Molly Dankowski doesn’t have a special secret for scoring as many goals as she does, even against the near-constant obstacle of double and triple-teams.
Sometimes she eases up on effort in the first half and ramps it up after halftime, when opposing teams are more tired and have a tougher time making adjustments. Sometimes she’ll get teammates to help out, setting picks for her to get open.
But the numbers that Dankowski, the All-FCN Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year, compiled in her four years at Pinecrest Academy, really come down to just one thing.
“I don’t know,” Dankowski said. “I work hard.”
Dankowski, now set to continue her lacrosse career at Mercer University, surely ranks among the best lacrosse players that Forsyth County has ever produced. In one measure, she’s the best: Her career total of 341 goals, which Dankowski reached in her last-ever game with the Paladins, is the most a county player has ever amassed, surpassing the 337 of Lambert’s Jenna Kasmarik.
“It feels nice,” Dankowski said with a laugh about the milestone. “If feels like I achieved something, but I really have to thank my team for that, because I couldn’t have done any of that without them.”
Dankowski’s senior season was her most productive yet. She was productive in almost every area of the sport, scoring 114 goals, contributing 41 assists, gaining 118 draw controls and picking up 70 ground balls. And while she was unable to get the first playoff win of her career, Dankowski’s nine-goal performance in the first-round matchup against Westminster got Pinecrest exceptionally close in a 20-19 loss.
Although Dankowski has long maintained that lacrosse is her top priority, she’s been a multi-sport athlete at Pinecrest, playing on the Paladins’ varsity basketball team and going through head coach Ken Lacy’s notorious year-round conditioning program.
Now she can narrow her focus, which is an exciting prospect, as she related to a future Mercer teammates who called to check in recently.
“It will be the first time (for me) in forever, just playing one sport,” Dankowski said. “So I’m really excited.”
College will almost certainly require an adjustment from Dankowski, who has been her team’s top option and the main focus of the opposing defense in most of the games she’s played in high school. In the college ranks, her talent won’t be so start.
It’s no surprise how Dankowski plans on dealing with that, though.
“I’m just going to work hard and see what happens,” Dankowski said. “…That’s just my personality.”