Mark Pannenton hasn't wasted any time making an impression with the Stevenson men's lacrosse team.
The sophomore attackman, who transferred from SUNY-Cortland, scored three goals — including the game-winner with 1:49 left in overtime — to propel the No. 2 Mustangs to a 12-11 decision over No. 8 Rochester Institute of Technology before an announced 418 at Mustang Stadium in Owings Mills on Wednesday night.
Pannenton recorded five goals and one assist in the team's season-opening 17-11 victory over Nazareth on Feb. 16. In Wednesday night's extra session, he collected a pass from junior long-stick midfielder Warren Pumphrey, settled his feet and bounced a low shot from the left wing inside the right side of the net.
"Warren obviously had a great ground ball up the midfield, and he just brought the ball up, drew one slide and put it right in my stick," Pannenton said. "I kind of took a couple steps down, thinking about drawing the slide up, but he never came. So I just let it rip, and luckily we came away with the 'W' tonight."
Pannenton posted 16 goals and two assists in 19 games for the Red Dragons in 2011 but sat out last season to play for Stevenson. Count Mustangs coach Paul Cantabene as one who is happy Pannenton made that decision.
"He's a tough kid," Cantabene said. "He can shoot the ball really hard and well, and he's not afraid to take the big shot. I think he's an unselfish player. Although he's taken a lot of shots through the first three games here, I don't think he's forcing any shots. The guys all want to give him the ball. They know he can do some good things. … When you have a guy that can shoot the ball, you want to get him the ball."
Pannenton was limited to one goal in the team's 11-5 win against Hampden-Sydney on Saturday, but he said he viewed the quiet outing as motivation.
"I think my style of play fits this offense really well," Pannenton said. "That's why I like to play here so much. Our offense is coming around really good."
That offense was nonexistent in Wednesday's first quarter as the Mustangs (3-0) appeared rustier and more hesitant than RIT, which was playing its first game of the season. The Tigers owned a 3-0 advantage 87 seconds into the second period before Stevenson trimmed the deficit to two at 5-3 at halftime.
It was the Mustangs' turn to blank RIT in the third quarter, outscoring the visitors 3-0. Stevenson appeared to put the game out of reach when senior midfielder Nick Rossi bounced a shot from 10 yards for an 11-9 advantage with 2:48 left in regulation.
But the Tigers got goals from freshman attackman Kyle Sterzin and junior midfielder Taylor Wisman in a span of 27.5 seconds to knot the score at 11 and set the stage for Pannenton's heroics.
Junior attackman Chris Dashiell added one goal and one assist, and sophomore faceoff specialist Sam Wyatt outdueled RIT junior P.J. Hart to win 16 of 26 draws. Hart, who finished 3-for-11, had won 61.3 percent of his faceoffs last season.
Sophomore midfielder Kyle Aquin paced the Tigers with four goals, and sophomore goalkeeper Pat Johnston made a game-high 12 saves. But RIT coach Jake Coon was left wondering what could've been after the Tigers won the opening faceoff of overtime but twice watched Mustangs long-stick midfielders jar the ball out of their sticks in the offensive zone.
"That's lacrosse," Coon said. "Anything can happen. It's a game of chess, I guess. Coming up with the ball was great, but unfortunately, we didn't capitalize."