Lewiston showed substantial heart Tuesday afternoon after watching Messalonskee fill the net seven consecutive times in the first half at Don Roux Field. The Blue Devils crawled to within a pair on three different occasions after intermission before dropping a 12-9 KVAC and Class A East verdict.

“From about the 13-minute mark of the first half, we did a great job on defense, and we got back in the game,” Lewiston coach Skip Capone. “I was really happy with the fact that kids didn’t give up. We got it back to two goals, but it’s hard in this game.”

Sierra Thistlewaite scored four goals for Lewiston (3-2), which saw its three-game winning streak come to a halt.

Ally Fischang furnished five goals and an assist to lead Messalonskee (3-1). The midfielder strung together three and then added a fourth, all in a seven-minute span, to rally the Eagles from a 2-0 deficit out of the gate.

Mikayla Turner, Kristen Kern and Sydney Gagne joined Fischang with a goal apiece during the run that staked Messalonskee to a 7-2 lead. All four are seniors.

“They’ve had that potential all year long. This is the first time they were disciplined enough to show what they are capable of,” Messalonskee coach Ashley Pullen said. “We’ve been working really hard over the past week to make sure that they can hit the open player. They did a great job of doing that today.”

Brie Wilson and Kristina Blais scored for Lewiston in the first 1:50 of the game. Hailey Lebel and Erika Thibault also hustled for ground balls in the defensive zone to keep the Eagles off the board early.

The Devils didn’t score again, however, until Thistlewaite’s back-to-back goals off free opportunities with 4:19 and 2:06 remaining in the half.

“They took advantage in the middle of the first half. They didn’t miss. They had three or four opportunities to put the ball in the net,” Capone said. “We had opportunities that we didn’t convert. Then you’re playing from behind all the time, and they’re good enough offensively, you’re just not going to shut them down.”

Defensive work by Thibault, Lebel, Shaima Naji, Jess Cote and goalie Sam Cote kept Messalonskee scoreless for the final 10:19 of the half.

Lewiston had ample opportunities to draw closer, but not superb ones.

“On the defensive side, we have worked a lot on footwork, forcing them to a bad shot,” Pullen said. “We were able to keep them out of that hot spot right in front of the crease. We forced them to low-angle shots, and Sydni (Collier, sophomore goalkeeper) was able to make saves or they shot wide.”

Collier made six of her seven saves in the first half.

India Languet ended Messalonskee’s lone dry spell, scoring with 23:35 remaining to put the Eagles in front, 8-4.

Goals by Thistlewaite and Mikaela St. Laurent, the latter during a Messalonskee penalty, made it 8-6. Each time Kern answered for the Eagles.

Messalonskee’s reply to a Laurianne Murphy goal was the biggest of the game. After Sam Cote denied a dead-ball bid by Turner for the best of her 13 saves, Fischang retrieved the remnants off the turf and provided an 11-8 lead with a flick of the wrist.

Kern’s fourth goal of the afternoon made it a four-goal advantage, and the Eagles were able to stall thereafter.

“Oh, you’d better believe,” Pullen said of the slowdown strategy. “We failed to do that against Cony and it cost us a game.”

Wilson’s tireless efforts helped break up a couple of those long possessions, but the Devils couldn’t sustain any offense down the stretch.

“The field is so big, and it’s hard to defend that. It really is. These situations are hard to practice,” Capone said. “We’re not going to give up. The kids play really hard. We were maybe a step slow against maybe the best offensive team we’ve played yet. I’ve got to do a better job of coaching and they’ve got to do a better job executing, but overall I think you have to be proud of the effort.”

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