Nashua, NH --- Sophomore Jackie Connors (Ashland, MA) finished with a game-best five points off four goals and one assist to help lead Worcester State to an 11-7 triumph over Rivier in the season opening match for both squads on Wednesday evening.
The Raiders (0-1) were paced by freshman Amanda Wickens' (Tyngsboro, MA) first collegiate hat trick while senior Jessica Amaral (E. Providence, RI) added one marker and a pair of helpers for three points in the setback.
With the contest knotted up 3-3 in the waning minutes of the opening period, Connors sparked a 3-1 run to close out the period with the Lancers on top 6-4. Connors notched a pair of goals and moved into a tie with junior teammate Jackie Lawlor (Westford, MA) for 10th on WSU's all-time scoring list.
Freshman Alaina Martin (E. Longmeadow, MA) and Kilday both recorded scores to start off the second half to double-up their opponents (8-4), but Rivier answered the call when Amanda Wickens and Amaral registered consecutive goals to threaten with 24:11 remaining.
The Blue and Gold, however, ended the period with another 3-1 spurt to finish off the game. O'Brien started the rally at the 21:01 mark before Tully hit one home six minutes later. O'Brien sent a nifty pass to Connors to end the outburst with 12:50 left in regulation.
After junior Savannah Newwirt (Newbury, NH) and senior Rebecca Wickens (Tynsboro, MA) helped the hosts stake the early 2-1 margin, O'Brien and Kilday answered the call with back-to-back free position tallies for the 3-2 advantage in favor of the visitors around the midway point.
Amaral then broke a Rivier scoring drought that lasted nearly 20 minutes when she assisted Amanda Wickens with 6:36 on the clock in the opening stanza.
Freshman Angelina Sutherland (Tynsboro, MA) distinguished herself defensively by picking up a contest-high eight ground balls while Kilday and O'Brien combined for five to help the Blue and Gold lead the final tally (25-19).
WSU also led in draws (11-9) and were perfect on clears (12-for-12), but failed to take advantage of their free position shots, going 2-for-9 for the contest.
Rivier converted two of their four tries from the eight-meter line and were 15-for-16 on getting the ball out of their own defensive zone. Newirt and Amanda Wickens both amassed a trio of ground balls each for the hosts.
Connors ended the contest with sole posession of 10th place on the all-time scoring list with an astounding 82 points in 20 career games.
Both squads will continue their respective season slates with home-games over the next few weeks. Worcester State entertains Manhattanville on Wednesday, March 12 with a 4 PM draw while the Raiders play host to Albertus Magnus on Tuesday, March 18 at 3:30.