CHARLOTTE, N.C — No. 12 Gannon broke open a tight match by scoring eight of the final 11 goals and earned an 18-12 victory in the season opener at Queens (N.C.) on Tuesday evening.
Holding onto a slim 10-9 lead in the second half, Gannon produced a slight cushion with consecutive goals by Sarah Grzybinski and Jess Fugate.
Queens scored on a free-position shot with 11:55 to play, but Gannon answered again with two more goals. Fugate had an unassisted tally, before Grzybinski scored off an assist from Kimberly Neagle to extend the lead to 14-10 with 9:17 to play.
A Brittany Barnwell unassisted goal for Queens momentarily stopped the run, but Gannon answered again. This time, the run was the game-winning rally. The Lady Knights rattled off four consecutive goals to put the match away.
Christie Valentine, Fugate and Caitlyn Fisher all scored unassisted. Rachel DerCola put the icing on the cake, scoring off an assist from Fugate for an 18-11 advantage with 53 seconds left. Queens tallied one more goal from Barnwell with 21 seconds remaining.
The first 40 minutes of Tuesday’s match went back-and-forth. The two teams battled to ties of 3-3, 4-4 and 5-5 during the first half. Gannon eventually went to halftime with a 7-5 lead after Neagle scored with 1:14 left in the half and Fugate found the back of the net with one tick left on the clock.
Fugate led the Gannon offensive unit with six goals and four assists. DerCola recorded three scores and three assists. Grzybinski completed Gannon’s hat tricks with three goals of her own.
Fisher chipped in two goals and three assists. Stevie Lombardoni netted a pair of goals off the bench. Neagle and Valentine added one goal each. Margaret Maslyn recorded 10 saves between the pipes.
Gannon improved to 1-0 with Tuesday’s season-opening victory. Queens evened its record at 2-2.