Tied at the halftime break, the Wilmington University women's lacrosse team outscored Caldwell, 12-3, in the second half for the 18-9 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference victory on Tuesday afternoon at the Verona Community Center.
The win secures a CACC Tournament berth for the Wildcats (6-9, 5-2 CACC) with seeding yet to be determined with one game remaining in the regular season. Caldwell (3-9, 2-6 CACC) hung with the Wildcats and had the game tied 8-8 in the second half before the visitors scored three straight and 10 of the games' final 11 goals for the victory.
Sophomore Gabby Spalt scored her second goal of the day just 29 seconds into the second half before Katie Spence added her first of the game less than a minute later to give the Wildcats an 8-6 lead early in the second frame.
But the Cougars bounced back with back-to-back goals of their own, tying the game with two free position shots with 22:56 to play.
Wilmington netminder Corinne Dries came up with a save with the game tied 8-8 and the Wildcats took the ball the other way. Morgan Tildon had a shot saved before Maddie Hewitt fired a free position attempt high. The Wildcats retained possession however, and La'Dae Boykin found Hewitt for her 22nd goal of the season with 20:09 to spark a 3-0 run. The Wildcats wouldn't give up the lead again.
Dries again made a save leading by a goal and Spalt took advantage of a man-advantage situation at the other end, scoring quick back-to-back goals for the 11-8 lead.
Caldwell ended the run and closed the gap to 11-9 with 15:49 to play, but then it was all Wilmington from there on out, as the Wildcats finished the game on a 7-0 run for the win.
Sara LeBrun went on her own scoring streak, tallying three straight and four of the next five goals for the Wildcats to open a large 16-9 lead with 4:12 to play. Spence scored her second of the day to break up the LeBrun scoring fest before Hewitt and Rebekah McCurry capped the scoring at the end of the game.
The first half went back and forth as the Cougars jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Wildcats scored three straight. Caldwell came back to score three of the next four goals to take a 5-4 lead before Wilmington tallied two of the last three goals of the half to enter the break deadlocked at 6-6.
Caldwell outshot the Wildcats 17-12 in the first half, but Dries made eight saves in the opening 30 minutes to keep the Wildcats in the contest. The Wildcats would end up out shooting the Cougars, 31-28, for the game. The ground ball game was even at 15-15 but the Wildcats earned more draws, 18-10, to start off with possession.
LeBrun led the Wildcats with five goals and an assist while Spalt tallied a season high four goals and added two assists. Hewitt recorded a hat trick with three goals while Spence and Megan Keffer chipped in with two each. McCurry scored a goal and added a team high four assists while Boykin scored a goal and added three assists.
Dries finished the game with 14 saves while Cougar goalkeeper Melissa Garris made eight stops for the home team.
The Wildcats can earn a CACC Tournament First Round home game with a win in the regular season finale on Saturday. They host Georgian Court for a CACC contest starting at 1:00 p.m. on Senior Day.