SOUTH CHINA — Any coach worth their salt will tell their team, “Hard work pays off.” For Erskine Academy head coach Shara MacDonald, Tuesday’s game proved yet another valuable lesson in that regard.

The Eagles scored four goals in the final 10 minutes of the second half, snapping a tie against upstart Lawrence High School and pulling away to an 11-8 win in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B girls lacrosse season opener for both teams.

Senior Abby Haskell’s goal off a restart with 9:10 remaining broke a 7-7 tie after Lawrence had rallied from a two-goal halftime deficit, and freshman Jordan Linscott and senior Katelyn Hustus each added nearly identical strikes less than three minuutes later to lead the Eagles (1-0) to the win.

“They worked hard. Lawrence is a tough team,” MacDonald said. “Finally, we dug in and worked. Not that we weren’t working hard the whole game, because we were, but we just put it together at the end.”

Haskell finished with two goals and an assist for Erskine, while Lawrence (0-1), in just its second season of varsity competition, got two goals apiece from Hallee Parlin and Nora Buck.

Parlin, a senior attacker who scored twice in the game’s first 8:35 to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead, didn’t play in the second half.

“I really wanted the win,” Haskell said. “I really want to go into playoffs with this team. We’ve been working really well together so far.”

Erskine, after falling behind early, found its way into the game midway through the first half. With Haskell and the newcomer Linscott (three goals) leading a speedy transition game through midfield, the Eagles scored four of the final five goals of the first half to take a 6-4 lead into the break.

Catherine Silva, Ella Johnson, Linscott and Keeley Gomes all scored in the final 10 minutes of the half for the Eagles.

Linscott continued to motor downfield with the ball in her possession, over and over again forcing Lawrence defenders into difficult positions.

“She’s huge for us,” McDonald said of Linscott. “Abby’s a senior, and she’s been an anchor for us all along. With Jordan’s skills and Abby’s speed, that was a really good thing to see today.”

But as good as Erskine had been over the first 25 minutes, Lawrence was every bit its equal as the second half unfolded. Elsie Suttie and Lexi Dumont each potted early goals to pull the Bulldogs into a 6-6 tie. And when Hustus scored at the 11:39 mark to put Erskine back on top, it took Lawrence less than a minute for Buck to tie things up once again.

The Bulldogs continually won possession off draws, quickly moving downfield to establish possession and create scoring chances.

Only Erskine senior goalie Hannah Burns (six saves, all in the second half) — in her first career start — kept Lawrence from capitalizing on the momentum to take a late lead.

“We just kept fighting. These kids don’t have quit in them,” Lawrence coach Gail Bucklin said. “We made some adjustments at halftime with our pressure. We wanted to keep the ball in our attack end. We figured if we could jump on them, we could get them to turn it over in their own end.”

In the end, though, the Eagles were simply too much — forcing Lawrence into infractions inside the box which handed Erskine free cracks at the goal.

“We missed some assignments,” Bucklin said. “We had players marked that we wanted to double (team), but we missed that a few times. You take chances focusing on a couple of good players, and others hurt you.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

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Twitter: @TBarrettGWC