NEWARK, Del. - - A four-goal first quarter helped propel the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team to a 9-7 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory over Post on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex on Senior Day.
Trailing 2-1, the Wildcats (6-5, 1-1 CACC) scored the final three goals of the quarter and never looked back, never relinquishing the lead the rest of the game. Post (1-10 0-2 CACC) clawed to within a single goal on three different occasions, but the Wildcats always had an answer.
Jake Walsh tied the game, 2-2, with his lone goal of the game in the first quarter before Dylan McCleaft, and Ralph Ruggiero added goals towards the end of the opening quarter to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead.
Post scored the first goal of the second quarter to get to within 4-3, but the Wildcats answered with back-to-back goals from McCleaft to regain a 6-3 lead with 5:22 left before the half. The Eagles scored the final goal of the second quarter, but the Wildcats went into the break leading 6-4.
The Eagles got to within a goal again in the third by scoring first in the third, but Chris Smith gave the Wildcats a two-goal lead once more with his second of the day with 10:28 to play in the third quarter.
Smith then put the Wildcats up 8-5 with a goal to start the fourth quarter, but Post answered right back with back-to-back goals less than a minute apart, climbing to within 8-7 with 9:02 to play.
Post had nine shots following the goal until the 3:27 mark of the fourth quarter, but Noah Given made a couple of saves and got the help of a goalie's best friend on a shot that hit the post and stayed out.
The Wildcats then put the Eagles away with a goal with 37 seconds left, icing the game as Post was pressing with double teams.
Dylan McCleaft led the offense with four goals and an assist while Chris Smith scored three times and added two assists, both for five points. Jake Walsh scored once and added two assists while Ralph Ruggiero added the other goal.
McCleaft also led the team with six ground balls while Anton Mackey came up with five and Jake Mollohan and Austin Wood chipped in with four each. Mollohan led the defense with three caused turnovers.
The Wildcats take to the road for their next contest, as they head to Chestnut Hill on Wednesday for a game under the lights. The opening whistle is set for 7:00 p.m.