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Wildcats Hang on Down the Stretch, 12-11, Over Georgian Court; Advance to First Ever CACC Tournament Championship

Giovanni Marino scores the would be game winner against Georgian Court, 12-11. Copyright 2021; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Erin Harvey.
Giovanni Marino scores the would be game winner against Georgian Court, 12-11. Copyright 2021; Wilmington University. All rights reserved. Photo by Erin Harvey.

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NEWARK, Del. - - For the first time in program history, the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team will play for a Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference Tournament Championship, as the No. 2 seeded Wildcats defeated No. 3 Georgian Court, 12-11, on Thursday in the semifinals at the WU Athletics Complex.

The Wildcats (5-3) will face top seed and host Chestnut Hill on Saturday afternoon at Victory Field #1 on the campus of Plymouth Whitemarsh High School. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

Thursday was a back-and-forth affair between the two programs, with the Lions (8-5) fighting back after every Wilmington run.

The teams were tied, 2-2, after the first quarter and the Lions took a brief 3-2 lead to start the second quarter. But the Wildcats went on a 4-0 run, started by a man-advantage goal by Miles Crouse. Logan Stinson gave the Wildcats the lead off a feed from Jake Copio and then Giovanni Marino kept the run going with a goal from Logan Stinson, 5-3. Logan Stinson out the Wildcats up, 6-3, with 6:10 left in the second quarter.

But the Lions answered right back, scoring the final two goals of the quarter to cut the deficit to 6-5 heading into the halftime break.

Georgian Court scored back-to-back goals to start the third quarter, making it a 4-0 run of their own to retake the lead, 7-6, with 4:55 to play in the third. But then the Wildcats went on a game deciding run in the final four minutes of the third frame.

Jimmy Cava started the run to tie the game and then Logan Stinson scored his third of the game to take the lead, 8-7, with 2:10 on the board. Jacob Herman tallied his lone mark of the game less than a minute later. Logan Stinson found the back of the net before the end of the quarter, giving the Wildcats the 10-7 lead going into the final quarter.

The Lions' Randy Collins had a hot hand in the second half, scoring the first goal of the fourth quarter to bring the score to 10-8. But Noah Given made a save on the Lions' next shot and the Wildcats gained momentum.

A turnover gave the ball back to the Lions, but the Wildcats surrounded the clear attempt and quickly got the ball back. TJ Caton followed with a goal and the 11-8 lead with 8:09 to play.

Tucker Plasse won the ensuing face-off and Peyton McDonald scooped up the ground ball. Georgian Court was sent to the box on a pushing penalty and Giovanni Marino made them pay with a goal from in front of the crease with 5:43 to play. It would end up being the game-winning goal for the Wildcats.

The Lions had three shots with four minutes left, but it was Randy Collins that scored on the third attempt with 3:29 left. Georgian Court made things interesting with a goal 34 seconds later and then another goal just 16 seconds after that, pulling to within 12-11 with 2:38 to play.

Georgian Court won the ensuing face-off but their Second shot was saved by Noah Given and John Greene came away with the ground ball, going the other way for the Wildcats.

With the shot clock winding down, TJ Caton's shot was wide and Georgian Court was the first to the ball. They got the ball into the offensive end and found themselves on the man-advantage with eight seconds left.

Out of a timeout, the Wildcat defense came up large, knocking the ball to the ground and the Lions never got a shot off on the final possession.

Logan Stinson led the Wildcats with four goals and two assists while Jake Copio scored one goal and led the way with four assists. Giovanni Marino scored two goals and one assist while TJ Caton had a goal and one assist. Peyton McDonald recorded five ground balls while John Greene had four ground balls. Noah Given made 12 saves for the Wildcats.