NEWARK, Del. - - A second half surge led Lake Erie over the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team on Sunday, ruining the 2021 home and season opener, 16-7, at the WU Athletics Complex.
Lake Erie (1-3) already has the chance to get their feet wet with three games prior to Sunday, while the Wildcats (0-1) saw the field for the first time since March 7, 2020. After a stalemate in the first half, the Storm's offensive game came alive and took over the contest, winning the third quarter, 6-2.
The game was decided in the face-off circle, as Lake Erie was able to with all 26 decisions to start every possession. The Wildcats were able to hang tough in the first half by causing 10 first quarter turnovers and six more in the second quarter to gain possession back.
The Wildcats took advangtage of a man-advantage to get on the scoreboard, as Giovanni Mario took a feed from Miles Crouse for the game and season's first marker. TJ Maiura then bounced one between the legs of the goalkeeper with 57 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead after the first 15 minutes.
Newcomer Jimmy Cava gave the Wildcats a 3-2 with the lone home goal of the second quarter with 8:51 to play, but the Storm tied the match with 6:30 left, and the teams went into the break knotted at 3-3.
Jimmy Cava then scorched a rising shot just under the crossbar with 12:25 left in the third quarter to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead, but the Storm scored back-to-back goals to lead 5-4. Giovanni Marino tied the game, 5-5, with 7:13 left in the quarter, but a pair of penalties started resulted in three goals for the Storm, as they quickly led 8-5 with 3:47. They added one more in the quarter to take a 9-5 lead into the fourth.
The run continued into the final frame for the Storm, as they scored the first five to make it a 9-0 run to extend the lead out to 14-5 with 7:16 to play. Jake Copio and Cava scored in the quarter, but it was too little too late for the Wildcats, as the Storm held on for the 16-7 victory.
Cava led the Wildcats with three goals while Marino added two goals and two assists. John Greene was a menace on defense, causing six turnovers and picking up five ground balls to get the ball moving the other way. Noah Given made 19 stops in goal in the season opener.
The Wildcats have a week off before taking to the road for their next contest. They head to Mercy next Sunday with an opening whistle set for 1:00 p.m.