SPARKILL, N.Y. - - A slow start loomed large for the Wilmington University women's lacrosse team as St. Thomas Aquinas fended off the Wildcats' second half run, 16-12, on Tuesday afternoon at Spartan Field.
The Wildcats (0-2) fought all the way back from a 10-1 first half deficit to get to within 13-10 in the second half, but the Spartans (1-1) held off the hard charging Wildcats for their first win of the season.
The Spartans came out of the gates and put the first six goals on the board, racing out to a 6-0 lead with 17:01 left in the first half. Taylor Lambeth finally got the Wildcats in the scoring column with a free position shot with 14:55 left before the break.
But St. Thomas Aquinas scored the next four goals of the first half, taking a 10-1 lead with 4:53 to play before the half. Mariah Spencer scored her first collegiate career goal with 4:02 left in the first half, ending the scoring for the stanza and sending the Wildcats into the break trailing 10-2.
The teams traded goals to start the second half, but then the Wildcats started to make their comeback. Alexis Miller scored her first collegiate career goal to start a 3-0 run, getting the Wildcats to within 11-6 with 21:14 left. The Spartans answered with two goals of their own, but La'Dae Boykin responded with back-to-back goals and three of the next four overall for the Wildcats, bringing the Wildcats all the way back to within 13-10 with 15:15 to play.
Christina Ziegler won the ensuing draw control for the Wildcats, but the Wildcats were unable to capitalize on a pair of free position shots to draw any closer to the Spartans. In all, with the game at 13-10, the Wildcats missed four free position shots and had seven shots total before the Spartans scored again to steal the momentum away with 8:50 showing on the clock.
The Spartans scored three straight overall, regaining a 16-10 lead with 6:43 to play in the ball game. Mikailla Spencer snapped the Spartan run, but the Wildcats could only get one more goal from Sam Foster in the game as the comeback fell short, 16-12.
Boykin led the Wildcats with four goals and four assists for eight points on Tuesday, adding a team high seven draw controls. Lambeth and Foster scored two goals wach as Foster added three ground balls on the afternoon. Lashay Ross finished with six draw controls while Ziegler and Hannah Tornatore led the two with two caused turnovers each.
The Spartans' Caroline Finnen scored 10 goals on 15 shots, adding four ground balls for the home team.
Wilmington netminder Maddie Hurm made eight saves while Katherin Feigenbaum made 12 stops for the Spartans.
The Wildcats return to action on Thursday in search of their first win of 2018. They will host Bloomsburg in another nonconference contest at the WU Athletics Complex starting at 4:00 p.m.