NEWARK, Del. - - Dominican made things interesting in the fourth quarter, but the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team fought back and scored the final two goals to win 14-13 on Wednesday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
The Wildcats (7-6, 2-2 CACC) held as large as a 10-5 lead with 8:20 left in the third quarter, but the Chargers (3-10, 2-2 CACC) stormed all the way back and took a pair of leads late in the fourth quarter. Dylan McCleaft then scored to tie the game, 13-13, with 3:43 to play before adding the winning goal with 2:04 showing on the clock.
The Wildcats jumped out to a large lead with a strong start to the third quarter. Coming out of the break leading 6-5, the Wildcats scored the first four goals of the third quarter, getting two from Sean Sheehan, to lead 10-5 with 8:20 showing on the clock. But the Chargers answered with the final two goals of the third quarter, both on the man-advantage to close the margin to just 10-7 after three quarters of play.
The Chargers then started the fourth quarter by continuing their run, scoring the first three goals of the frame to tie the contest, 10-10. Two of the first three goals in the fourth quarter were also on the man-advantage for the Chargers.
McCleaft regained the lead for the Wildcats with his first of the fourth quarter, 11-10, but the Chargers fought back with back-to-back goals to take their first lead of the ballgame, 12-11, with 6:22 left in regulation. Austin Wood scored to tie the game once more with 5: 18 to play, but Dominican again regained the lead with a man-advantage goal with 4:41 left on the clock.
Dylan McCleaft then went barreling towards the goalmouth and tied the game at 13-13 with 3:43 to play. Dominican had possession, but Zach Pancake caused a turnover and gave the Wildcats the ball back. McCleaft then put the ball away 20 seconds later, giving the Wildcats the lead for good with 2:04 to play.
Dominican called a timeout with 1:37 left and again had possession with under a minute to play, but a shot went wide and the Wildcats gained the ball. The clear-attempt was successful for the Wildcats, and the Chargers didn't get the ball back until two seconds were on the clock, deep in their own zone.
McCleaft led the way with five goals for the Wildcats while Ralph Ruggiero scored three times. Sean Sheehan scored twice while Austin Wood added a goal and an assist. Kyle Leary forced four turnovers while Anton Mackey and Jake Mollohan added two caused turnovers. Mackey also led the way with 10 ground balls, winning 15-of-28 face-offs. Noah Given made 17 saves in the win, including 11 in the third quarter alone.
Wilmington and Dominican are not tied for third in the CACC with one game left in the regular season. The Wildcats head to Felician (0-11, 0-4 CACC) on Saturday for the finale. They will play under the lights with a 7:00 p.m. start time.