OAKLAND — Save for the briefest of stretches early in the second half, Messalonskee kept the most potent attack in girls soccer in the state of Maine in check.

But that stretch was costly as Kristina Kelly and Ella Pierce scored just two minutes apart to lead Camden Hills to a 3-1 win over Messalonskee in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A meeting Tuesday afternoon. Kelly, a freshman, enjoyed a two-goal day for the unbeaten Windjammers (4-0-0) and had a hand in all three goals.

“She plays a lot of high-level soccer,” Camden Hills coach Meredith Messer said of Kelly. “It took her a little bit in the first half (to find space), but she’s very composed on the ball. She doesn’t get rattled very easily.”

Camden Hills, ranked No. 1 in Class A North Heal point standings, entered the week averaging 10 goals per game following three consecutive blowout wins to open the campaign. For Messalonskee (1-3-0), which entered the day still stinging from a lopsided 5-0 loss to Brunswick last week, it was a step in the right direction.

“Would it have been great today to get the game-winner and run on the field to celebrate? Of course,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said. “But for me as a coach, I’m looking at the progression this team has made over the past four years. Last year, we lost to this team 10-1, but today we were 1-1 at half and it could have been an interesting ending.”

The Eagles played Camden Hills remarkably even through the first 40 minutes, neutralizing Kelly’s 23rd-minute penalty kick with Lydia Bradfield’s goal just nine minutes later. Bradfield collected a dangerous through ball played by Edin Sisson to the right side of the 18-yard box, and Bradfield took one touch before beating Windjammer goalkeeper Isabelle Lang to the near post.

Messalonskee had the better run of play through the first 20 minutes, while Camden Hills started shifting the pitch in its direction over the final 20 minutes of the half. But when the two teams emerged from halftime, Camden immediately created chances.

In the 42nd minute, Kelly struck on the counter-attack to make it 2-1. In the 44th minute, her bid trapped Messalonskee goalkeeper Hannah DelGuidice off her line, and Pierce capitalized for the two-goal cushion.

To the Eagles’ credit, they didn’t crumble under the weight of the deficit, though as the half wore on it became clear that such a determined defensive effort had begun to take its toll after 70 minutes of play.

DelGuidice returned from injury to make 11 saves in the loss.

“We played very defensively today,” Stansfield said. “We can’t mark them one-on-one. They just have so many talents, to their credit, throughout their team. But if we could make it about team defense today, then maybe we had a shot. We had chances, but the difference today was that they put theirs away and we didn’t today.”

The best of the Eagles’ chances came early in the match on counter-attacks. Lauren Pickett had two fantastic looks at goal in the first four minutes of the match but was unable to beat Lang (six saves).

Messalonskee nearly equalized just past the hour mark. A long punt from DelGuidice sent McKenna Brodeur off on a foot race toward goal, but her hard far-post shot was turned expertly away by Lang. On the ensuing corner kick, Brodeur delivered to Fern Calkins, but Calkins’ free header was pushed wide right.

“Messalonskee did a really nice job with defensive pressure, pressuring both from behind the ball and once we received the ball,” Camden Hills coach Meredith Messer said. “We hadn’t seen that kind of pressure yet. I think we got out of our shape a little bit.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC


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