LAKEWOOD, N.J. - - Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference defending champions Georgian Court broke away in the fourth quarter against the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team, taking the 16-9 victory in close battle throughout at Georgian Court Track & Field Complex.
The final score doesn't indicate how close the game was throughout the contest, as the Wildcats (5-5, 0-1 CACC) scored with 13:57 left in the fourth quarter to bring the visitors to within 9-8. But the Lions (5-7, 1-0 CACC) rattled off seven straight goals to take command in the game.
The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead in the first CACC contest of the year, turning a 1-0 deficit in the first quarter to a 3-1 lead after 15 minutes of play. Dylan McCleaft tied the game before Jake Walsh scored back-to-back goals, the second coming with just 16 seconds left in the quarter.
The Lions scored the first goal of the second quarter, but McCleaft gave the Wildcats a 4-2 lead with his second goal of the game with 12:45 to play in the half. But the Lions would squeeze the Wildcats the rest of the quarter, scoring the final three goals of the half and head into the break with a 5-4 lead.
Georgian Court extended the lead out to 6-4 with the first goal of the third quarter before the Wildcats found the offense again. Dylan McCleaft recorded a hat trick with his third goal of the game before Jake Walsh tied the game with his third of the day, 6-6, with 9:05 showing on the clock. After the Lions regained the lead with a mark, Sean Sheehan got on the board with 6:26 to play, tying the game once more at 7-7. But again, Georgian Court would score the final goal of the quarter, taking an 8-7 lead into the final frame.
They would also score the first goal of the fourth quarter to go up 9-7, before Austin Wood got in the scoring column with a goal with 13:57 left to bring the Wildcats to within 9-8. But then the Lions took off, scoring seven straight starting with the 12:04 mark of the fourth. They scored a pair of man-up goals within the six-minute mark and scored their final goal of the game with 1:16 left in regulation.
The Wildcats outshot the Lions, 37-32, in the game, including 24-23 in shots on goal, but the Lions' Austin Geissel made 15 saves for the home team. Anton Mackey went 17-for-27 in the face-off circle on the day, The Lions went 4-for-8 on man-up opportunities while the Wildcats went 0-for-2.
The Wildcats have little time to think about the loss on Wednesday, as they return to the WU Athletics Complex on Saturday after four games on the road. They take on Post in another CACC game on Senior Day. The opening face-off is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.