NEWARK, Del. - - A back and forth tilt was decided in the fourth quarter and it was the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team that came out on top, 17-14, in its Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference opener on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The teams were knotted, 6-6, after the first quarter and again 9-9 at the half. The Wildcats (1-2, 1-0 CACC) went up by as many as 14-11 in the third, but took just a 14-13 lead into the fourth quarter. The Wildcats won the fourth quarter, 3-1, including the final two goals of the game to take the contest, 17-14.
The Wildcats won the face-off battle, 18-16, and the ground ball battle, 37-34, to hold possession.
A high scoring first quarter produced a 6-6 game, as the Wildcats jumped out to a 5-1 lead. Giovanni Marino started the scoring while Jake Copio scored on the man-advantage for the 2-0 lead in the first 2:05. Marino started a 3-0 run for the Wildcats while Miles Crouse and TJ Caton got on the scoreboard and the Wildcats led 5-1 with 6:55 left. Post answered with three straight of its own, and five of the next six to tie the game, 6-6, after the first quarter.
Post took a brief lead with the first goal of the second quarter, but then the Wildcats answered with three straight to regain a 9-7 lead. Ralph Ruggiero got on the score sheet while Logan Stinson and Marino scored two minutes apart. But Post used the man-advantage to their favor, scoring the final two goals of the quarter to tie the game going into the break.
Jimmy Cava ripped one home to start the third before Jacob Herman put the Wildcats up, 11-9. The teams traded goals until Keeshawn Bell fired one home, followed by Austin Wood scoring his first of the year on the man-advantage for the 14-11 lead. But Post wouldn't quit, as they scored twice before the end of the quarter, closing the gap to with 14-13.
Giovanni Marino scored his fourth of the day to start the fourth, putting the Cats ahead, 15-13, with 11:53 to play. Post won the ensuing face-off, but a save from Austin Wood, and a couple of hit posts kept the ball out of the net until the Eagles scored with 7:23 to play.
The Wildcats won the next face-off though, and quickly got a goal from Jimmy Cava to regain a two-goal advantage with 6:11 to play. Jaeden Henson forced a turnover on the Eagles' next possession and the Wildcats went the other way, getting a goal by Jake Copio with 4:34 showing on the clock, now leading by three, 17-14.
Noah Given made two saves the rest of the way and the Wildcat defense kept Post off the scoreboard in the final 4:34 to secure the win.
Giovanni Marino scored four goals and added an assist to lead the office while Jimmy Cava added three goals and two assists. Logan Stinson scored twice and added two assists while Jake Copio scored twice as well.
John Green led the defense with four caused turnovers and scooped up five ground balls while Jaeden Henson had three caused turnovers and had four ground balls as well. Zach Pancake had four ground balls and forced two turnovers as well. Noah Given made 11 stops in goal.
The Wildcats hit the road for their next contest, as they head to Chestnut Hill on Tuesday for a night contest. The opening face-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.