FARMINGTON — Even with an over-.500 record, even while in good position for a Class A North playoff spot, there was a feeling among players on the Messalonskee girls soccer team that they needed a strong showing Tuesday night at Mt. Blue.

“We were coming off three ties and a couple of losses. We really needed this win to know that we can do this,” junior midfielder Shauna Clark said.

After a shaky start, it was mission accomplished for Messalonskee. Lily Wilkie scored twice, Clark and Lily Moore added goals, and the Eagles topped Mt. Blue 4-1 under the lights at Caldwell Field.

Mt. Blue freshman Emma Casavant, left, battles Messalonskee’s Lydia Bradfield battle for the ball during a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Tuesday night in Farmington. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

“We’ve been struggling this season with putting balls in the net,” said Messalonskee coach Chris DelGiudice, whose team trailed 1-0 minutes into the game before scoring four unanswered goals. “Being able to come out and put those in, especially after being down, and being able to fight through with as young of a team as we are, it’s a good feeling.”

The Eagles improved to 5-3-3. The Cougars, who got their lone goal from freshman Katelyn Daggett, fell to 5-7-0.

“I thought we had a great first half, we came out and we got a goal right off the bat,” coach Fred Conlogue said. “I thought we played well enough to win, we played well enough to tie the game. Unfortunately, they just got a few more opportunities than we did.”

True to Conlogue’s word, the Cougars did look like the stronger team early on, as Daggett scored off of a corner and an assist from Emma Dunn 6:39 into the game, and Mt. Blue threatened with a few more chances against Messalonskee keeper Hannah DelGiudice.

None landed, however, and with time winding down in the half, Messalonskee got its first breakthrough. The Eagles got a corner and the ball was played close to Clark rather than into the box, and the junior drilled a perfect shot from 20 yards out that floated into the top far corner and made it 1-1 with 8:29 to go until the intermission.

“I’ve probably never had a shot like that,” Clark said. “We do work on those a lot during practices, really trying to get those quick 1-2s at the corner, and you either have a quick cross or one across the keeper.”

With the score tied, the feel of the game had changed.

“That’s huge,” DelGiudice said. “At that point, we’re not in a hole of any kind, it’s a level playing field. We’re zero-zero, we just have 40 minutes to get our job done.”

The Eagles didn’t wait long in the second half to grab the lead. A ball played from right to left made its way through the box and found Wilkie, who skipped it back into the far right side of the goal for a 2-1 lead with 36:06 to play.

“I saw that the goalie had shifted over because she didn’t see me,” Wilkie said. “I was like ‘Well, that side’s open,’ so I just picked my corner like we do in practice.”

Her second goal, a curving shot off her left foot that sailed inside the left post from between 20 and 25 yards out, made it 3-1 with 14:45 left and was another pretty play.

“Chris, what he does is he puts little cones out in our goal, so there’s maybe three feet, four feet that we’re allowed to shoot in,” said Clark, whose team went up 4-1 on Moore’s goal exactly one minute later. “It really helps us (keep from) shooting in the middle of the goal, and just (be) aiming for those corners.”

Given the nature of the goals, Conlogue knew he could only tip his cap to an extent.

“Those were some great shots,” he said. “You could tell, as soon as they hit it, it was going in.”

The Cougars’ best chance in the second half was one they didn’t get. In the 47th minute, Eryn Parlin was brought down in the box, but the officials didn’t call a foul, which would have meant a penalty kick.

Conlogue said the opportunity for a penalty kick could have made for a different game.

“It would have changed the approach, maybe,” he said. “I can’t use that as an excuse. They scored three goals on us (after halftime).”

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