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NEWARK, Del. - - Tied at six more than halfway through the fourth quarter, the Wilmington University men's lacrosse team scored the final three goals to squeeze by NCAA DIII opponent SUNY Polytechnic, 9-6, on Friday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
Head coach Christian Zwickert would have preferred a cleaner played game, but the Wildcats (5-1) pulled out the victory over the Wildcats (1-3) on Friday afternoon. Wilmington outshot SUNY Poly, 52-28, but only put 22 shots on frame in the contest. Wilmington also forced SUNY Poly into 29 turnovers, but also turned it over 20 times of their own.
SUNY Poly scored two of the first three goals, grabbing a 2-1 lead with 8:12 left in the first quarter. The Wildcats answered to take a lead for the rest of the first half. Sean Sheehan scored his second of the game to spark a 3-0 run, as Jake Walsh gave the Wildcats the lead, 3-2, with 4:20 left in the quarter. Chris Smith than capped the scoring in the first half with a goal with 3:21 left in the first quarter, giving the Wildcats a 4-2 lead heading into the second half.
SUNY Poly began to chip away at the deficit in the third quarter, tying the game at 4-4 before Dylan McCleaft scored a man-advantage goal with 2:24 left in the frame to give the Wildcats a 5-4 lead.
SUNY Poly again tied the game early in the fourth quarter before McCleaft again gave the Wildcats a 6-5 lead with 7:38 showing on the game clock. SUNY Poly knotted the game up once again with a wrap around goal with 5:45 left, but then the home team took over.
Chris Smith blasted a shot by SUNY Poly goalkeeper Samuel Rubin for the go-ahead goal with 4:31 left before McCleaft gave the Wildcats some breathing room with a goal with 2:50 left. Chris Smith then put the game on ice with a man-advantage goal with 2:19 to play, giving the Wildcats the win, 9-6.
Anton Mackey won 8-of-18 in the face-off circle, but went 5-for-7 in the fourth quarter when it mattered most.
Defensively, Jon Howell led the Wildcats with four caused turnovers while Kyle Leary had three. Jon Howell also led the team with five ground balls. Noah Given made 11 saves in goal for the Wildcats in the victory.
The Wildcats went 4-0 during their four-game homestand, and now will take to the road for four consecutive games. The road trip starts with a neutral site game against Barton next Tuesday, March 26, played at Norfolk Collegiate in Norfolk, Virginia.