NEWARK, Del. – Felician University closed a 6-2 halftime deficit to two goals on four second-half occasions, but never drew closer in its 12-8 Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference men's lacrosse loss to host Wilmington (Del.) University on Saturday afternoon at the WU Athletics Complex.
Felician and Wilmington are both fielding a men's lacrosse team for the first time in 2018, allowing the CACC to sponsor its inaugural championship in the sport this season.
Wildcat junior midfielder Chris Smith (Manahawkin, N.J.) scored five goals, including three in the game's final three minutes, 10 seconds. Smith, who got off a game-high 15 shots, added two assists. Freshman Evan Turner (Rockaway, N.J.) paced the Golden Falcon offense with two goals and two assists.
Felician (0-10, 0-3 CACC) gained early momentum when freshman defender Cody Hildebrand (Bristol, Conn.) won the opening face-off and took the ball all the way to the zone and produced his first collegiate goal just seven seconds into play. The visitors did not score again in the first quarter, however, and by the closing buzzer, the Wildcats had opened up a 3-1 lead.
The second period followed a similar pattern. Turner tallied a man-up goal after 21 seconds had elapsed to cut the Golden Falcon deficit in half. Once again, Felician could not find the net for the rest of quarter, and once again, Wilmington netted three goals to enter intermission ahead by four.
Scoring was sparse in period three. Goals by Felician freshmen Mike Guaragno (Montgomery, N.Y.) at 11:49 and Daniel Wright (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) at 6:42 pulled the visitors with within 6-4. The teams alternated goals until Smith came through twice in a 42-second span late in the fourth for a 11-7 Wildcat edge.
Wilmington (3-7, 1-2) put 31 of its 41 shots on frame. Freshman goalkeeper Pat Hemmer (Staten Island, N.Y.) kept Felician in contention by making a season-high 19 saves. Wright (one assist) and Guaragno scored twice each, and Hildebrand had a season-best seven ground balls and was 5 for 10 on face-offs.
Junior Dylan McCleaft (Media, Pa.) totaled three goals, one assist and six ground balls for Wilmington. Wildcat face-off man Jake Gies (Wilmington, Del.) went 11 for 14 in the circle and had eight ground balls. Noah Given (Middletown, Del.) stopped eight shots in net.
Felician concludes its home schedule by taking on Post University on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Lyndhurst, N.J.