BRUNSWICK — The first quarter and a half of the 2024 opener was not what the Messalonskee boys lacrosse team had in mind to start its season.

The rest of the game, though? That was fine — more than fine, in fact, as the Eagles roared back from a three-goal deficit to claim an 11-8 victory over Brunswick at Bowdoin College.

Brunswick (0-1) was the stronger team to start the game and was rewarded for it with the opening goal midway through the first quarter. Messalonskee would tie it with 2:53 left in the first on a goal by Matthew Fulling, but two goals by Robbie Bowen and another by Gage Senecal gave the Dragons a lead entering the second.

After Messalonskee answered just over a minute into the second quarter, Senecal restored the three-goal lead with 5:59 left in the half. Yet goals by Ryan Parent, Tyler Hansen and Cooper LeClair over the final five minutes tied the game at 5-5 and gave the Eagles all the momentum entering the second half.

“We always know that we have a full tank heading into the second half,” said Messalonskee senior Brady Brunelle. “We just had to keep our composure (when we were trailing 5-2), keep our heads high and not let that get to us.”

Jack Kinney then scored just over a minute into the second half to give Messalonskee its first lead. The Eagles scored twice more to pull ahead 8-5 with 7:03 left in the third quarter, and while a goal from James Bowen three minutes later ended Brunswick’s drought, Brunelle scored with 38.6 to make it a three-goal game again.

Not about to lie down, though, Brunswick got goals from Robbie Bowen with 8:28 remaining and Avery Tatham with 5:59 left to cut the deficit back to a goal at 9-8. Messalonskee didn’t allow another goal the rest of the way and got two of its own from Parent and Brunelle to close out the victory.

“Our defense came in clutch; all of our defense is experienced,” Brunelle said. “Our goalie (Andrew Witham) was stopping those shots, and our defense was keeping it out of the zone. It was all them today.”

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