PORTLAND – Caleb Kenney of Portland brought a seesaw battle in the Eastern Class A boys’ lacrosse championship game Wednesday night to an emphatic end.

Kenney intercepted a pass just outside the box and scored his sixth goal of the game with less than three minutes left to propel the top-seeded, unbeaten Bulldogs to a 10-8 victory against No. 3 Messalonskee at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

“I was praying for a missed ball to come to me,” said Kenney, who picked off the pass about 25 yards in front. “The goalie was off guard. He was just getting back into the crease. I had to put it away.”

The goal snapped an 8-8 tie.

Seamus Kilbride then scored into an empty net with 17 seconds left.

Portland, the defending Class A champion, will play Scarborough for the state title at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium.

It was the Bulldogs’ second victory of the season against the Eagles (10-4). On May 15, Portland won 14-11 at home.

“We knew they were going to come in harder than last time when we played them,” Kenney said. “They’re not an easy team to beat by any means. They definitely played tight man-to-man defense. They shut off a couple of our big guys.”

The score was tied or the lead changed 11 times.

“We played really, really well,” Messalonskee Coach Tom Sheridan said. “Offensively we could have played a little bit better, but defensively the guys played outstanding.”

It was the Eagles’ fourth appearance in the regional final in five seasons.

“(Messalonskee is a) very talented team,” Portland Coach Eric Begonia said. “They got up and down the field. They made good adjustments on our guys. But I think in the end our experience paid off.”

For Portland (14-0), Jason Knight scored two goals and had one assist. Kevin Nielsen scored a goal and had an assist. Bronson Guimond had an assist.

For Messalonskee, Ryan Bender, a senior midfielder, scored four goals. Nate DelGuidice, Brandon Monroe, Brett Glashen and C.J. Cheevers each scored a goal.

The goalies from both teams played well.

Chris DelGuidice, a senior, made 15 saves for Messalonskee. Ryan Jurgelevich, a sophomore, made 13 saves for Portland.

“It was a pretty good matchup, actually,” Begonia said. “(Messalonskee) is always in the hunt in the East. It may be a surprise to people in the Portland area, but it wasn’t a surprise to us.”

 

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

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