TOPSHAM — The Mt. Ararat field hockey team was coming into its Class A North quarterfinal riding a three-game win streak.

Messalonskee, by contrast, lost its last three games of the regular season, getting outscored 11-4.

The fortunes were reversed on Wednesday as fifth-seeded Messalonskee knocked out No. 4 Mt. Ararat 6-2 in front of a capacity crowd at Mt. Ararat Middle School.

Messalonskee (9-6) will face top-seeded Skowhegan — which beat No. 8 Edward Little 6-0 Wednesday — in a regional semifinal Saturday. Mt. Ararat finished 9-6.

Messalonskee’s six goals surprised coach Katie McLaughlin, considering her team scored just once in its final two games.

“It’s something we’ve really worked on a ton. We haven’t had a game in a week and our last couple of games we’ve really struggled to score,” McLaughlin said. “So we’ve worked on it, worked on it and worked on it. It’s definitely an area of focus, so we’re really happy to see them pull that together and have it happen today.”

Autumn Littlefield provided all the offense the visiting team needed, netting a pair of first-half goals before securing the hat trick early in the second half.

A little over six and a half minutes into the game, the visitors took their first penalty corner. Kaitlyn Smith tapped it to Littlefield and the senior blasted it from deep in the circle for the game’s first score.

Littlefield struck again thanks to crisp passing from Annie Corbett and Rylee Poulin.

Less than a minute later, Emily Crowell gave Messalonskee a 3-0 lead.

“I think that was huge for us. Coming out strong and scoring those goals for us was one of our goals,” Littlefield said. “Start strong and finish strong. I think we played a full game of field hockey today at 100 percent. The start definitely sets the tone and gives us a lot of confidence with our team.

“We’ve been practicing a lot and I think today our forward passing was a result of a lot of hard work throughout the season.”

Mt. Ararat coach Krista Chase expected Messalonskee to bring its top game on the road on the grass field.

“Messalonskee possesses such strong stick skills that in the end, those fundamentals matter,” Chase said. “They do those reverse chips and high shots, so when making my decision on who will start in goal, I chose Emma (Lapreziosa), a taller goalie, and of course none of those first three shots were that way.”

The hometown team registered its first goal when Brea Holtet found the speedy Wyley Fitzpatrick. The junior forward sent it to the back of the cage to trim the Messalonskee lead to 3-1 with four minutes remaining until halftime.

Olivia Saucier quelled the comeback when she beat Mt. Ararat keeper Lily Schenk (five saves), who replaced Lapreziosa midway through the half.

Messalonskee outshot Mt. Ararat, 5-2, and held a slim advantage in penalty corners, 2-1, over the first 30 minutes.

Five minutes into the second frame, Littlefield capped off her scoring, lifting a shot up over the outstretched Schenk.

“She moved from a back position to center forward this year and that’s a huge transition,” McLaughlin said of Littlefield. “She is really bringing a whole new energy to our team. She stepped it up a lot of notches for these playoffs as she’s making the cuts and does a lot more for us, not just the goals.”

Hannah Huston also scored for Mt. Ararat.

Freshman Francesca Caccamo rounded out the scoring for Messalonskee late to seal the win.

“It’s huge for us. This is a different place for us to come into the playoffs this year. It’s not typical (playing a quarterfinal game on the road),” McLaughlin said. “We needed to gain that confidence quick and make a statement out of this game. We really needed to show we’re still Messalonskee field hockey and we’re not done yet.”

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