny Stansfield saw the kind of strong all-around play she’s been waiting for since preseason.

“That game for me, and I think for my girls, was definitely the turning point,” Stansfield said. “We started the season strong. We have a very talented freshman input on our side. They’re young so they don’t necessarily have the experience yet, but today showed me that they could step up as a team. We were more tenacious. We were scrapping for things. We’ve not done that yet this year.”

The Eagles outshot the Witches, 21-10. Messalonskee dominated possession in the first half, controlling each third of the field.

Freshman Ella Moore led the defense by marking Gretchen Wright, Brewer’s leading scorer.

“Messalonskee did a great job keeping Gretchen contained,” Brewer coach David Hamel said. “They always had two or three people on her. They did a great job bottling her up.”

“I tried to stay really close to her and tried not to let her get many opportunities,” Moore added.

Messalonskee’s wall in the middle of the field created opportunities for Pickett, Brodeur and speedy freshman Caitlin Parks to break out for scoring chances.

Brodeur got the Eagles on the board with 14:19 left in the first half by finding the far corner on her direct kick. She just missed making it 2-0 by aiming at the same spot on a run five minutes later.

Sisson set up Pickett’s first marker on a rush, with Pickett winning the one-on-one race to the through ball then beating Brewer goalie Mikayla Henderson with 7:34 left.

“We’ve been working on trying to pass up the field rather than just kicking it,” Pickett said. “Actually that was a new record with five passes (on that possession), and that’s how I scored.”

“Coming into today’s game, I wanted to work on possession,” Stansfield said. “It’s something we’ll continue to work on.”

Seven minutes into the second half, Parks flew down the right wing and got off a hard shot toward the far post. Henderson made a diving deflection, but a hustling Pickett beat her mark to the loose ball and found the middle of a wide-open net for a 3-0 lead.

“I consider (Parks) our Yorkshire Terrier, so her name is ‘Yorkie,'” Stansfield said. “That’s just what she’s like. She’s fast and she gets up underneath your legs and about.”

Hamel lamented the number and imbalance (24-10, Brewer) in the foul calls, but Messalonskee’s takedown in the box led to the Witches’ score on Low’s PK with 22:46 to go.

Brewer generated a few more chances for itself in the second half than the first but Easler always had an answer. She dove left and punched aside their best bid to pull within a goal with 10 minutes left. Moments later, she stopped Haley Robertson’s bid to make the Eagles pay for a rare mistake, a dangerous inside clear that Robertson intercepted.

Randy Whitehouse — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @RAWmaterial33

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