WATERVILLE — When a four-goal lead with 15 minutes to play was whittled down to a one goal cushion with just under four minutes left, Messalonskee High School girls lacrosse senior captain Ally Turner reminded her teammates to stay cool.

“A lot of it was just trying to keep everyone from panicking. We’re a really young team, and if you play good defense, that time winds down really quickly,” Turner said.

It took a strong defensive effort in the final minute and a couple big saves by Sadie Colby late, but Messalonskee did not panic, holding on for a 9-8 victory over Biddeford in the Class B quarterfinals at Thomas College.

No. 4 Messalonskee, now 9-4, will play at No. 1 Yarmouth (11-2) Wednesday in the semifinals. No. 5 Biddeford ends the season at 10-3.

“Sadie Colby (13 saves) did a great job today. She stepped up at the beginning of the season and she stepped up at the end. She’s just got it,” Messalonskee coach Crystal Leavitt said. “Biddeford, we hadn’t seen them, but we’d heard about them. We knew this would be a tough game. We knew we were neck and neck. With the schedule this year, we didn’t have a lot of games like that.”

Biddeford’s best chance to tie the game came with just under 30 seconds left, but Colby made the save on Serena Speight’s shot. The Eagles were able to get the ball downfield. Biddeford regained possession in its own end and called timeout with 13.5 seconds left to set up a final rush, but the Tigers were unable to get off another shot.

“When I saw there was a minute left on the clock and (Biddeford) still had the ball, I was just thinking we needed to pack it in and not let them in the middle, because they’re not going to score from the 12,” Turner said.

Peyton McKeown’s goal with 4.9 seconds left in the first half pulled the Tigers within a goal, and Biddeford controlled play for the first five minutes of the second half, getting to ground balls and staying on the attack. The Tigers couldn’t turn that momentum into immediate offense, however, and when the Eagles went on the attack, they made it count.

Messalonskee senior Ally Turner looks to make a pass as Biddeford’s Claudia Janelle defends during a Class B playoff game Saturday at Thomas College. Photo by Jennifer Bechard

Turner’s goal, her third of the game, with 19:08 to play pushed Messalonskee’s lead to 7-5. A few minutes later, Kaitlyn Smith and Katie Seekins added goals 35 seconds apart, and the Eagles led 9-5 with 15:38 left in the game. Messalonskee’s quick transition game, utilizing long passes, was a factor in their quick goals, Leavitt said.

“We utilized those long passes today. We were catching them. We were trusting each other. I think it was a great advantage for us,” Leavitt said.

“(Turner) is a huge force, and it’s extremely hard to stop her. It takes more than one person,” Biddeford coach Caitlin Albert said.

The Tigers comeback began with a McKeown goal with 14:22 to play. With 9:33 remaining, Paige Laverriere scored to cut Messalonskee’s lead to 9-7. With 3:56 left, Grace Boisvert’s goal pulled Biddeford within a goal.

At the other end, Tigers keeper Ella McKenzie was coming up with big saves to keep the game close. McKenzie made eight stops, a handful coming late in the game as Biddeford inched closer.

“Ella steps up in big situations and has been like that all season,” Albert said.

With the lead shrinking, Turner encouraged her teammates.

“I just think it’s really important to be under control when momentum’s not on your side, and to take advantage when it is. We don’t need to panic. There’s no need to worry,” Turner said. “When we get (momentum), hopefully that’s when we take advantage, go down, and hopefully put some in the back of the net.”

Lauren Pickett also scored three goals for the Eagles. Lawrence led the Tigers with three goals.

“It was super competitive. Both teams played well, both offensively and defensively, and it was fun to go out there and compete,” Turner said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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