Nazareth Wins Empire 8 Opener versus RIT

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Seniors Michelle Cook (Waterloo) and Kristine Olijnyk (Webster Thomas) and sophomore Alyssa Johnston (Canandaigua) combined for 11 goals and eight assists Tuesday, as host Nazareth cruised past RIT, 16-9, in the Empire 8 Conference opener for both teams.

Cook scored two goals and passed for a career-best six assists as the Golden Flyers improved to 6-2 overall and 1-0 in the E8. Johnston scored five times and added an assist and Olijnyk contributed four goals and one assist. Sophomore Shelby Vakiener (Fairport) scored five goals for RIT, which dropped to 1-6 overall, 0-1 in conference play. Johnston and Cook each have 29 points for the season for Nazareth. Johnston has a team-best 23 goals, while Cook leads the team with 16 assists and draw controls with 27.

Nazareth scored three times before the game was barely five minutes old as Johnston, Olijnyk and Cook scored in succession. After RIT scored, Cook assisted on goals by Olijnyk and sophomore Megan Cregan (Brighton) to extend Nazareth's lead to 5-1.

RIT responded with three straight goals -- including two by Vakiener -- to close within 5-4. Johnston scored off another assist from Cook and senior Chelsey Amidon (Marcellus, NY) added an unassisted score with :20 left in the half to give Nazareth a 7-4 edge.

Vakiener scored again to open the second half before Nazareth broke the game open by rattling off seven straight goals to go up 14-5. Johnston and Olijnyk each scored twice during the spurt with freshman Amy McIntosh (Horseheads), Cook and Cregan also contributing.

Amidon and Johnston each scored in closing minutes to round out the Nazareth scoring, while Vakiener added two more goals fro RIT in the last four minutes.

Nazareth had advantages in shots (35-23), ground balls (21-17) and draw controls (16-11). Johnston had five ground balls and four draw controls and Cook had five draw controls. Nazareth freshman Tara Prosak (Jamesville, NY) played all 60 minutes in goal and tallied a career-best 12 saves. RIT's Katelyn Crane (Palmyra-Macedon) had nine saves.

Nazareth is idle this weekend before returning to action to play at St. John Fisher April 6 at 4:00 p.m.


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