The Wilmington University women's lacrosse team closed the gap to as few as four goals after putting together a string of six-of-seven goals in the second half, but St. Thomas Aquinas curbed the run to take a 17-11 victory in nonconference action on Tuesday afternoon.
The Spartans (6-4) stormed out to a 7-0 lead to start the game at before the Wildcats (3-9) battled back to go into the halftime break only down 8-4. But the Spartans again started hot in the second half, scoring the first five goals of the second stanza to retake a 13-4 lead.
Wilmington scored six of the next seven goals overall to pull to within 14-10 with just over eighth minutes to play in regulation before St. Thomas Aquinas stemmed the tide with three consecutive goals over a 2:30 span.
Sara LeBrun and Rebekah McCurry led the offensive attack in getting the Wildcats into the contest in the first half, scoring back-to-back goals twice, sandwiched around a Spartan goal to get to within 8-4. McCurry tallied the final goal of the first half on a free position attempt with 14 seconds left.
Out of the halftime break, the Spartans scored the first five goals in the opening 9:26, retaking a 13-4 lead. McCurry again sparked the Wildcats offense with a goal with 18:49 to play followed by a fast goal from Katie Spence at the 18:20 mark off a feed from Ashley Kroll. Maddie Hewitt got into the offensive action with a free position goal with 16:55 to play before McCurry made it four straight for the Wildcats with 15:06 left.
After the Spartans scored to snap the streak, LeBrun responded with back-to-back goals to bring the visitors within striking distance once against, 14-10, with 8:03 left.
The Wildcats outgained the Spartans, 17-13, in draw controls to gain control at the start of a possession, but was hindered by 22 turnovers throughout the game to give the Spartans the ball. St. Thomas Aquinas outshot the Wildcats, 36-20, and picked up more ground balls, 21-17, in the game.
McCurry and LeBrun each scored four goals for the Wildcats while McCurry added three assists for a team high seven points. McCurry also collected nine draw controls to finish with a game high. Corinne Dries made 10 stops, five in each half, for the Wildcats while Kaitlyn Lonergan recorded seven stops, five in the first half, to allow the Spartans to get out to the large lead.
The Wildcats get back to Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference with their next contest, heading to Dominican on Thursday in a makeup game from March 21. The opening draw will take place at 4 p.m. at the Torne Valley Sports Complex.