Panek nets three scores, including game-winner in overtime for Falcons
WESTFIELD, Mass. – Junior Kayla Panek scored the game winning goal just 44 seconds into overtime to give Fitchburg State a 7-6 win over Westfield State in Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) women's lacrosse action at Alumni Field this afternoon.
The Falcons halt Westfield State's winning streak at six games. Both teams have identical 7-4 (1-1 MASCAC) records.
Just 44 seconds into overtime, senior Brianna Dunn fed Panek near the top of the fan, and Panek wheeled to her left and fired a waist-high shot that Owls goalie Mimi Khampaeng deflected but could not save to give the Falcons the 7-6 win.
Fitchburg took control of the match early on, scoring the first three goals of the game as junior attacker Ali Laferriere assisted on the Falcons first marker, then scored the second and third goals of the game for the 3-0 advantage.
Westfield State stopped the bleeding with goals from Marissa Nimeskern and Roni Orcutt to cut the lead to 3-2 at the 9:37 mark.
The Falcons took a 4-2 lead into the half after sophomore Jaimee Lutz scored an unusual goa, where the ball appeared to be checked out of her stick, but trickled across the goal line with 2:13 left in the half.
Following the break, the Green and Gold extended the lead to 6-2 on a Panek goal after sophomore Corrine DeSimone fed Panek off of a free position attempt with 17:35 left in the game.
Westfield State battled back however, scoring the final four goals of regulation as Orcutt cut the lead to 6-5 with a free position shot that bounced home with 7:05 to play before Orcutt corralled a rebound off the stick of Blair Smith, following a free positon shot and tucked the ball inside cross bar with just seven seconds remaining in regulation (6-6) to force the overtime period, setting the stages for Panek's game winner 44 seconds into the extra stanza.
Panek paced the Falcons with a game-best three points on three scores and two ground balls, while Laferriere added three points on two goals and one assist to go along with five draw controls. Sophomore Carrie Long was also solid for the Green and Gold, totaling three ground balls, four draw controls and three caused turnovers. With her three tallies Panek eclipsed the 100 point milestone and currently has 102 career points.
For Westfield State, Orcutt finished with three points on three scores as well as one ground ball, while Nimeske added one point on one score with one ground ball and four caused turnovers for the Owls.
Throughout the contest, Westfield State held a narrow 23-19 margin in shots, while also controlling the ground balls with a 20-17 advantage. In between the pipes, senior Liz Darrigo turned away five shots for the Falcons in the complete game effort, while Khampaeng made nine saves on the afternoon for the Owls in 60:44 minutes of action.
Fitchburg State returns to action on Wednesday as it hosts the Chargers of Colby-Sawyer College for a 5 pm start. Westfield State will travel to Western Connecticut State on Thursday for a 7:00 p.m. draw.
Portions of release courtesy of Westfield State SID office