MONTREAT, N.C. - - The Wilmington University men's lacrosse team started its 2019 campaign with a 14-10 win at Montreat College on Thursday afternoon at Howard Fisher Memorial Field.
The Wildcats (1-0) used an extraordinary effort in the face-off circle from freshman Anton Mackey to keep possession from the Cavaliers (0-4). Mackey went 20-for-27 inside the face off circle, allowing the Wildcats to go on the attack.
Dylan McCleaft scored the first goal for the Wildcats in the 2019 season, taking a feed from Austin Wood to knot the game at 1-1 with 10:47 to play in the first quarter. Tied at 2-2, Sean Sheehan finished off a first quarter hat trick with back-to-back goals to give the Wildcats the lead for good in the game.
Sheehan and Chris Smith continued the run into the third quarter, scoring the first two goals to open a 10-5 lead with 12:32 left in the third. Montreat would only be able to close the gap to 10-7 after three quarters of play.
TJ Maiura scored his first collegiate career goal to start the fourth before Smith added another for the 12-7 lead with 8:30 left in regulation. The teams would trade the next five goals in the game, with Austin Wood and Jake Walsh keeping the Cavalier at an arm's length down the stretch with goals.
Newcomer Sean Sheehan led the Wildcats with four goals on six shots while Jake Walsh added a hat trick with three goals and an assist. Dylan McCleaft scored twice and led the team with four assists. Austin Wood (2G, 1A), and Chris Smith (2G) also scored multiple goals for the Wildcats.
Defensively, the team was led by Mackey's 11 ground balls out of the face-off, while freshman Zach Pancake led the charge with three ground balls for the defensive third. Kyle Leary finished with a team high two caused turnovers.
Sophomore goalkeeper Noah Given made five stops in goal for the win.
The Wildcats remain in the state of North Carolina for one more game, as they head to Banner Elk, N.C., to face Lees-McRae on Saturday afternoon. The opening face-off is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.