Panek collects six points for Falcons in season opening victory
DUDLEY, Mass. –The Fitchburg State women's lacrosse team opened the 2016 campaign this afternoon, defeating the Bison of Nichols College, 21-10 in non-conference action at Vendetti Field.
The Falcons receive a strong offensive output from junior Kayla Panek who tallied a game-best six points on five scores and one assist as well as two groundballs and one caused turnover, while senior Brianna Dunn added three goals and a pair of helper for five points to go along with two groundballs. Sophomore Lia Crutchfield also filled up the stat sheet, collecting one goal, four draw controls and four groundballs.
For Nichols College, freshman Kirsten Sullivan led the way with a team-best four points on four goals and one draw control, while senior Alexa Smith and junior Brooke Marion combined for six points with three scores and three helpers as well as six draw controls and one caused turnover.
In a closely contested first half, Fitchburg State and Nichols traded goals through the first eleven and half minutes of play. Sophomore Carrie Long opened the scoring for the Falcons with her first tally on the season off an assist from classmate Bailey Miller before the senior Meghan Dombkowski responded for the Bison with her second goal on the year to knot the score at 1-1.
Following a goal by junior Olivia Morawski, the Green and Gold regained the lead on a pair of marker from junior Andrea Comeau to make the score 3-2. After a goal by Dunn made the score 4-3 in favor of Fitchburg State, the Bison knotted the score again on Morawski's second tally of the contest.
Fitchburg State went on to score the five of the next six goals with Panek registering three of those five tallies, while Miller and Comeau added one score each. Nichols battled back into the contest with a pair of scores from Sullivan and one each by Smith and sophomore Lindsay O'Connell as the Falcons took a narrow 10-9 advantage into the break.
In the second half, Fitchburg State broke the contest open, scoring seven straight goals with junior Ali Laferriere leading the way with a trio of markers, while Dunn, Miller, Panek and sophomore Corinne DeSimone added one score each for the 17-9.
After a score by Sullivan made the score 17-10, the visitors closed out the scoring on marker by Crutchfield, Miller, Comeau and Dunn, resulting in the 21-10 final.
Throughout the contest, Fitchburg State held a commanding 54-17 advantage in shots and a 19-13 margin in draw controls, while the Falcons also finished with a 32-17 margin in groundballs. In net, senior Liz Darrigo picked up the win, making six saves in the complete game effort for Fitchburg State, while junior Katherine Cotton stopped 18 shots for the Bison in the complete game effort.
Fitchburg State (1-0, 0-0 MASCAC) returns to action on Thursday as it visits the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales University at 4 p.m. Nichols College (1-1, 0-0 CCC) will take on Transylvania University on Monday, March 14th in Hilton Head, S.C. at 2 p.m.