VASSALBORO — The Erskine Academy golf team continued one of its best seasons ever Monday at Natanis with a victory over Lincoln Academy that pushed the Eagles into a four-team shootout Friday for the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championship.

In KVAC Class A action at Natanis, Messalonskee topped Cony to advance to a match against top-seeded Camden Hills on Wednesday at Samoset. The winner of that match advances to Friday’s KVAC championship. Both Class A and B conference finals will be held at Rockland Golf Club with the winners receiving an automatic bid to the state team championships Oct. 8 at Natanis.

Erskine defeated Lincoln 164-186 in a match decided by medal play only. The Eagles are 11-0 and thinking big picture.

“We have a great team and we’re playing awesome golf,” Erskine sophomore Connor Payne said. “For the team, I hope we can pull it together and win states. That would be the ultimate goal.”

Payne shot a 39 that included sinking a 45-foot putt for par on the fourth hole. Teammate Robert Harmon shot a 40, followed Aaron Pion (41) and Justin Browne (44). Lincoln senior and two-time schoolgirl champion Bailey Plourde was medalist with a career low 33 on the Arrowhead Course at Natanis.

“She’s a great player,” Payne said. “I knew I had to go low if I was going to beat her. I just couldn’t do it.”

Erskine will next play Gardiner on Friday.

The second-seeded Tigers rolled past Spruce Mountain at The Meadows Golf Club.

Sophomore Cody Rizzo shot a 39 to lead the Tigers (8-3).

“He had a great day,” Gardiner coach Patrick Quinn said.

He defeated Noah Preble 39-47. Cam Bourassa, Sam Jermyn, Hunter Chasse and Charles Stevens also won matches for the Tigers, who will play Erskine in the Central B final Friday at 2 p.m. in Rockland.

“We’ve done pretty well,” Quinn said. “We can’t eait to get another shot at them. They have been the team to beat all year. I’d love to see us shoot our best on a day in which they don’t their best.”

Five of Erskine’s top players are members at Natanis, which is where it plays home matches and also where the state and individual championship are held.

“We feel like we’re in good position,” Erskine coach Mark Bailey said. “This being our home course, the guys know Tomahawk pretty well. On a good day we can compete with anyone.”

Team and individual championships for Class A and B will be held on the Tomahawk course at 36-hole Natanis, as well as conference qualifiers. The Eagles played Tomahawk many times over the summer.

“We come out almost every day really and play 36 holes,” Payne said. “That’s where we played all summer and that’s where we play best on.”

Messalonskee must get past Camden Hills to reach the Class A championship, which will include the three division winners. The Eagles (7-2) lost twice this season to the Windjammers.

“I think our No. 1 and No. 2 have to play very well to beat Camden,” Messalonskee coach Jim Kerschner said. “Blake (Marden) and Jacob (Bernatchez) both have to play well. I think depth-wise we’re OK after that. The season’s been fine. They’re all young kids, sophomores and juniors. Sometimes they lose their focus a little bit but it’s really pretty good.”

The Eagles defeated Cony 6-3 on a combination of match and medal play. Their top four shot 175 to Cony’s 183. Bernatchez was medalist with 39 while Marden shot 45, halving his match against Cony’s Jake Whitney.

The Rams (4-5) lost twice to Camden Hills this season and Monday for the third time against Messalonskee.

“We have a good group of kids, we really do,” Cony coach Shawn Johnson said. “I have a couple of surprises and I wasn’t expecting them to do as well as they did. But we ran into some good teams this year.”

In KVAC B action, Waterville also prevailed, sinking Oceanside 7-0.


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