WATERVILLE — You often hear teams talk about “playing for something bigger,” particularly as seasons wind down and playoffs games start popping up on the schedule.

They talk about hardware, teammates and competitive spirit as the driving forces of any postseason run.

But the Messalonskee High School girls lacrosse team truly was “playing for something bigger,” not just on Thursday in a 10-3 thumping of Lewiston on Smith Field at Thomas College, but throughout this season.

“This was huge for us, as a team and as a family, as well,” senior Emily Hogan said. “I think we were definitely playing for more than just a win today.”

Messalonskee improved to 10-1 in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A with the win. Sophomore Ally Turner scored four goals, including three in the first half when the Eagles opened up a 7-0 lead on the Blue Devils (7-4) after less than 15 minutes of play. Junior Lydia Dexter scored three of her own, while classmate Sydni Collier made six saves in goal to earn the victory.

But as nice as the complete performance was, the day belonged to the senior class — and not just because it was Senior Day.

The seven Eagle seniors were honored on the field, but only after a pre-game ceremony that dedicated the day — and season — to Cassidy Charette. Charette, who was killed in a hayride accident in October of 2014, would have been a senior on the team this spring.

“It really brought us together, knowing we were playing for Cass, who was more than just a teammate and a friend to all of us,” Hogan said. “For me, and I think I’m speaking for everyone when I say that we really played our hearts out (Thursday) the whole time.”

Hogan, one of Charette’s best friends, has worn Charette’s No. 4 throughout the season at the behest of Charette’s mother, Monica Charette.

“It was kind of just a reflex. As soon as Monica asked me, I was straight ahead yes all the way,” said Hogan. “I thought it was a great way to represent my friend and a great opportunity to shine her light throughout the season.”

“It’s always overwhelming for our family, which you can imagine,” Monica Charette said. “But this class is incredibly supportive, and this community has just held us up for these last 18 months.

“We’re so grateful for that.”

The team presented Monica Charette with flowers, a poem written by the team and a memory jar on the field prior to the first draw of the afternoon. Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen admitted to wondering how the team would respond to such an emotional event.

“You worry about it being distracting,” Pullen said. “All of the pre-game festivities really can kind of take the focus off of the game. It was a little bit of a concern until the first whistle and they came out and scored the first goal. Then it wasn’t a concern anymore.”

Turner alleviated that nervousness just 2:34 into the contest and added another goal less than two minutes later.

“We all came out with a little bit of extra fire in our hearts for Cass today,” said Turner, who has 47 goals this season. “We’ve been really executing things a lot better, and I think we’ve improved our fundamentals. All of us are just really looking forward to playoffs and want to win with this group of girls.”

On May 12, Messalonskee beat Lewiston on the road, 8-2. Though the final scores were similar, Pullen saw her squad getting better Thursday.

“We did a better job of moving the ball in attack, we did a better job of being smart about what we did with possessions on our attack and defensively we made some adjustments,” Pullen said. “So, yes, that obviously constitutes an improvement.”

For the Charette family, this lacrosse season has served as a salve for a wound that will remain extremely tender.

“It’s really healing for us and for her friends,” Monica Charette said of the pre-game ceremony and others like it. “I worry more about them than I do myself. I worry about these young people that have to face the loss of their best friend. No one usually does that when they’re 17- or 18-years old.”

It was also clear Thursday, Cassidy Charette has continued to impact her friends and family.

“I think Cassidy has touched them all in a way that’s significant,” Monica Charette said. “I think her light is infinite in this community. It’s not one incident, it’s something these kids are going to take with them for a lifetime.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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