Owen Lyons of Maranacook/Winthrop cradles the ball as he pivots around Kaiden Delano of Oak Hill/Monmouth/Lisbon/St. Dom’s on May 6 in Wales. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

In one of the very first practices of the year, Dan Brannigan set a June 15 target date.

The new head coach of the Maranacook/Winthrop boys’ lacrosse team, Brannigan was still getting acquainted with his new squad. It didn’t take long for Brannigan — who had a successful stint in his previous head coaching role at Oak Hill from 2012-2015 — to figure out that his new team needed big goals.

“I remember being together with them my first week and saying, ‘Guys, we can make waves this year and compete for a state title,’” Brannigan said. “The guys looked at me funny, but I knew we had the potential if we put it together. I knew we could be there playing in the very last game.”

Maranacook/Winthrop did so, averaging 15.6 goals per game as it went 15-2 and reached the Class C title game for only the second time in program history. The Hawks’ run highlighted a year of many accomplishments across central Maine, which also saw a number of players reach career 100-goal milestones.

Bennett Ross (96 points) was the leader in the midfield for Maranacook/Winthrop, which also had a strong season from attacker Ethan Chilton and goaltender Lucas Woodruff. Then there was Owen Lyons, who notched a whopping 121 points and scored his 100th career goal May 6 against Oak Hill.

“I nicknamed him ‘Silk’ because he’s so smooth,” Brannigan said of Lyons. “There was one game this year where I took him aside at halftime and said, ‘Hey, you’re my senior leader; I need you.’ He said, ‘Coach, I already have four goals on seven shots.’ I looked at the stat sheet and was like, ‘Huh, you’re right.’ He’s such a natural stud athlete, and he can have a big game without you really noticing.”


Elsewhere in Class C, Oak Hill, led by dangerous attacker Adam Hinkley, also had a strong season as it went 10-6 and reached the state semifinals. The Raiders were in an 8-8 tie with Wells in that semifinal game before ultimately falling 13-10.

Erskine Academy finished 7-8.

After reaching their first state title game a year ago, the Messalonskee boys’ team had another strong season in Class B in 2024. The Eagles finished 13-3, outscoring opponents by an average of 5.4 goals per game and reaching the state semifinals (16-6 loss to York) for the fourth consecutive season.

Messalonskee’s Brady Brunelle, the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Large School Player of the year, had 54 goals and 45 assists to finish with 320 career points. Ryan Parent added 61 goals and 24 assists for the Eagles, and Owen Kirk recorded 45 caused turnovers and 85 groundballs.

Led by KVAC Small School Player of the Year Chase Ranger and Coach of the Year Matt Reynolds, Mt. Blue enjoyed a 10-5 season in Class B. Gardiner, powered by two KVAC Small first-teamers in midfielder Cody Dingwell and FOGO Zach Kristan, had its winningest season since 2017 at 9-6.

Messalonskee’s Tyler Hansen, right, is slowed down by Gardiner’s Owen Chadwick (29) and Owen Grant during a May 30 game in Gardiner. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

On the girls’ side, Messalonskee entered 2024 set for a possible rebuilding year after the loss of head coach Crystal Leavitt and a number of key seniors from a year ago. Yet the Eagles maintained their winning ways, going 10-6 with a state semifinal berth under new head coach Cora Clukey.


“We had some brand-new people who became some of our relied-upon players,” Clukey said. “We had to go back to the basics as far as catching and throwing, stick checks and that kind of thing. We put a lot of work in — the players and coaches all did — and it was great to see it all click toward the end of the season.”

The highlight of the season for Messalonskee came in the Class B quarterfinals against No. 3 Brunswick. The Dragons had defeated the Eagles 13-5 in the season opener, but in the June 8 playoff rematch, Messalonskee came back from an early deficit to claim a 10-5 victory.

“We were down 2-0, and I remember I specifically didn’t call timeout,” Clukey said. “In between quarters, I just said, ‘Two goals is nothing, you guys.’ We had great passes, and we just weren’t finishing. We got two goals in the second quarter that were some of the best team goals, and from there, it just all clicked.”

Cony’s Kate Morin attempts to snag the ball from Messalonskee’s Emma-Jane Parsons during a May 24 girls’ lacrosse game in Oakland. Anna Chadwick/Morning Sentinel

Messalonskee had one of the top scorers anywhere in the state in senior E.J. Parsons, who netted 71 goals in just her second season playing lacrosse. Chloe Masse also had a strong season in the midfield for the Eagles, whose season ended with an 18-1 loss to eventual state runner-up Greely in the semis.

One of Messalonskee’s Class B rivals, Cony, was also facing some question marks coming into the season with only one senior, Maci Freeman. Like the Eagles, though, the Rams also found success as they went 10-5 to eclipse the double-digit win mark for the third straight season.

“We were uncertain because we had lost seven seniors with three of those going on to play at the college level, but our freshman and sophomores really stepped up, and we had some juniors get involved as well that we weren’t expecting to get into the mix.” said Cony head coach Gretchen Livingston. “We were excited with what we were able to accomplish as such a young team.”

Freeman and junior Abby Morrill, both KVAC Small School first-team selections, each reached the career 100-goal mark. Freeman had 42 goals and 24 assists for the Rams, and Morrill added 48 goals and 16 assists. Cony fell 18-1 to eventual state champ Greely in the semis.

Led by All-KVAC Small School first-team midfielder Chloe Roberts, who scored 47 goals and added 29 assists, Mt. Blue had its third winning season in a row at 8-7. Gardiner just missed the Class B playoffs at 7-7, while the new Lawrence/Winslow co-op finished 3-11.

In Class C, Maranacook went 14-2 behind one of its own career 100-goal scorers in Ashley DeSchamp, reaching the Class C semifinals. Erskine Academy went 8-7, notching its first winning season in five years.

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