WATERVILLE — Put the fleet-footed Messsalonskee field hockey team on turf and the Eagles take their game to another level.

That was the case Friday night at Thomas College where the second-seeded Eagles took on No. 3 Mt. Blue in a Class A North semifinal. Just over two weeks ago, Mt. Blue knocked off Messalonskee on its home field and the Eagles couldn’t wait to get another crack at the Cougars.

“I think we had the mindset that we wanted to redeem ourselves from last game,” said Messalonskee senior Haley Lowell, who scored a goal and controlled the midfield in a 5-1 victory. “We came out with a lot of intensity, scored early and kept the momentum going from there.”

Messalonskee (14-2) advanced to the regional final, where it will play top-seeded Skowhegan on Tuesday at Hampden Academy at a time to be determined. Mt. Blue finished 12-4.

The Eagles began to assert themselves after an intense opening eight minutes in which neither team had a shot on goal. With an umbrella defense that kept the Cougars bottled in their own end of the field, they gradually found their range, their passing and utilized their speed.

“Turf is our friend,” Lowell said. “We love turf.”

Junior Autumn Littlefield broke the scoring when she blasted a shot from 15 yards out with 8:40 left in the half following a penalty corner.

“I think our overall intensity was really high and we maintained that the whole time,” Littlefield said. “We’ve been working a lot this week on communication and defensively it’s really important to work as a unit. You’re much stronger as a unit than individuals.”

Littlefield set up the Eagles second goal when she dribbled into the circle and dished to Abby Breznyak to make it 2-0. The Eagles out-shot the Cougars 9-0 in the first half and 21-3 for the game. Mt. Blue goalie Erika McArthur finished with 10 saves, including a beauty on a breakaway from Littlefield in the first half.

Messalonskee played even better in the second half and got a pair of goals from Lowell and Rylee Poulin. Like Littlefield, Lowell has a strong shot and she put it on display with a solo effort that made it 3-0.

“I think I dribbled around one girl at the 25 and I just saw the lane and took the shot,” Lowell said. “Nobody really guarded me honestly.”

Lowell drew an assist on Poulin’s goal when she drilled a shot from outside the penalty circle and Poulin tipped the ball over McArthur’s shoulder.

The Cougars got on the board with 14:32 left in the game following a penalty corner when Hannah Minns took a pass from Ellie Pelletier and used a reverse stick shot to beat Julia Vigue.

“We had some missed opportunities,” Mt. Blue coach Jody Harmon said. “We fought to the end and I’m very proud of this team and how they played tonight.”

Chloe Tilley finished the scoring for Messalonskee with 8:42 left and the defense didn’t allow the Cougars another shot. In addition to Littlefield and Lowell, the Eagles drew strong defensive performances from Annie Corbett, Libby Breznyak and Emily Crowell to go along with aggressive play from Ally Turner, Megan Quirion and Tilley.

“They were definitely determined, energetic, worked really hard on their tackles and their passes,” Messalonskee coach Katie McLaughlin said. “They just really worked as one whole unit.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.