OAKLAND — Just three years ago, the Messalonskee girls soccer team was fighting just to score goals. This season the Eagles are in the midst of a playoff race with some of the top teams in Class A North.

Tuesday, the team took another step forward with a 2-2 double-overtime tie against perennially strong Bangor.

With the tie, the Eagles remain among the top four teams in the division at 8-2-1. Bangor, in second place entering the game, moved to 9-1-1.

“We always respect Bangor, they’re a great team,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said. “This year with the talent we have on the team, I thought we’d be able to give them a game. I thought we did that today.”

This one was almost two games in one. The Eagles took a 2-0 lead in the first half on the strength of two big plays from junior McKenna Brodeur, the first a goal and the second an assist. After that, they more or less hung on, giving up a pair of goals in the second half to Rams freshman Libby Spekhardt.

“It’s tough to come from behind, especially when you’re on someone else’s field,” Bangor coach Joe Johnson said. “But I was happy with the way they battled back.”

Brodeur shocked the Rams when she scored just 25 seconds into the game with a long left-footed blast from the left side that beat Bangor keeper Emily Gilmore to the upper right corner of the goal.

“I wasn’t really expecting it that quick,” Brodeur said of her 13th goal of the season. “It was just there.”

Sixteen minutes later, Brodeur sent sophomore Lauren Pickett in alone with a pretty through pass between two Bangor defenders. Gilmore (five saves) hesitated, then came out of her goal, which gave Pickett an opening to the right corner for her 12th goal of the year.

“I try to go for the off side from the goalie,” Pickett said. “I know that once you hesitate it’s really hard to come back.”

Down two goals, the Rams picked up their pace and put pressure on the Messalonskee defense and junior goalkeeper Sarah Van Der Karr, who was filling on for the injured Taylor Easler.

“Taylor Easler got hurt on Friday so Sarah just stepped in today and took over,” Stansfield said. “Really that’s her first full varsity game. She did fantastic.”

Van Der Karr finished with 14 saves, none better than her point blank stop against Spekhardt with five minutes left in the first half. Bangor finally got on the board with just under five minutes gone in the second half after a defender failed to clear the ball and Spekhardt shot from 10 feet just squirted through Van Der Karr’s hands.

The Eagles just missed their best scoring chance of the second half when Fern Calkins headed Brodeur’s corner kick to the far post inches wide of the net. The Rams responded with a well-designed goal set up by speedy midfielder Maddi Cormier who dribbled down the right side and crossed a ball near the end line to Spekhardt for a quick shot from six feet out with 13 minutes, 44 seconds left in regulation. Earlier in the second half, Van Der Karr came up with another big save, this time coming out of her net to stymie Cormier on a breakaway.

The Rams, started just two seniors, had depth at nearly every position and Johnson substituted frequently. The Eagles stayed afloat, not only with big plays from Van Der Karr and Brodeur but from stellar play at midfield by freshmen Edin Sisson and Caitlin Parks.

“We’ve been playing very well,” Brodeur. “We went from barely hanging on to a playoff position to now being in fourth (place).”

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