TOPSHAM — While the Mt. Ararat girls soccer team struggled out of the gate on Wednesday night, its opponent, No. 5 Messalonskee, didn’t.

Emma Parsons scored two goals in the first half and Natalie Tracy converted a penalty kick in the second as Messalonskee (8-5-2) topped No. 4 Mt. Ararat in a Class A North quarterfinal game on a chilly night in Topsham.

Messalonskee will travel to top-seeded Bangor this weekend to square off in the regional semifinals.

“I told my girls today that we had to be ready for anything,” said Messalonskee coach Chris Delguidice. “That first goal was big. At times we’ve had some difficulty scoring this season but that allowed the girls to just play their game from that point on.”

The two sides played to a 0-0 draw in the regular season. With that in mind, Messalonskee wanted to attack early and often on Wednesday.

“I think we wanted to be positive, that’s something we’ve been working on this entire season,” said Parsons, a sophomore. “Our positive mentality was a big difference in our performance tonight (Wednesday).”

“We started too slow in the first half,” said Mt. Ararat (7-5-3) coach Chad Kirk. “That was the biggest difference. We got down early and had to play catch-up for most of the game.”

Parsons scored her first goal with 19:47 remaining in the first half when her shot deflected off a Mt. Ararat defender and past goalie Maddie Kinney (nine saves). Her second goal came 10 minutes later when she tipped home a cross from teammate Audrey Tracy on a corner kick.

Mt. Ararat’s Maddie Kinney dives on the ball before Messalonskee’s Natalie Tracy can tap it over the line during a Class A North girls soccer quarterfinal Wednesday in Topsham. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

“It felt amazing to help the team, especially on a stage like this,” said Parsons. “We wanted to make sure this wasn’t our seniors’ final game, I’m glad it’s not.”

Mt. Ararat clawed its way back in the second half when freshman Islah Godo crossed the ball to fellow freshman Brooklyne Choate, who found the back of the net to cut the lead in half with 16:40 remaining.

All Mt. Ararat momentum was lost just five minutes later when Kinney was called for a foul when she appeared to have hit the ball out from a Messalonskee player’s feet on a breakaway, resulting in the Messalonskee player falling head over heels. Much to the demise of Mt. Ararat players and fans, Messalonskee was awarded a penalty kick which Natalie Tracy put into the bottom left corner to put the game out of reach.

“It may or may not have been a penalty, I thought she hit the ball,” said Kirk. “We can’t let plays like that dictate the outcome of the game, there’s a lot that we could’ve done better tonight.”

Despite the loss, Kirk knows this was a successful season as he builds for the future.

“We had a very successful season, we really built as we kept playing,” said Kirk, who started three freshmen on Saturday. “I’m so proud of this team, it’s just tough that it has to end this way.”

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