OAKLAND — The Messalonskee field hockey team showed it had plenty left in its proverbial tank despite some key graduation losses by posting a convincing 4-1 win over Cony on Wednesday in the Class A North season opener for both teams.

The Eagles broke a 1-1 tie with three second half goals in a dominating performance over the final 30 minutes.

“I think most importantly we had a lot of good effort from all the young ones,” senior center back Lydia Dexter said. “I think we have just as much talent as we did before, it’s just whether or not we can piece it together and how quickly we can.”

Cony senior Delaney Keithley put the Rams on the board first with a hard blast through traffic following a penalty corner 10 minutes into the game. The Eagles roared back for four straight, beginning with a goal later in the first half from sophomore Kaitlyn Smith, also off a penalty corner. Sophomore Megan Smith, Dexter and Kaitlyn Smith scored in the second half for Messalonskee.

Statistics favored the Eagles. They outshot the Rams 10-4 and had 13 penalty corners to Cony’s three.

“It was definitely a slow start,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said. “I think some of us were thinking ahead too much, past this game, but the second half we really kind of locked it down much better and played our game.”

The Eagles face rival and defending state champion Skowhegan on Friday and then on Tuesday play Mt. Blue, another contender in Class A North.

The Rams got off to a fast start, nearly getting a goal from sophomore Kami Lambert on a partial breakaway but senior goalie Hannah Pinney (four saves) made the stop. Keithley’s goal came off an assist from Olivia Varney. The Eagles responded with six penalty corners over a seven-minute span that prompted a timeout from Cony coach Holly Daigle. The final penalty corner produced a goal from Kaitlyn Smith with Autumn Littlefield notching the assist.

“It was a great first half,” Daigle said. “We gave up obviously more corners than we would have liked (but) I thought our defense played great. It’s tough to stop some of their hits. They get off quick, hard, hard shots.”

Megan Smith put the Eagles in front for good when she tipped in Ally Turner’s shot with just under seven minutes gone in the half. Dexter made it 3-1 with a reverse stick shot from just inside the penalty circle that rattled high off the left post and trickled into the cage off the back of goalie Jessica Lee (five saves).

“I just wanted to get it off as quick as I could,” Dexter said “I think all game our biggest struggle was getting it into the circle but not getting the (quick shot) off.”

Megan Smith capped the scoring with just under 12 minutes left when she redirected a shot from Littlefield off a penalty corner.

While Messalonskee travels to Skowhegan on Friday, Cony will host Mt. Blue.

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