GARDINER — It was a monumental day for the Messalonskee girls lacrosse team Wednesday, though the biggest celebration wasn’t even reserved for the final score.

Senior Nathalie St. Pierre scored a hat trick as the Eagles completed the regular season with a 13-4 victory over Gardiner at Hoch Field on senior day for the Tigers. The three scores put St. Pierre over the 100-goal mark for her high school career.

“It feels really good, honestly,” St. Pierre said. “I didn’t know I was close until a couple of games ago, when (Eagles coach Ashley Pullen) decided to put together a spreadsheet of all of our career statistics. She said to me, ‘You know that you’re only four goals away from 100?’ I had no idea.”

The day’s other milestone moment went to sophomore Ally Turner, who paced the attack with five goals and four assists. Her fourth goal of the afternoon, late in the first half to put Messalonskee up by a 6-2 score, broke the school’s single-season scoring record. Turner has 52 goals this season heading into the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A championship game against Lewiston at Thomas College.

“We have some very prolific scorers here,” Pullen said. “They have a nose for the net.”

All was not lost for Gardiner, which will play Morse in the KVAC Class B title game Saturday, also at Thomas. Knowing what they were facing in the top-ranked team from Class A North, the Tigers (7-5) focused on improving for the road ahead in the Class B playoffs.

Senior Maddy Beaulieu had two goals and an assist in the loss, but she noted facing a tough Messalonskee (11-1) squad will only make Gardiner better.

“I thought we played well,” Beaulieu said. “They’re No. 1 in Class A, but the better teams we play, the better we’ll get.”

Ultimately, the Eagles had too much of the one thing the Tigers did not — namely, junior midfielder Lydia Dexter.

Dexter finished the day with three goals and an assist, though the statistics barely pointed out the effect Dexter had on play as she pounced on loose balls, pressured Tiger defenders both on and off the attack and transitioned play through the middle of the field.

“That’s Lydia for you. She’s a gamer. She’s a hardcore competitor. She gets that fire, and she plays with a ton of heart,” Pullen said. “She’s a leader out there, she directs traffic and she really makes things happen.”

Turner netted two goals in the game’s first four and a half minutes, the second one assisted by Dexter on a nifty pass through the front of the goal area. St. Pierre made in 3-0 for the Eagles with her first of the day, before Hailee Lovely put the home team on the board. India Languet made it 4-1 for Messalonskee, and Lauren Pickett made it 5-1 midway through the first half.

Gardiner hung tough with Beaulieu’s first of the game before the break, but the Eagles essentially sealed it with four goals in the final 3:21 of the half for a 10-2 lead.

“I’m still proud of our team. We knew our destiny before the game, but you still want to go out and improve,” Gardiner coach Chad Kirk said. “We actually had some opportunities. We had some possession, we just got a little sloppy with it. But it’s things we can work on.”

Gardiner goalie Kaylin Mansir made three point-blank saves in the opening minutes of the second half to keep Messalonskee at bay, allowing Beaulieu to score her second in transition.

St. Pierre scored early in the half and again with just 2:39 remaining, both assisted by Turner, sending the visiting fans into an appreciative uproar as she celebrated her 100th career goal with her teammates on the field.

“Ally knew I was getting close to 100 and I wanted to get it this game, she assisted on the last two and I was really thankful to her for recognizing that and helping me get there,” St. Pierre said. “Everyone’s a contributor on this team. We know our strengths.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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