Freshman striker Kaleigh Panek from Shelton High scored what proved to be the game-winner when the Western Connecticut State University women’s soccer team defeated Buffalo State, 3-2, in the second day’s action at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Tournament on Saturday afternoon.
Panek was set up by a sharp pass from senior forward Allison Oakley (Beekman, N.Y.) with 38:59 remaining in the contest to give the Colonials a 3-1 advantage.
The Colonials fell behind early following a goal by the Bengals’ Claire Dyal in the 10th minute, but did not trail for long. Just 51 seconds later, Bailey McCollum (Cold Springs, N.Y.) scored an unassisted goal with 10 minutes elapsed.
With 8:17 remaining in the first half, senior midfielder Lucy Daniels (Bethel) gave WestConn a 2-1 lead with her first marker of the season.
“We played extremely well against an experience side today,” stated WestConn head coach Alex Harrison. “Our veterans brought us back from an early deficit and it was a freshman, Kaleigh (Panek) that put away the game-winner for us. As a team, they discovered what is going to take to be successful this season.
Buffalo State made it interesting after Emma Boccolucci finished off a pass from Alexis Hanson at the 62:19 mark.
WestConn keeper Alexis Lainchbury (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) earned the victory between the pipes on Saturday. She made three saves and withstood 15 shots by the Bengals.
The Colonials (1-1) continue their early-season road swing on Wednesday, Sept. 5, when they travel to Middletown to take on Wesleyan University. Game time against the Cardinals is set for 5 p.m.