OAKLAND — One can forgive Messalonskee goalkeeper Shea Cassani for being modest, especially in defeat.

“I always put as much effort into every game I can,” the senior said, “but today wasn’t my best day, I’m not gonna lie.”

Don’t let her words fool you. The senior and four-year starter made eight saves, a few of them spectacular, in Messalonskee’s 12-6 loss to Brunswick on Friday. The visiting Dragons (2-0), who upset the top-seeded Eagles 8-5 in last year’s Class B quarterfinal, dominated the first half and led 9-2 at halftime before the Eagles (1-2) outscored their foes 4-3 in the second frame.

Kiki Dinsmore had four goals and an assist for Brunswick, while Elizabeth Putnam added three goals and Kelsie Carlton two.

But the score would have been more lopsided were it not for Cassani, a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference first-team selection last year. Among her stellar stops was a kick save against Putnam with about 16 minutes left in the first half and a pad stop of Dinsmore’s wraparound attempt with 10 minutes remaining in the game.

It’s no wonder that late in the game a Brunswick player on the sideline turned to a teammate and said, “They have a GOOD goalie.”


“Shea is phenomenal,” Messalonskee coach Crystal Leavitt said. “Shea is a big part of our team.”

Leavitt paused, looking to find the right adjective, then simply said, “There’s no words to explain how much she means to our team.”

Brunswick coach EmaLeigh Aschbrenner agreed.

“That goalie was really, really good,” Aschbrenner said. “She stopped a lot of our really nice shots. She had a fantastic game.”

But in the end, Brunswick poured on too much, too soon. CeCe Slocum, Emily Wallace and Lydia Blood also scored for the Dragons, who netted the game’s first four goals. Blood’s goal, which made the score 6-1 with 11:59 left in the first half, was a thing of beauty, as she took Carlton’s arcing pass from behind the net and fired the ball past Cassani.

Brunswick’s Emily Wallace (6) tries to get by Messalonskee’s Madison Wills (23) in the first quarter of a girls lacrosse game Friday in Oakland. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

Messalonskee, meanwhile, had a hard time building a consistent attack against Brunswick’s defense, particularly seniors Leila Bannon, Ella Gustafson and Elly Burnham. Dragons junior goalie Maddi Barnhorst was no slouch herself, with six saves.


“I have an amazing coaching staff that allows us to give the attention attack and defense needs separately, and it was shown today,” Aschbrenner said. “Those girls have been playing D for me for four years now, so they can figure out what they need to do without even talking to each other sometimes. They’re an amazing group — one brain.”

Madi Doody and Abigail Klinge scored two goals apiece for Messalonskee, while Abby Stevens and EmmaJane Parsons added one apiece. Doody had a game-high eight draw controls.

The Eagles, who lost KVAC player of the year Francesca Caccamo to graduation but returned most of its core from last year, hope Friday’s game can be a microcosm of the season — start slow, finish strong.

“Every week, we’ve grown,” Leavitt said. “We got a lot of young girls who started for us today. We’re strong, but our goal is to keep getting stronger every day.”

Added Cassani: “We’re definitely going to get stronger as  the season goes on. This is just the beginning; things are going strong already.”

Brunswick is back in action Saturday at home against Cony; Messalonskee visits Bangor on Monday.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.