BOONE, N.C. - - A second half comeback by the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team ran out of steam in the fourth quarter, falling to Lees-McCrae, 15-11, on Saturday afternoon at Watauga High School's field.
Trailing 12-5 in the third quarter, the Wildcats (1-1) rattled off the final six goals of the third quarter to get to within a goal, 12-11. But the offense stopped there as Lees-McCrae (2-2) controlled the clock and scored the only three goals of the quarter to round out the 15-11 win.
The game started well for the Wildcats, as Ralph Ruggiero and Dylan McCleaft gave the visitors a quick, 2-0, in the opening minute of play. But the Bobcats answered with the final five goals of the first quarter, and the first two of the second quarter to open up a 7-2 lead with 12:55 left before the half.
Chris Smith started his four-goal day with back-to-back marks in the second, but the Bobcats answered with three consecutive goals to widen the margin back out 10-4. TJ Maiura scored the final goal of the half, sending the Wildcats down, 10-5.
The Bobcats came out and scored the first two goals of the third quarter, the second coming with 8:58 left in the quarter. Chris Smith started the late quarter run with his third of the game before Ralph Ruggiero and Smith scored man-up goals to get within 12-8.
Sean Sheehan scored back-to-back goals, the second coming on the man advantage as well, before Ruggiero ended the quarter with 23 seconds left with a goal, bringing the Wildcats all the way back to within 12-11.
The Bobcats had the first four shots of the quarter, with the fourth beating Nick Race to deflate the Wildcats. WilmU won the ensuing faceoff and got two shots off, but neither found the back of the net. The Bobcats had the next six shots in the game, with the sixth beating Race with 10:13 left to go up, 14-11. They would add a goal with 3:40 left in the game to cap the scoring, 15-11.
Anton Mackey led the team with 10 ground balls, going 19-for-30 in the face-off circle. Kyle Leary led the team with four caused turnovers, adding four ground balls. Smith, Stephen Strosser, Jon Howell, and Dylan McCleaft also added four ground balls each.
The Wildcats return home for their 2019 season opener in their next contest, as they welcome the District of Columbia on Wednesday, February 27 at 2:00 p.m.