LEWISTON — Considering what Messalonskee High School girls’ soccer has had to endure over the past week, a torrential rain storm felt like nothing more than a harmless mist.
Playing their second game following the tragic death of teammate Cassidy Charette, the Eagles netted a pair of first-half goals en route to a 2-0, rain-shortened win over Lewiston on Thursday. Deteriorating field conditions forced the final 40 minutes of play to be canceled.
It took all of five minutes into regulation before the sky opened up at Don Roux Field, forcing both teams to battle Mother Nature just as much as each other. With rain waterlogging the pitch, scoring opportunities were at a premium, but nearly all of them belonged to Messalonskee.
Messalonskee’s Dakota Bragg had the best scoring chance in the early going, but missed the net aiming for the far post when Lewiston goalkeeper Kelsey St. Cyr came out of her net to play a loose ball.
The Eagles (6-5-2) found the back of the net in the 16th minute when Kassadi McPherson fired a shot from 20 yards out over the head of St. Cyr. It was the Eagles’ first shot on goal of the game.
Messalonskee added an insurance goal in the 37th minute when Brianna Leonard scored in similar fashion to McPherson except a few yards closer. Leonard volleyed a shot from the top of the box that just snuck over the outstretched hands of St. Cyr to put the Eagles up 2-0.
“Cassidy McPherson’s goal was beautiful from distance,” Messalonskee coach Penny Stansfield said. “She can score great goals like that. And Brie Leonard the same, composure and being able to strike a great ball. Both very good goals.”
As the match progressed, the field transformed into a 100-yard slip-and-slide. The midfield stripe, as well as 20 yards in both directions, was consumed by giant puddles. Players repeatedly lost their footing chasing down loose balls, making it nearly impossible to get a good look on net.
Both teams finished with four shots on goal. St. Cyr recorded two saves for the Blue Devils (6-7), while Messalonskee goalkeeper Taylor Easler made four to earn the shutout.
It was the Eagles’ first win without Charette, a junior center midfielder. Charette died from injuries sustained in a hayride rollover in Mechanic Falls on Saturday night. A moment of silence was observed prior to the start of the match.
“There is no book for something like this,” Stansfield said. “There is no ‘OK, this has happened, so this is how we will continue.’ All I know is it’s been, for me, the most horrible of weeks because of our loss and the loss of such a great young lady. The girls’ attitude and their courage has been amazing.”