WATERVILLE — The Messalonskee girls lacrosse team has built a winning tradition the past few seasons, appearing in the last three state championship games, winning it all in Class A in 2016.

This year may prove a little more difficult despite a drop to Class B. The Eagles bring back just three seniors and have nine freshmen on their roster. Friday, on the turf at Thomas College, they ran into a veteran Yarmouth club that relies on a group of seniors who have also been there before.

In fact, the Clippers have appeared in the past seven Class B state championship games, winning three of them.

Results were predictable as the Clippers pulled away early and eased to an 18-7 victory.

Yarmouth sits atop the Class B standings at 8-2, both losses coming to the top two teams in Class A South while Messalonskee fell to 6-4.

“I know we have a target on our back going into the second half of the season but we’re ready for it,” Yarmouth senior Greta Elder said. “We want to rise to the expectations our town has, our community, the state of Maine for Class B. Obviously we want to win it all.”

The Clippers not only shared the ball, they also controlled it for nearly 90 percent of the game. They led 11-5 at the half, pushed that lead to 10 goals in the first three minutes of the second half then eased off the gas as head coach Dorothy Holt substituted freely.

“This team wants to go to the state final,” Holt said. “We really play as a team.”

Senior Eva Then led the Clippers with five goals. Ally Turner, Kaitlyn Smith and Lauren Pickett each scored twice for the Eagles while Katie Seekins added a single goal.

Turner, who is headed to Wagner College on a lacrosse scholarship, had trouble getting untracked due to Yarmouth’s harassing defenders.

“It was a little more physical than I was anticipating,” she said. “But it is what it is.”

Messalonskee’s best moments came in the final 2:30 of the first half when it scored three straight, two from Pickett and one from Smith, all assisted by Turner.

“I’m a point guard in basketball.” Turner said. “I like seeing a play develop. Me and Lauren were clicking really well. She was making good cuts and able to finish. If it was working we were going with it.”

The Clippers put any comeback hopes to rest with four goals in the first 2:18 of the second half, getting two apiece from Emma Marston and Then.

The Eagles defense is comprised of freshmen and sophomores, including goaltender Sadie Colby, who finished with six saves.

“They’re coming along quick,” Messalonskee coach Crystal Leavitt said. “We’ve been in games all season and we don’t really sub a lot. Numbers-wise we can’t afford to. They’ve stepped up in ways I couldn’t have dreamed about doing so it’s really great.”

Yarmouth goalie Isabel Serrano finished with five saves, two of those against Turner, including a breakaway.

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