WATERVILLE — Top-ranked Messalonskee led most of the way, then survived a late push from third-seeded Portland to win the Eastern Class A girls’ lacrosse title Wednesday with an 11-8 victory at Thomas College.

It was the first regional lacrosse title in the 15-year history of the Messalonskee program. The Eagles (14-1) will meet Marshwood (12-3) in the state final at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Fitzpatrick Stadium in Portland.

“We were just very ready,” said Nathalie St. Pierre, who had four goals and an assist for Messalonskee, from the Waterville suburb of Oakland. “We knew we had a great chance at winning this game. We didn’t want to come home with another runner-up plaque.”

“It’s been a long time coming but it’s time to bring that Eastern Maine championship a little bit farther north,” added Coach Ashley Pullen, who played on Messalonskee’s first varsity team in 2000.

Portland (9-6) ended its strongest year, reaching the regional final by beating second-seeded Mt. Ararat 10-9 in double overtime and sixth-ranked Cheverus 16-15 in four overtimes.

“We made it two rounds further than we’ve ever made it before. This is the best program Portland lacrosse has ever seen and they should all be really proud of themselves,” Coach Cameron McManus said.

“We have a plaque to show that this team put it all out there and really brought our program to the next level. The bar has been raised for next year.”

The Bulldogs didn’t go quietly.

India Languet’s goal after 1:24 sparked a streak of three unanswered scores and the Eagles led 7-3 by halftime. The lead ballooned to as much as 11-5 on Ally Turner’s goal with 2:14 left before Portland made its final push.

Isabel Stehli, Ella Coose and Lauren McIntyre scored in a 1:20 span to cut it to three, but the Eagles won the ensuing draw and ran out the clock.

“I’m really proud of how the girls ended the game,” McManus said. “They could have put their heads down and been out of it early in the second half, but they stuck with it.”

Draws proved a major asset for Messalonskee, which held a 14-7 advantage on draw controls, which allowed it to limit Portland’s fast breaks.

“We knew that was going to be coming, so we tried to be as ready as we could for it. Obviously it’s a great tool that they have and they execute it very well,” Pullen said of the Bulldogs’ transitions. “The idea was to minimize the damage that they did that way, and we successfully did that by having control of the ball and having possession.”

When in a set offense, the Eagles relied on balanced scoring. Languet, Lauren Pickett and Lydia Dexter each finished with two goals, and Turner also had four assists.

Coose paced Portland with three goals and an assist, and Merritt Ryan had a pair of scores and an assist, including the 100th goal of her career with 14:42 left in the first half. Liz Victor had a strong game for the Bulldogs, finishing with 12 saves.

“Merritt’s a great player we’re so pumped to have her again next year,” McManus said. “Where we’re really going to feel the loss is a big senior class, obviously. I’m not sure what we have coming in, but those are going to be the big shoes to fill for sure.”