Set at a frenetic pace, the Wilmington University women's lacrosse team needed overtime but finally overcame Chestnut Hill, 22-20, in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference First Round on Tuesday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
With the win, the fourth seeded Wildcats (7-10) head to Georgian Court for the CACC Semifinal round where they match up against CACC Regular season and No. 1 seed Holy Family. The loss ends the fifth seeded Griffins' season with a 7-10 overall record.
The teams were all square through the first 30 minutes in the back and forth race as the game was tied 10-10, the shots were tied 17-17, and the draw controls were 11-10 in favor of the Wildcats. The second half got even crazier.
The Wildcats jumped out to leads of 14-10, 15-11, and its largest at 18-13 with 18:09 remaining before the Griffins mounted a comeback. The visitors scored six straight goals to take a 19-18 lead with 8:44 to play. Wilmington goalkeeper Corinne Dries made two saves, including one on a free position shot over the next five-minutes of game time to keep the Wildcats in the game.
Chestnut Hill netminder Katie Joe Lang made a stop on a Rebekah McCurry shot in 3:05 to play and the Griffins had possession trying to clear. Following a foul, the Griffins attempted to pass the ball back to the middle of the field and to their own 30-yard mark, but the pass was off line.
Junior Sara LeBrun scooped the ball up and had a rare break-a-way opportunity in on the keeper form 30-yards out. She scored, with a man-down, her single game program record ninth goal of the game for the single season program record 56th goal to knot the game at 19-19 with 2:27 to play.
McCurry controlled the ensuing draw but Ashley Kroll was later blocked on a free position attempt with 1:36 to play. Megan Keffer scooped up the ground ball to retain possession, but McCurry go-ahead attempt hit the post with 57 seconds left.
Dries came up huge at the end of regulation for the Wildcats, stopping a shot with 30 seconds left, and a free position shot with 14 seconds left. The Wildcats had one last shot as Dries quickly got the ball up the field and into the stick of Gabby Spalt. Spalt beat the clock but couldn't find the back of the net, as her shot with three seconds left rang off the crossbar and stayed out.
Chestnut Hill brought the pressure again in the overtime period, scoring first with 14 seconds left in the first three-minute session.
After the teams switched sides after the first 3:00 minute period, Morgan Tildon took it upon herself to tie the game. She scooped up the draw and eventually scored her lone goal of the game with 2:38 to play, tying the game 20-20.
Moments later, Ashley Kroll controlled the ensuring draw and 10 seconds later the Wildcats had the lead as Spalt scored with 2:20 to play. It would end up being the game-winner. Kroll came up with the biggest draw of the game with 2:29 left and the Wildcats did their best to play keep away from the Griffins in the offensive zone.
With the defense spread out, McCurry gave the Wildcats a two-goal cushion with 47 seconds left. Maddie Hewitt put the final touches on the win by grabbing the final draw control of the game.
LeBrun scored her nine goals on 11 shots while McCurry also set a single season record with her 39 assists. She dished out four helpers on Tuesday while also grabbing seven draws and forcing five turnovers. Keffer scored four goals and two assists off the bench while Hewitt added five goals. Kroll scored once and added an assist while also chipping in with six draws and three caused turnovers. Spalt finished with two goals and three assists.
The Griffins received six goals from Lea Sanders while Emorie Keimig and Jacklyn O'Leary added five goals each.
Dries made 11 stops for the Wildcats in the contest while Katie Joe Lang made 12 saves for the Griffins.
The CACC Semifinal contest hosted by Georgian Court in Lakewood, N.J., is set for a 12:00 p.m. opening draw.