You’ll find no signs of rust with the Messalonskee girls lacrosse team.

After missing a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Eagles have not only picked up where they left off to start the 2021 season, they’ve gotten better. On May 20, 2019, Messalonskee beat Brunswick 15-9 to improve to a 3-5 record. Today, the Eagles are 5-0 on the season. They’ve scored 85 goals (an average of 17 per game) during that stretch. They’ve allowed just seven goals total on defense. There’s only been one game so far this season — a 9-3 win over Maranacook/Winthrop on May 1 — where Messalonskee has allowed more than one goal.

“The girls came out very strong this season,” Messalonskee head coach Crystal Leavitt said. “I had a good group of leaders and upperclassmen on the team that really kind of laid down the baseline of ‘OK ladies, this is where we’re going to go, this is what we’re doing. Help us get there, jump on board and let’s do this.’ I think the mentality right from the get was, we have a good core group, let’s get everyone on board and just do what we do.”

“I think all the girls on the team are just really excited to be on the field, whether we’re winning or losing, whatever the season was going to look like,” said senior Gabby Smart. “We’re just excited to be there together for sure after last season was such a downer. To not only come out, but to come out as strong as we were, I think everyone is pumped.”

Not only has Messalonskee piled up the goals, no one player is the obvious standout on the attack. It hasn’t been unusual this season to have as many as eight, or, during a 19-1 victory over MCI/Nokomis on May 3, 10 scorers adding to the offensive output.

“All of our attack, specifically Jenna Cassani, Gabby, myself, Frankie Caccamo, even Journey Charles, we’ve all been playing together since third grade, fourth grade probably,” said senior Shauna Clark, one of the team’s top offensive weapons. “We all know our chemistry so well with each other. Whenever me and Gabby get the ball, we know exactly where the other person is going to be cutting. It’s just so great that we have that chemistry, because , I don’t want to say it makes scoring easy, but easier.”


Mesalonskee’s Shauna Clark catches the ball during practice Tuesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

“I tell people that it’s a lot harder to guard seven girls that are a threat than it is to guard two,” Leavitt said. “Our team motto this year, we have a couple of them, but especially on attack — and with our midfield to the attack — is to make each other look good. I think we’ve done really good giving other people chances to touch the ball, passing the ball around, making defenses really work to guard. You can’t just put two or three people on one girl and think you’re going to shut us down. I want all the girls to think ‘How can I be a threat and make people guard me?'”

On defense, credit has been given to sophomore goalkeeper Shea Cassani.

“She’s a huge asset to our defense,” Clark said. “Coming in — she’s a sophomore but this is her first year playing (varsity) — she’s just stepped up so much. She’s not afraid to yell at us last minute for doing something wrong. Her clears — she can clear it past the 50 yard line — which makes it so nice, because if a team does come down and take a shot and Shea saves it, she pretty much clears it right to the attack and we can go down and convert on the other side.”

“Our defense is really strong,” Smart said. “I think we have a group of girls willing to go out there, put their bodies out there and just go hard all the time. Even in the games when they don’t get a ton of action on the other end, they still stand down there, and any chance they get, they’re ready. I think our strong defense is what helps (the offense) so much, because any time the ball does come down into our end, they’re always there, ready to roll, ready to get the ball back on the offensive end so we can score.”

Messalonskee’s Gabby Smart takes a shot during practice Tuesday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The only factor that has slowed Messalonskee at all has been the pandemic, as some games on the Eagles’ schedule had to be rescheduled due to positive COVID-19 cases. When Messalonskee takes the field Thursday against Mt. Blue, it will be 17 days since the last game the Eagles have played. Messalonskee will have an excellent test on the road Friday against Cony. The Eagles and Rams have enjoyed a strong rivalry over the years, and Cony will enter the game with a 6-2 record.

“I think everyone is excited,” Smart said. “Obviously, Cony is a big rival and we like big games like that for sure. But having that two-week break where we haven’t had a game has built up this excitement to play again, so I think it will be a really good game.”

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